Land Your Dream Job!

Aug 31 2016

One of the major benefits of attending an Aveda Institute is the huge amount of exposure to employers of choice. Aveda Institutes are prime hiring grounds for the country’s most elite salons and spas. That’s not just our opinion: each year, Salon Today Magazine names its “Top 200 Salons” in the U.S. Each year, more than half the companies on that list are affiliated with Aveda. And guess who they’re most likely to hire? Aveda Institute grads.

We spoke to the owners of some of the most desirable salons and spas in the country to find out what it takes to stand apart from the crowd, ace the interview, and land that fabulous job.

1. Appearance. Entering a fashion-forward workplace means your personal style has to be on point. That means looking polished and put-together with your hair, makeup and nails done. You’re also likely to be evaluated on whether you stay current in fashion and trends. “The interviewee should have put some thought and effort into their appearance. They should be dressed appropriately. Bonus points if they’re all in black!” said Derek Fatheree, owner of Pure Natur Salon. “Red flags are raised if they haven’t styled their hair, have chipped nails, or are dressed sloppily.”

As Brenda Brinkman, the owner of Collage Salon and Day Spa, puts it: “I check out their makeup and note how they groom themselves. I’m not looking for perfection, but I want it to be clear that they care about their appearance and have the desire to present themselves well.”

2. Interpersonal Skills. Being nervous is expected (and excusable) but being rude, stand-offish or lackluster is another. Eye contact, warmth, friendliness, a firm handshake and a smile — toward everyone you meet — are all critical in making a clutch first impression with salon owners. They are judging whether you are able to interact appropriately with their guests, and make them feel welcome and valued. “I can teach a person to do hair, but I can’t teach them customer service and interpersonal skills,” said Brenda, of Collage. “I like someone who is enthusiastic, warm, personable, and caring.” It should go without saying that NSFW language, off-color jokes, or being too informal with your interviewers equals an automatic rejection.

3. Professionalism. Besides looking polished and well-groomed, prepare yourself for face time with your potential bosses. Look up the salon’s website and/or Facebook page and get info on its products and services, team structure, and salon culture. Have a well-written resume that someone has proofread for errors. Know who will be interviewing you. And, remember the golden rule: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Talking badly about former bosses, instructors, or fellow students will get you tossed into the rejection pile. “Red flags are raised if they don’t use proper grammar when they speak, if they don’t have a professional resume, or if they speak negatively about past employers,” said Derek.

4. Desire For Continuing Education. The best salons have their own employee training programs and offer ongoing education to their team at all levels. This is a major benefit that allows stylists to continuously build their skills, offer more and better services to guests, attract elite clientele, increase their pay, and advance their careers. Any salon owner who offers these great opportunities wants to know that you understand and appreciate their value. “We pride ourselves in our training program,” said Sandy Gallardo, owner of Free Spirit Salon. “If a student is hungry for more education and experience, we’re going to be excited about them right off the bat.”

5. Eagerness About The Job. Salon owners are looking for team players who are ready to jump in with enthusiasm. They are NOT looking for people likely to complain about their work schedule or whine about certain aspects of the job. “If they’re telling us right off the bat when they will need time off, or what they will or won’t do,” said Derek, “they won’t make it past that first interview.”

Douglas J Aveda Professional Salons’ HR Coordinators, Jenny Perzanowski and Paige Emmons, said a successful candidate will demonstrate a keen interest in both the profession and the workplace. “We are looking for people that are passionate about the industry and enthusiastic about an opportunity to work at our company,” Jenny said.

Paige advised, “Take the time to do your research on the position and the company before your interview, and then come prepared with questions.”

The number one characteristic that salon owners look for in a new recruit is “a good fit with our salon culture” — though it’s the one characteristic that can’t be defined. But in general, the culture at upscale salons does NOT include complainers, slackers, divas, or Debbie Downers. It DOES include hard workers, people with a positive outlook, and those who want to grow, advance, and push themselves to succeed.

With training at an Aveda Institute, a cosmetology license, and adherence to these tips, you have all the potential in the world to land a job that will catapult you into a killer career. Knowing what high-end salon owners want is the key to turning “It’s nice to meet you” into “When can you start?”

All photos are the property of Douglas J.