“The care that you show in identifying a proper fit makes a HUGE statement about how you feel about your current team and your clients.”
Building a great team for your shop or salon is one of your most important roles as an owner/manager. The time, effort and energy needed to hire well is a far better investment than the time effort and energy you would otherwise spend fixing the results of bad hiring. Here are a few of my top tips for team building for haircutting.
- Hire slow and fire fast – Take your time to interview completely. Check references thoroughly. It is a HUGE compliment to your team that you do not take lightly the adding of a new member. The care that you show in identifying a proper fit makes a HUGE statement about how you feel about your current team and your clients. The instant you know that a team member needs to go is the moment you need to take action. Your firing needs to be as swift as your hiring is slow. Do not postpone the inevitable. If a team member needs to go next month, they should be let go this week. If they should not be here next week, then they should not be here tomorrow. It is better to turn away business than to deliver a service or an experience that falls short of the best you hope to be. Clients will love you for it in the long run.
- Hire for personality, train for skill – By the time a job candidate sits down with you for an interview they are at least eighteen years old. By the age of eighteen, if their parents did not get a few things right it is likely way too late for you to have a positive impact. If mom and dad did not teach them how to say please and thank you, what makes you think you will be able to have any luck? I can teach anyone to cut hair. I have done it. I cannot teach a young adult to behave respectfully without some foundation in place long before they wind up on my front stoop. All the hair skills in the world will not retain clients and build business without the people skills in place first. Bring me a hair hack with manners and the right social skills and I will build you a $100,000 haircutter.
- Hire the person not the clientele – The days of advertising for “haircutter with following” are long gone. That is simply just not acceptable any more. Clients are the property of no one. No guarantee exists that even a single client will follow a haircutter who makes a move. A hair pro who thinks that their greatest value lies in the list of names on their book is starting the employment conversation in a place you likely would never want to engage. A haircutter who discusses the size of the clientele that they hope to bring over from their current employer lacks the ability to see, understand and experience the business from the position of an owner who has worked hard to build a business. They have no respect for their current employer. What makes you think they will ever have any respect for you?
- Engage team members in the vetting process – Solicit input from your team in developing standards and criteria for prospective team members. Create a team interview as a step in the recruiting process. Make this vetting a hurdle that must be crossed before an employment offer is tendered. The team has to live in the trenches with this new member. Be sure the addition of this person does not upset the balance in the fish bowl. Encourage your current team to identify both where this candidate is a complementary fit for the group as well as what they bring to the mix that is new and needed. The goal is diversity with common goals and vision.
- Always be on the hunt – Recruiting is a 24/7/365 activity. You do not go looking for team members when you need team members. You are always looking for the next great addition to the team. You hope to build a file of individuals and prospects that will jump at the chance at a moment’s notice when you have a spot to fill. This waiting list is a huge asset and will be a source of great peace of mind. Pre-qualifying candidates on their way onto the wait list will also speed the hiring process when the need arises. Now you are updating their information and continuing an existing relationship. Everyone wants to be a member of a club that will not have them. Turning someone away the first time they ask is a great way to make them eager to ask again. Dealing with candidates honestly and transparently will help them continue on in their careers until the time when you are ready for them and they are an even better fit for you.
Good luck building your dream team.
I have a download document of great interview questions available to support your recruiting efforts. Visit ivanzoot.com for more information.