Top Hair Stylist Interview Questions & Tips for Owners and Stylists [Free Download]

Top Hair Stylist Interview Questions & Tips for Owners and Stylists [Free Download]

Interviews can be nerve wracking for both owners and hair stylists. In this blog post, we will provide both hair stylist interview questions to ask owners AND questions for owners to ask salon applicants.

Hi there, my name is Susan Wos and I help hair stylists find salons hiring across the US and Canada. When I’m not helping hairstylists find salon jobs, I sell salon businesses.

I am also a 28 year veteran cosmetologist and former owner. It’s safe to say I know what works in salons and what doesn’t!

I promise not to bore you with typical interview questions. Our questions & tips lead to real answers.

They also uncover what you need to know before saying yes to a new salon job, booth rental opportunity or salon applicant.

Download the full list for free with the form below if you need ALL of the best salon interview questions & tips. Now let’s dig in!

Free Download For Owners- Interview Questions


Free Download for Pros & Students- Interview Questions


Table of Contents

Sample Salon Interview Questions & Answers to look for Owners

Start the interview off with a few ice breaker questions. First, warmly greeting your new salon applicants and giving them a short tour.

Ice Breaker Questions

  1. If you could take a vacation anywhere, where would you go and why? Answers will tell you what they think is fun. You will learn if culture, relaxing, adventure, partying or if athletics drive their interests.

  2. If you could wrote a book about your career what would it be called? Hopefully you get an answer that is funny or witty! Look for insights as to how the applicant views their career choice.

  3. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why? Answers will tell you if they want to be stronger, want to be in the know or seek freedom.

Insightful Hair Stylist Interview Questions

  1. What would you tell a friend about why you are applying to work here? Consider what they say to be their preconceived idea about your business and how accurate they are.

  2. What is your favorite service to do and why? Hone in on the WHY! Is it sustainable or is it a new fad.

  3. What kind of learner are you? Visual, auditory, hands on or reading & writing? This answer dictates how they need to be taught in your business. Bear this in mind as they progress through their careers and become mentors and leaders.

Questions for Newer Hair Stylists

  1. Where do you feel you need the most education and training? Applicants will outline their weaker skills here. Listen and be ready to provide a plan of action for the growing stylist.

  2. Did you work while you were in school? This can indicate good work ethic if they say yes. They likely had to support themselves, a family, or pay for school on their own.

  3. Tell me about your experience in school. Look for positivity and self awareness. Not all schools are great, how do they translate this to you? Do they need to learn more? Was school a grind or did they make the most out of the time spent in school?

Hiring? List your salon, spa or barbershop on our salon recruitment page.

Sample Hair Stylist Interview Questions to Ask Salon Owners

Do your research before interviewing in a salon, spa or barbershop. Think of your questions as if you are addressing the wants, needs, and preferences for your career.  Needs should be your #1 priority.

It’s easy to get enticed by an owner’s cool Instagram account or a friend who works there. But what lies under the hood of the opportunity at hand? Hair styling skills and client building aside, how does this opportunity make you feel?

cosmetology interview ideas

Addressing Hair Stylists Needs in Salons

  1. Does the salon provide marketing or are you expected to take all of this on yourself? This is super important as some of us are not good at or interested in self-promotion. This means social media posting, attending events where you can gain clients, or building your own customers. Ask the owner what type of advertising they do, how often they do it, and what they need in participation from you.

  1. What are your specific need or expectations of a schedule? Lining out exactly what is expected or allowed of you is important to avoid conflict and miscommunication.

  2. Do they want you to lead or become a leader someday? Get CLEAR on what type of leadership the opportunity at hand provides and what it doesn’t.

Hair Stylist Career Wants- Get What You Want from A Salon Job Interview

  1. Does the owner need you to have a certain amount of clients when applying to work with them? Owners can send mixed messages, but yours can be clear. How many clients do you have and how many do they want you to have to qualify to work there?

    This ties in directly to their ability and willingness to help build your client base. Whether it is a commission position or a booth rental opportunity the client base you have can be a deal-breaker for both you and the owner.

    Ask the owner what they expect from you and find out you can expect from them.

  2. What is the work space like and does this work well with the type of salon you are looking for?

    Analyze the types of workspaces that are available to you in each opportunity you consider. Think about what type of workspace is most appealing to you and WHY it appeals to you before you say yes to the salon.

  3. What stylist product lines do you love? Products and tools add up over time and should be a consideration in choosing where to work.

    Get clear on what you will need to provide and what is provided for you. Consult the owner on their willingness to take on new product lines you love or allow you to use products outside of what they offer.

how to interview a hair stylist

Best Interview Tips for Salon Owners– How to Interview a Hair Stylist

Respond to applicants within 24 hours of receiving interest. Don’t dominate the interview, make it about them!

