Making Your First Hire

Suggest to any solo practicing esthetician that she should hire someone to help her, and she will answer: “Nobody will do it like me.” Those six words are the biggest single roadblock for small-business owners who are looking to expand their businesses. Those six words are also the truth. Embracing the facts that everyone is different, and new hires will add diversity to your business while increasing profits, is the key to moving forward with this important step.

Determine your needs. In what area of your business do you need the most help? Perhaps you need a part-time receptionist to answer phones, schedule appointments and greet clients on your busy days. Do you need another esthetician, possibly someone to focus on facials, so you can focus on waxing?

Make a list. Outline both the job and your dream employee. Be specific in determining this person’s responsibilities, as well as what characteristics, experience and education that you desire for the person in the position. Do you want someone seasoned with an existing clientele, or someone you can train to take over some clients?

Write out policies. You have it in your head, you know what is acceptable for your business, but new hires won’t unless you write it down. Do you need a dress code or uniform guide? Breaks? Sick policy? Social media policy? Making your employee handbook will give you backup and confidence when things go awry, and also provide your employee a basic understanding of what they can expect from working for your business.

Prepare. Take a class, consult hiring guides, read some books. Prepare yourself not only for the hiring process, but also for being a boss. There are many great daily blogs and e-newsletters by human resources professionals that are both inspiring and filled with information.

Advertise the opening. Advertise not only online, but also at local esthetics schools. Set an application deadline and stick to it. Ask for a cover letter to be submitted with a résumé and, if the position is for a receptionist, ask for the cover letter to be handwritten.

Review résumés.Take the time to review applications and résumés before selecting the candidates you will interview. Some important things to look at include length of job history for clues about the candidates commitment; misspelled words, if you are seeing someone who needs to pay attention to detail; and social media/online presence ... if social media accounts are public, they can be viewed by your clients. Would that cause a problem?

Interview. Now that your list of applicants has been culled, it’s time to interview. Make a list of basic questions that you will want to ask everyone, and then review each résumé to identify questions about the individual. Everyone hates the generic, “What is your worst trait?” question, so be creative and create questions that will invoke conversation. Make sure that your questions are legal; consult your local state employment office for more information about what you should and shouldn’t ask.

Interview again. After you have interviewed the candidates, invite your top three choices to come in again for a practical interview. Have them perform the duties that you would normally assign to them to gain some great insight into how much training they would need in the position. It will also give them a chance to get to know you and decide if they want to work with you.

The decision to hire employees and expand your business is largely tied to financial goals, but it can also give you freedom and flexibility and, ultimately, put you in the position to run your business ... and not work in it.

Kelly Richardson is the owner of Sonoma Tanning, and is the designer of professional spa sunless tanning equipment and solutions called B.Bronz, which was recently featured in Bloomberg Businessweek. She can be reached at 707-546-6240 or at [email protected].

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