One of the biggest fallacies of the industry is the belief that those salons with schools attached will be awash with genius, newly licensed cosmetologists. But it simply isn’t true. We run two schools yet our intake from our own schools is less than 10 per cent. We give people the best training they could get in Wisconsin, but you need real talent, not just excellent education to cut it in at the top of this profession. And we need the best in our company.
Neroli Salons and Spas is the biggest salon chain in the state; with seven salons and two schools we employ around 300 people. We are also in growth, which means, added to natural turnover, each year we look to recruit around 60 new staff. To do that we’ve had to get creative with our recruitment strategies.
- We found reaching out geographically to potential new recruits has benefits, but you can’t expect people to travel hundreds of miles to check out a salon they’ve barely heard of, so we have introduced a program of online interviews for that first round. It’s pretty much what the big tech companies and corporations do. We Facetime candidates, introducing them to the key people they might end up working alongside and the salon space where they may work. It gives both sides an insight into each other’s strengths and helps them make that decision to go on to the next step.
- Four times a year we hold in-salon socials for potential new recruits, where they can come along and see the salons in action and sample for themselves some of the elements that make Neroli so special. We promote these by sending flyers to the schools and through clever hashtagging on social media.
- We have built close relationships with all the beauty schools. To give them added value we give classes: creative for the students, technical for the trainers and business for the leaders. Bringing the real salon world into the schools is hugely beneficial for the student experience and it promotes our brand as the ultimate place to work.
- Further involvement with the schools includes mentoring students for big events such as fashion shows. This not only allows the students to see excellent and experienced stylists and make-up artists in action up close, which is a great learning opportunity, but it also gives us the chance to single out the best as potential recruits.
- We give the school educators gift cards, which they can use as rewards for the best students – another avenue to introduce the most talented to our brand.
- We also run a student competition to win a full training day at Neroli, always a hugely successful event. We ask students to Instagram their best work with our hashtag so we can see what they are doing. The best win a day’s training where we can access their potential and, if we like them, try to tempt them on to our team.
- Finally, and probably most important, we have got inventive online. Our art team actively follows all the Instagram accounts that hashtag the local schools, liking and commenting on the best so that we are building a connection throughout their education that we hope will blossom once they qualify.
What can you add to this list that you do at your salon or spa group?