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High-stakes Hiring

By: Victoria L. Rayner
Posted: June 24, 2008, from the February 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Avoid being mystified. Take care not to fall into the trap set by charismatic job seekers. It’s easy to establish a rapport with a pleasant and friendly candidate who is interesting and conversationally stimulating. However, a pleasing personality may not get the job done. An interviewer easily can be swayed by an applicant and neglect to take into account how well suited the person really is for the position. It also is easy to favor an individual who appears to like and admire us. Most poor hiring choices can be avoided if recruiters understand some of the complexities involved in the hiring process, including the most common problems: poor planning, inadequate hiring criteria and hastiness to fill job openings with likable candidates. Always look beyond your initial contact with a candidate, and be aware that first impressions can be misleading and even may mask possible professional shortcomings.

Test a candidate’s skills. Utilize the working interview strategy to evaluate an applicant’s knowledge instead of conducting the traditional in-office interview. Give the person a tour of the facility to get an idea of how the skin care operation runs. Then wander into a treatment room and ask the job candidate to demonstrate some aspect of the service or to operate a certain piece of equipment that would be utilized on the job. Other candidates interviewing for positions in management or in retail should be asked to engage in a role-playing exercise to give the interviewer a sense of how they close a sale or display merchandise. Arrange a variety of mock activities in order to truly assess talent and skill. Make certain that the actions requested of the applicant represent functions that, if hired, actually would be performed on the job.

Identify superstar talent. When looking for new team members, be on the lookout for applicants with remarkable potential. These professionals often are more self-assured, learn quickly, possess good listening skills and are stimulated by new challenges. They also are suited to jobs that extend their learning curve and increase their earning potential, and they are famous for working long hours and seeking commission in lieu of conventional salaries. Don’t discount these candidates out of fear that they may be recruited by the competition. To determine if a candidate is a high performer, use appraisal methods to assess the person’s full potential with questions that elicit responses that reveal behaviors, attitudes and tendencies toward collaboration and policy compliance. For a less-skilled candidate who is highly motivated, you may choose to overlook inexperience in favor of an ambitious nature and an overall prospect of becoming highly successful. Additional attention and mentoring can encourage performance development. Just be certain to protect your facility by implementing a probationary period, should you choose to hire such a person.

Plan compensation carefully. Before beginning the hiring process, it is important to design a compensation package that works for all parties. If the job is based on commission, balance the expected income with the base salary. Add a percentage for the first three months to make your offer financially feasible. For example, an additional 20% of the earned commissions can be included for the first month, followed by 15% the second month and 10% the third month to financially assist the new employee. Once the person is working full time, the employer no longer needs to contribute.

Establish contractual agreements. It is important to create a contract for any new team member in order to protect the spa against the possibility of the person leaving to work for your competitor. Investing in the training and advancement of any new hired professional is always somewhat of a gamble. A contract provides all parties with a legal record of the employment details discussed, in addition to what was agreed upon verbally. You also may want to include a noncompete and/or confidentiality clause for certain job positions that are privy to confidential information, such as management team members. If applicable, the contract should stipulate the terms of the candidate’s probationary period and any other relevant employment factors.