Hiring Great Salon Staff: Why You Shouldn’t Call A Reference

great salon staff

Standard practice in reference checking usually looks something like this: you’ve interviewed the candidate a couple of times, and they’ve made it to the reference-checking stage. They have provided you with 2 references and you cold call these references. Half the time, it may feel like you are an inconvenience to these references, but some boxes are ticked and that’s the end of the reference checking. But in our experience, to hire great salon staff and even employees in general, to be really effective in reference checking, the candidate must get their references to ring you.

great salon staff

You want to ensure you find out what the candidate is really like. But how do you know whether you are being fooled during the application process? Some people are very charming and convincing, and it is hard not to like them. In our experience hiring hundreds of people, a vital step in your decision making should be verifying your candidate’s answers and stated experience, and also finding out what their former bosses really think of them, beyond the nice personality.

The cost of getting a hire wrong can be 10X the cost of their salary. You have to pay them that salary, but if they underperform and don’t meet their targets, they leave you further away from your company goals. You then have to let them go – and all the mental anguish that goes along with it – and then start the process all over again. On top of this, hiring an ineffective person who doesn’t fit your culture will have a negative impact on the rest of your team. Plus you probably spend more time focusing on them rather than on your already employed great salon staff and the stuff that truly gets you out of bed in the morning.

Related | 7 Concrete Salon Interview Techniques To Ensure You Hire The Best-Of-The-Best

How To Nail The Reference Check

The candidate must get their references to ring you. By asking the candidate to get their references to ring you, generally speaking, people will only make the call if they think highly enough of the individual from the time they worked together. That is the crucial filter for you the person making the hire.

The majority of people who do think highly of the candidate will make the call. They know that if they don’t, it will probably cost the person the job. If the candidate struggles to get people to call you — alarm bells should be ringing.

Now it is time to really hear how their previous boss rated them. You obviously need to clear the basics, dates and years, etc. However, the key is getting the reference to verify everything that was stated in the interview process. You will be surprised how many times a 10-month stint in a company gets extended to 18 months in a job interview.

great salon staff

Questions To Ask To Hire Great Salon Staff

  • What exactly was Sarah hired to do? Would you say she delivered on this?
  • Sarah said she was the top performing sales performer in your team — is that correct?
  • How did Sarah perform in comparison to other people in your team performing the same role?
  • Sarah said she really loves helping people and cares deeply about clients — would you say that this is true? Can you give some examples of how she demonstrated this?
  • None of us are perfect — how would you rate Sarah’s overall performance with you out of 10? (Important — if it’s 7/8/9 press for what flaws have been missed)

If you are satisfied with the feedback, you can be much more confident that you are making the right hire. But it also works for candidates that may not have been blowing you away. For example, I have had fairly decent candidates that didn’t seem to be A-players. But they got amazing references and guess what — they are still here and they are certainly A players. But I would have missed them without those quality reference checks.

Hire slowly, fire quickly. To give your business the best chance of hiring great salon staff, be rigorous in your reference checking.

Related | Looking for team meeting/building ideas? Get inspired with this one-pager full of suggestions (click here to download).


This article was originally published on Nothing Ventured under the title “Why You Should Never Call A Reference“. The text has been lightened for its publication on The Phorest Blog.