You may be feeling stress, anxiety, and pressure to get this job. Whether this is your first job out of school, your dream job, or your first job back after a break from the industry, taking the time to prepare for your salon interview will help decrease feelings of anxiety and boost your confidence during your interview.
Today, let’s run through some sample cosmetology interview questions, sample answers, and tips on what you should (or shouldn’t say).
Ready to get that job? Let’s go!
1. Review Common Salon Interview Questions
What are they going to ask me?
The fear of the unknown often causes anxiety. Most interviews will first look into your work ethic to better understand if you are a perfect match for their organization (spa, salon, or otherwise). They will also try to get a peek into your personality and if it fits into their company. Here are some of the common questions you can expect when having a spa or salon interview:
- Why are you in search of a job right now?
- My current job is not challenging me at the moment. I saw this position was open and felt like this would be a good change for me, professionally, to make right now.
- How many years have you worked as a cosmetologist, nail tech, or esthetician?
- I have been an esthetician for three years. In addition, I just finished a massage therapy training program last month and recieved that license in the mail last week.
- Why would you like to work with our organization?
- I had a classmate that has worked here for a couple years and really like the environment. She thought I would like it too. When this position became available, she let me know and I quickly applied.
- With your experience, how will you define your ideal workday?
- I try to be respectful of each client’s time. I get to work on time, and work very hard to stay on schedule throughout the day. This really makes it possible for me to leave the salon on time when it closes. I believe having good, consistent time boundaries is important for my clients and myself. This also allows me to give each client the time they deserve and keeps me from feeling rushed through a service. That is how I deliver my best professional results.
- How updated is your technique, and how do you ensure you are updated with the current cosmetology industry?
- Keeping up with continuing education is important to me. I recently took a course on eyebrow trends. I really enjoyed the course and learning a new skill to add to my toolbox.
- What challenges you the most in your line of work?
- Unpredictability. Sometimes a nail salon can go from no clients to eight in a short amount of time. Trying to manage the slow and busy times can be challenging. However, I have learned to manage my time in each of those scenarios. During down time, I work on marketing or my station. During busy times, I get to do what I was trained to do – doing nails that my clients love.
- What’s excites you the most as a cosmetologist?
- The abilty to be creative and help people feel good about their hair when they look in the mirror.
- Do you have available hours?
- I am available to work during the salon’s posted hours.
- What do you see yourself doing in five years?
- I see myself working here as a nail technician. I do have an interest in returning to my school for their evening esthetician program in the next year. This training would not interfere with the hours for this position. I would like to have the ability to offer additional salon services.
- How many work hours will you take on per week?
- I am able to work part-time as indicated in the job description.
- Why did you become a cosmetologist, nail tech, or esthetician?
- To help others feel and look their best. I love seeing mothers and daughters come in and get their nails done together. I know I am there to help them have a special experience together that they will remember for a very long time.
2. Prepare for Questions About Your Experience and Background
During your interview, the interviewer will probably ask you about your educational background and level of experience. Such questions will help them know whether you have the proper credentials and work experience to perform as a cosmetologist, nail tech, or esthetician. The following are some of the questions that might be asked concerning your background and experience:
- Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?
- I know there are a lot of excellent estheticians in this area. I have been to many of them over the years. However, I feel my experience, customer service skills, and additional training in permanent makeup me a more skilled and versatile candidate for this position. I really believe adding permanent makeup services to this salon would increase your clientele.
- Where were you trained as a cosmetologist?
- I completed a two year, or 2200-hour, program in 2015 at Cosmo Tech in Des Moines, Iowa. I passed the state board exam shortly after graduating.
- What is your most outstanding achievement as a cosmetologist?
- Since I just graduated, I do not have any specific achievements just yet. However, I just passed my cosmetology exam this month. I excelled in school in the student salon, but when it comes to exams, I sometimes struggle. So, passing this exam was a huge acomplishment for me.
- What’s your team working history?
- The salon environment attracted me to cosmetology. I never wanted to work alone. I feel that I thrive in an environment with others. I like helping people, whether that be clients or co-workers.
- What is your favorite trend in the profession right now?
- Cosmetology is an art and I love keeping up with trends. However, I do like to look at trends and put my own personal professional touch on them. I want to keep things current, but still be unique.
- Are you experienced in professional product sales?
- I know that the job description includes selling retail -https://behindthechair.com/articles/10-things-you-can-do-now-to-sell-more-retail/. I also understand that it’s in the clients’ best interest to buy the products we use on their hair to manage and recreate what we do in the salon. Instead of hard-selling the product, my approach will be natural and focus on educating the client on the importance of the product and why they will benefit from using it.
- From your resume, it looks like you were taking a break from the field. Do you think this will affect your abilities or skills?
