Times when only women cared about their good looks and haircuts are long gone. Modern men with deep pockets have to spend their money somewhere after all, and a barber shop is one of their favorite choices. The demand for the services is growing, and so is the number of specialized barber shops, who need to hire new barbers to take care of their clientele.

High school diploma, and a certification from a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school, is everything you need to apply with one of these places. But they will ask you several questions in an interview. Questions about your motivation, experience, and particularly about your attitude to various situations that can happen with your clients–both pleasant and unpleasant scenarios. Let’s have a look at them right now.


Why do you want to work in this salon (barber shop)?

Do not say that you apply for a job because you completed your barber school. That would indicate a must-to-do thing (you’ve already invested time and money into your education, so now you have to pursue a career of a barber). You want to show a desire though, not that someone or something forces you to apply…

You can say that you enjoy doing what barbers do, see a bright future for the profession, and basically feel to have the right personality and skills for the position. Do not forget to talk with some enthusiasm. They should feel that you are happy to be interviewing in their place, and do not sit there just because you have to pay bills like everyone else, and need a job to be able to do that.

You should also address the second part of the question–why their salon or barber shop. This one is easier. Just praise them for something--reputation in local circles, modern equipment they have in place, perfect location, pricing policy you agree with, superb vibe of the place for male clientele, etc. As long as you show some positive associations with their place, they will be satisfied with your answer.


Do you have any previous experience, except of school?

Now this one is a bit tricky. If you have worked as a barber before, you should be ready to explain why you left your last job. But think about it carefully. If you said that you weren’t happy with the salary or the workload was too heavy, they can easily reject your application–because they intended to pay you exactly that much, and they expect you to work hard everywhere nowadays…

It’s much better saying that you didn’t get along well with the manager, or the place experienced financial problems and could not keep you onboard, or something of that sort.

On the other hand, previous experience is plus, so if you left your former employer on good terms, you should not conceal it. And if you lack previous experience, try to turn this disadvantage into an advantage. For example you can say that you aren’t used to certain working habits and hairstyles, and can do the things the way they prefer in their barber shop. They can shape you and train you, which is not always possible with experienced barbers.

You can also use it as another opportunity to praise their place. Excellent barbers work for them–everybody says so, and you can’t wait to learn from them in your new job…

A client comes in and says they do not know what hairstyle they want. They ask you to recommend them something. What will you do?

This is your opportunity to show your knowledge of latest trends in haircuts, and also your client-oriented attitude.

Say that you will always try to have one or two industry magazines on your desk. You may ask the client a few additional questions (such as if they prefer shorter or longer hair, if they want to keep/grow mustache, etc), and then, considering the quality and length of their hair, and their expectations, show them three to four haircuts from the magazine, letting them make the final choice.

You may offer additional comments, such as advantages and disadvantages of various haircuts, and basically walk them through the most fitting styles for their hair type, position, and their personality.


A client complains about the final result of their haircut. How will you react?

Try to avoid a simple answer here, such as that you will let them to go out without paying, or that you will apologize and that’s it. Neither the first nor the second is good for your employer, and you should adjust your action to the circumstances.

For example, what haircut they asked you for. If they asked for exactly what they got, there’s no reason to let them go without paying the bill. Of course, you do not want to end up with an unhappy client, who can spread a bad word about the barber shop in their circles. Hence you will always try to find out what exactly went wrong, and whether it was your mistake, or they just had unrealistic expectations, following some picture from a magazine, or a fantasy of their mistress…

You may apologize in both cases, and explain them your point of view. But whether you offer them a gift card for their next visit, or something similar, really depends on the the primary reason why they ended up unhappy…


Imagine that two clients arrive at the same time. You look into your calendar and realize that you made a mistake, and scheduled both of them for the same hour. What will you do?

You can start your answer by saying that it is unlikely to happen. Since you pay attention to details and try to stay neat and organized in your calendar, it’s very unlikely that you’d schedule two customers for the same hour.

If it happened, however (everyone can make a mistake), you will try to minimize the waiting time for the men, considering the circumstances in the salon.

You will admit making a mistake, and ask the one who arrived just a tad later whether they’d accept the nearest possible appointment. You can show your willingness to go above and beyond for the customer, saying that if your schedule was packed, you’d suggest an appointment after standard working hours, or early in the morning next day, before the regular opening time of the barber shop. You will try to find a time that fits the schedule of the client.

Show your interviewer that excellent customer service is pivotal for you, and you’ll try your best to maintain a great reputation of their place.


Imagine that a client wants a certain haircut but you are sure it would not suit him. What will you do in this situation?

Communication is an important part of the job. You should definitely say something, but it matters how you say it, how you explain your opinion–in a sensitive, courteous way. And you should offer them some alternatives. Perhaps you will show them a magazine and suggest two or three haircuts which, in your opinion, would suit them much better.

At the same time, however, you let them have the final word. If they insist on the haircut they initially chose, you will make it for them. You will try your best. If they end up unhappy about the final result, however, they cannot say that you didn’t warn them…


Other questions you may face in your barber job interview

  • What do you do to stay informed about the latest trends in hair styling and shaving?
  • What is your favorite brand of a shaving foam (or other cosmetics)?
  • Imagine that a client had an allergic reaction to the dye used on his hair. How would you react?
  • Do you think about opening your own barber shop or salon in the future?
  • What are your salary expectations?


Conclusion, next steps

Interview for a job of a Barber does not belong to difficult interviews. It is easy to foresee the questions they will ask you, and to prepare for them in advance, demonstrating right attitude to both your employer and the clients.

Try to learn something about the barber shop though. What their clients say about them online, what reputation they have, their opening hours, etc. It will help you with some interview answers, and also to make a good connection with your interviewers–which can be pivotal in many cases. I hope you will succeed and wish you good luck!


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Matthew Chulaw
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