Every person wants to look good. We are willing to pay a small fortune for a good haircut, colorful nails, or for a makeup that will make us a bit younger, if only for one date, or endless night. Salons are here to stay, and their popularity will only grow over time.

Interview for a job of a salon stylist belongs to easier job interviews. Salon managers or owners will inquire about your certificates and experience, motivation, goals, different techniques and services you can provide to their clients. They may also ask you a few situational questions, trying to understand how you’d react in some tricky situations that may happen in every salon. Let’s have a look at the questions, one by one.


Why did you decide to apply for a job with our salon?

Employee turnover is quite high in this field. Inquiring about your motives, they try to find something substantial in your answer. They want to hear about something that will motivate you to stay with their place, for more than a few months.

If you apply for a job in a prestigious salon or a well-known chain of beauty salons, you can refer to their excellent reputation, steady flow of customers, strong brand, and job security such a placement offers. They are the best and you want to work for the best.

Applying in a smaller place, you have to refer to other things though. Perhaps such a placement offers more room for creativeness, and you will also learn more working for them, since you may participate on running the salon, perhaps helping with marketing, brand building, other stuff.

You can also always refer to the favorable location of their salon (beauty parlor, barber shop), or some other characteristic that makes it convenient for you to work for them, instead of for someone else.


Do you have a degree? Any certificates of achievement?

In most countries of the world, and most states in the US, you need a license to work in a salon. Associate degree or a cosmetology certificate will suffice almost everywhere. At this point, the most important thing is to show them that you try to continuously improve on your skills.

Maybe you got some specialty achievement certificate–for makeup artistry for example. And if you did not get it yet, tell them that you plan to do so in the future. Because you want to stay at the top of your craft, and will continue learning new things in order to provide the best possible services to your customers.


Can you tell us more about your experience?

When narrating your experience, and this can be only the experience you gained while studying on cosmetology school, try to refer to a variety of beauty services. Name different haircuts and hairstyles, talk about hair coloring, manicure, about other things.

You can also mention your work outside of school, perhaps just doing haircuts for your relatives and friends, for an important event or for a wedding day. If you can, make a simple portfolio of your best works. That means pictures of the hairstyles you made, including before and after pictures. We are visual beings, and to see your works once is better than to hear about them a hundred times.

Prepare a simple portfolio, and showcase your skills in a salon interview. This is the easiest way to demonstrate your skills and convince them to hire you.

How do you imagine a typical day in this beauty salon (barber shop, other setting)?

The key is to show realistic expectations. Instead of talking only about hair styling and makeup, try to mention also things such as sweeping the floor, cleaning the equipment, perhaps even ordering some supplies, answering phone calls, taking appointments, etc.

In an ideal case they should get an impression that it will be possible to leave you alone in their salon, let’s say for a day, and you will handle the daily operations of the place. You won’t ruin their business :). Of course in bigger salon most of these services are outsourced, or a manager responds for them, but in smaller places you may respond for everything.

You should also check the business hours of their place. When describing your idea of a typical day in the salon, mention arriving 30 minutes before the opening time, and leaving 30 minutes after the end of the business hours.


How would you define an excellent customer service?

Regardless of your definition, you should ensure them that you understand the competitiveness of this business, and will try your best to provide an outstanding service to each customer. Beauty salons rely on returning customers, and you will make their customers want to come back.

Now, an excellent service isn’t only about an excellent hair cut. It’s much more than that. Communication is the keyword in this case. You can define the excellent service in the following way:

A customer should feel heard out and respected from the moment of making their appointment, until the moment they leave the salon. While waiting, they should have some magazines to read, and even a cup of coffee to drink. We should communicate with them, inquiring about their expectations, offering suggestions, presenting different solutions. What’s more, we should chitchat with them during the procedures, they should enjoy the time in our place. And of course the final result of our work should exceed their expectations. That’s my idea of an excellent customer service in a salon, and I will try to deliver such to each client.

Special Tip: Download all interview questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

salon stylist interview questions, PDF

What would you do if a customer complained about your work?

Ensure them that you won’t start any arguments with the customers. You will patiently heard them our, because you can make a mistake, just like everyone else. You will apologize, even when there’s nothing to apologize for–because customer is always right, even when they are wrong.

You will try to remedy your mistake, following the procedures they follow in their salon. Perhaps the client may get a free voucher for another procedure, or you will remake things straight away, or they do not have to pay. This really depends on the policy of an individual salon, the way they deal with customers’ complaints.

In any case, ensure the interviewers that you plan to take feedback of your customers seriously. You want to deliver the best possible service, and continue improving as a stylist.


Do you plan to open your own salon in the future?

Be honest. Almost all stylists dream of opening their own place, changing employment for entrepreneurship, doing things their way, earning more money. There’s nothing wrong about having such aspirations.

On the other hand, you should talk about your plans five years down the road or longer. Nobody wants to hire a stylist who will learn how to run the business and leave in six months time to open their own place, and create another competition for the beauty salon.

Tell them that you are still young and inexperienced, and need at least three or four years of experience, working in a place with great reputation–such as their salon. Just then, and only maybe, you will consider opening your own place. But you do not dwell on your dream, and do not think about it at the moment. Life offers many twist and turns. Who knows what we will do in five years from now?


Other questions you may face in your salon stylist job interview

  • What is your experience with this or that procedure, haircut, etc? Have you even done it before?
  • Who is your favorite local and international stylist? What do you like about their work?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • In your opinion, what are the current trends in hair styling?
  • What do you consider your biggest weakness as a stylist at the moment? What do you do to improve on this weakness?
  • What would you do if a customer refused to pay for your service?
  • Tell us about the worst haircut you even made.
  • Do you want to add something, or do you have any questions?


Conclusion, next steps

Job interviews in beauty salons and barber shops belong to easier interviews. You typically won’t face any particularly difficult questions, and two things are usually decisive for your success:

  • Whether you can convince them about your skills–portfolio of your best works will help you a lot in this case, as well as good answers to their questions.
  • Whether you manage to build a good connection with your interviewer. Two two of you may spend entire days together in the salon. Can they imagine sharing the workplace with you? Going for a lunch with you? Talking about all kinds of stuff together?

Keep eye contact with your interviewer, do not interrupt them, try to talk to the point, and first and foremost, be a good listener. Because that’s an important quality for every stylist, and also a way of winning the favor of your future employer…

May also help you succeed in your salon stylist job interview:

Matthew Chulaw
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