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  • Writer's pictureLindsey Nelson

Nailing Your Salon Interview

Congratulations! You passed your State Boards, and you're now a licensed Cosmetologist!

It's time to start scooping out salons.

It's time to start the interviewing process with salon owners.

Interviews may sound intimidating, but after reading the information in the post, you should feel more prepared and even excited to start the process!

Are you struggling to gain new clients?

Are you spinning your wheels with ideas or dated tactics to get more butts in your chair?

I want to share with you my list of the top 5 ways that I have gained new clients in the modern age that we live in today.

Grab this FREE guide to getting new clients & start gaining confidence & new business!

Type of Salon

One of the first decisions you must make is what type of salon you want to work in.

This decision comes down to what type of services you dream of offering and what type of client you want to serve.

Familiarize yourself with the salon's values to ensure it will be a good fit.

Researching social media will give you some insight into how the public views the business.

Your target market or dream client should come into play because if you desire to offer extensions, selecting a salon that provides this service is where you need to be interviewing.

It's pretty simple: if you want to provide a specific service, choose a salon with a reputation for doing that service well.

You can learn more about discovering your target market in this post.

Now that you have your dream salon and services, let's prepare for your interview.

Resume and Portfolio

A resume will set you apart from the other applicants.

You can find free resume templates online, and you can even create one on

The salon you are interviewing with knows you just graduated, so there will be little experience on the resume.

However, you can add the areas you excel in, your goals as a Cosmetologist, and any awards or extra certifications you earned while in school.

The interview is a chance for the owner to get to know you, so adding a section in the resume where you talk about your hobbies, interests, and specific topics that explain who you are is a great idea!

Include your social media handles in your

resume so the salon owner can check out your work.

This is why documenting your work all through school is essential.

Dress for Success

Your appearance is your first impression when walking into an interview.

You should dress professionally while still showing off your unique style.

When I say professionally, I mean to be mindful of revealing too much skin.

Our industry doesn't have a dress code but try to save the cute crop tops for a later date.

You should also consider the vibe of the salon as well.

Make sure your hair, makeup, and overall appearance show that you are stylish, trendy, and put together.

If you have to go shopping, do it! You need to look your best!

Impressive Introductions

Nothing is more impressive than someone who smiles confidently and knows who they are.

The interview allows you and the salon owner to meet, get to know one another and share desires and goals.

They may ask you questions about the areas you excel in or struggle in.

The thing is, you are not supposed to know it all right out of school.

No one is the GOAT, having graduated from Cosmetology school. Listen, be yourself.

Look the owner in the eye when talking to them.

If you have questions, ask them. If you have concerns, share them.

When they ask you questions, don't worry if your answer is correct; just be honest.

They may even try to find some common ground with you so you relax.

Trust me, it will be fine!

Communicate with Confidence

Communication is a vital skill in our industry.

Use the interview experience to ask questions, listen intently, and get a good feel for the communication style of the salon owner.

This would be a great time to ask about salon policies, vacations, sick leave, or continuing education classes.

A salon owner knows the qualities they want in an employee, but you should know what you want in an employer.

Knowing what you want in a salon shows confidence and maturity. You can respectfully state what you do and do not want.

What to Expect

Some salon owners may ask you to bring a model for a haircut or highlight.

I was asked to do both when I was interviewing at salons.

Make sure you know what materials are provided for you and what materials you need to bring.

The salon owner may ask for references from former employers or past instructors.

This is 100% normal!

I speak from experience when I say don't try any new techniques when doing your model; stick to what you know.

Red Flags

Chances are, you might run into some salons that don't have it all together. Here are some red flags to look out for. 

  1. They're not active on social media. You want to pick a salon with an active social media presence so they can always attract new clients.

  2. The pay structure is confusing and doesn't make sense. If you are confused about the commission split or feel like something's off, it probably is! Ask for clarity on the topic before you move forward.

  3. Non-Compete Contract. Don't sign it! Check your state's laws on non-compete contracts. If a salon has to make their employees sign a non-compete, then their marketing game isn't on point. 

  4. You get a bad vibe. If some shady business happens at the salon, you will probably get that feeling in your gut. We all know what that feels like, right? You're probably right if you get that vibe that something is off.

  5. Bad reputation. Do your due diligence in searching for a great salon home. Don't settle and work for a salon that has a less-than-stellar reputation. Keep your standards high.

Closing and Follow-up

When the interview ends, be sure to ask when you will hear back from the salon owner.

Because I am from the South, I suggest you thank the owner for their time and politely say goodbye to everyone you have met there. But you do whatever you feel comfortable with! Wink!

Don't be afraid to follow up if you don't hear back from the salon within the expected timeframe.

This shows the owner that you're eager to work there!

Send a polite email or make a brief phone call to inquire about the status of your application.

Remember, if the door shuts, then it wasn't your door.

Sometimes, we get a no and are heartbroken, but in the end, it was the best thing for us at the time.

If the answer is a no, try not to take this as rejection but accept it as redirection.

Remember that each interview is a valuable opportunity to learn and grow, whether you land the position or not.

Cosmetologist reading emails on laptop and cell phone

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