- Yes, I took a break from the cosmetology field after I had my first child. I wanted to wait until they went back to school to return to work. They just started preschool and I am really excited to return to the field. I have kept up on my continuing education and license renewals. While I have not worked on the public during this time, I have kept up on current styles, trends, and techniques.
- If you are new: Why do you think we should choose you over someone that has more experience?
- I understand there are applicants with more experience than I have in the industry. However, I honestly feel like I have been trained in the most current trends and techniques others that have been in the field longer have not been trained in.
- What was the most challenging thing about hair, nail, or skincare training?
- Matching expectations. I love coloring. However, many people have unrealistic expecatoins on how long it takes to get to their desired color and the cost to make it happen. I have developed a checklist for clients to guide themj through the process so they have realistic expections on time and possible costs to get their desired look. It has really helped with this problem.
- What would your instructors say about you as a professional?
- I am an excellent independent worker. I do not need someone over me telling what to do or what to do next.
3. Review These Role-Specified Questions
Towards the end of your salon interview, the interviewer can start going in-depth into your role with the organization to understand further how you will react to a specific situation. These questions will also help them appreciate your expertise as a cosmetologist. The following are some examples of such questions:
- What are the questions you will ask to find the skin product that best suits a client?
- I always ask what the client would like to improve and recommend a product based on that request. Next, I ask if they have any allergies or sensativities to certain products. Finally, I explain which product I would choose and why. I always explain how to use the product and ask if they have any questions before they go.
- Have you ever gone above and beyond for a client? If yes, please provide me with information on the situation.
- I had one client call during their cancer treatment and wanted to know if they could come in for a pedicure. I scheduled them after the salon closed so that they would not be exposed to any common illnesses. She was incredibly appreciative and I really enjoyed helping her relax during such a stressful time in her life.
- What will be your reaction if a client is not happy with your service?
- I really try to learn from all feedback, positive or negative. I have learned to listen first to the client’s complaint without getting angry or upset. Often it is something fixable. If it is not something I can fix, I apologize and ask how we can make things right.
- What approach do you take to clean up your workplace?
- A salon should be a clean and safe environment. I take this behind the scenes part of my job seriously. Not only does an untidy workspace look unprofessional, it can be a place that spreads pathogens to other clients.
- How do you handle a situation where the client doesn’t know what they want for a hairstyle?
- My job as a cosmetologist is to help make recommendations when needed. Asking the client what they would like to see, how much effort they want to put into styling their hair each morning, and what styles they like on others is a good place to start when a client is having this problem, but still desires a change.
4. Remember Professionals Act Professional
Before we go, let’s review a few more basics.
If you are nervous…
It is okay to be nervous. If you feel nervous, just let your passion and love for the cosmetology field shine through. Talk about how much you look forward to helping others feel better, look better, and take a moment for their own self-care. This goes a long way during an interview.
What questions should I ask?
Ask any questions about salary, benefits, time off, duties, or schedule. Do not be afraid to ask if certain items are negotiable.
Is this an employee or independent contractor position? Make sure that you are not misclassified. Employers have more control over workers, but also need to provide more benefits. Independent contractors have more freedom, but fewer benefits. Learn about the differences here: Independent Contractor or Employee.
Dress and Play the Part
Pay special attention to how you dress, introduce yourself, and your social media profile (Yes, they look at that).
Put away your phone, and make sure it is on silent.
Review your body posture. This video on body language and posture changed my life.
Have your license number, a copy of your license, and a copy of your resume.
Do Not Be Afraid To Show Off Your Skills
Yes, some jobs will require you to demonstrate your nail, facial, or hair skills. If you are nervous about demonstrating your skills, look into Imposter syndrome. I had this when I started the field. Over the years, I have learned many others have the same problem I did. Most just do not know there is a name for it. If you have trouble thinking you are qualified, or good enough for a position, please look into imposter syndrome. Spoiler alert: You are probably over-qualified.
Know That You Are A Valuable Professional
Remember, it is harder than ever to find skilled, talented workers with good work ethics. Companies need good workers to thrive. Your skill is valuable and needed. Not everyone went to cosmetology school, passed their state license exam, and has a license in your state to legally provide a hair, nail, or skincare service! But you do!
Let Them Know If This Is Not A Good Fit
If this job is not for you, do not feel bad about letting them know this is not the position for you.
After learning more about this position, I do not feel it is a good fit for me. I wish you the best in your search.
I am not interested in working at a place that does not treat or pay its employees well. I know there is a trend that salons will just hire someone new if another person leaves. If the position does not pay a decent salary, provide proper breaks, or seems to overwork their employees – I am not afraid to voice my concern.
If You Want This Job, Tell Them!
If this is the job you want, do not be afraid to mention that you feel this position is a great fit for you and you are very interested in the position. It does not hurt to show some enthusiasm to work.