Ask open ended questions and smile! Gauge interpersonal skills by introducing the applicant to staff- don’t hold interviews when no one is in the salon.

A talented stylist can come as a diamond in the rough. If you have a good candidate, and motivated applicants who are willing to work, consider those who will accept criticism and invest in your brand.

Identify the needs of your new hire before offering money or sign on bonuses. A strong work ethic outlasts knowledge and skills. Hire for personality and motivation, not those who know all the hair trends.

Best Interview Tips for Hair Stylists & Students

Identify your wants and needs before you interview. This helps to you to better understand which job interviews to take and which to leave behind.

Really think about how you get new clients. Some owners provide ready made clientele and some don’t. Hone your interpersonal skills, customer service skills and be ready to have a personal relationship with clients so they send in referrals if the salon doesn’t help you build.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses. If a luxury customer experience is not for you, ask general questions about the type of people that get their hair done in the salon on your next interview.

Busy times are great but what are the expectations of what you will be doing in down time? If you don’t want to sell products or can’t handle pressure of selling make sure to describe this in your interview questions.

Finding a good fit is the key to long term happiness as a hair stylist.

How do I prepare for a salon interview?

To prepare for a salon interview, first do your research. Check out the salon’s website, and social accounts, if possible talk with people you know who work in the salon to get a good idea of what they are looking for in a new stylist.

Most owners want to know you have applied because you are interested in their brand and want to be a part of their culture.

Secondly, come dressed for success. Have your hair style on point and wear business casual attire. Be ready to align with the job description, if you are interviewing with large salons you will likely meet with the salon manager before you engage with the owner.

Thirdly, be ready to discuss your last job. Be as positive as possible when referring to your experience in beauty school and in the last salon you worked in.

salon talking points

What to expect at a hair salon interview?

Expect to be challenged on the particular role you have applied for if you are striving to work in sought after salons. If you are interviewing with a chain salon, the criteria for hiring is far more simple.

Be ready to meet salon staff and spend time in salons to get a feel for what it’s like to work there. Often, the manager will break the interview up into 3 segments.

The first interview will be a get to know you type of conversation. This is where you should ask questions, inquire about customers and clarify the job description.

The second interview may involve more time in the salon such as a shadow day. The third interview is likely a technical interview.

Here you will demonstrate knowledge on things like how to treat damaged hair, skills to retain clients and what being a team player means to you. Ask if you can come on one of the busy days so you can truly get a sense of what it’s like to work with the team.

What the Interviewer (and Interviewee) Wants to Know

Hair styling skills come and go, as do people who work in salons. Everyone wants a good fit.

The interviewer is looking for values that align with the salon. Stylists want to feel like they belong.

A good team player will be successful in the right environment. A professional stylist will sink unless they have friends to talk to and they feel respected at work.

Take your time with an answer

Finding a job in a hair salon is easy. Finding a great job is hard. The most important part of happiness in a salon is how you feel at work.

Getting just any hair salon job to make ends meet is not something to strive for, nor is that something an interviewer wants to hear. While we don’t all get our dream salon jobs, reap the benefit of knowledge and learn new services at any salon.

Rushing into a new job is not the answer. Take your time and think through the interview questions and talk to as many owners as you can to find a great salon to work in.

are there many salons hiring?

What Do Your Stylists Love About Working in This Salon?

This is one of the best questions you can as a salon owner. Find stylists on social media who work in the salon after you interview.

Prepare yourself to work in the salon by asking the stylists about training, benefits and the good and bad of the salon.

What are the top interview questions to ask an interviewer about the salon?

  1. How long have the stylists been with your salon?

  2. What is the training program for the salon?

  3. What are the culture and values of the salon?

  4. Am I expected to generate my own customers?

  5. How many clients do I need to have to work in this salon?

Research the Salon Client’s Hair Before the Interview

What kind of hair services are performed in the salon? If you love vivids and the client’s hair you see on Instagram is mostly boho blondes, this isn’t the right salon for you.

Put yourself in a good position by researching customers and the services that are performed in the salon before you even apply!

What would you do if you noticed that a former client had decided to start getting haircuts from a co-worker instead?

Want to know how your hair stylist will handle a difficult client or situation? Ask this question in an interview.

No one owns clients, this needs to be a universal understanding. If you would pursue a salon non-compete agreement, but you encourage your stylists not to react if a client leaves them and sees someone else, you may need to rethink your values.

Toxic salon traits are values that a stylist is expected to uphold that do not translate into the business values.

How do you keep updated on the latest hair trends?

Give examples on how you manage to keep up with trends and be honest if this is not something you are currently good at. Your ability to describe

Have you ever experienced a situation where a client wasn’t happy with the finished look? If so, how did you respond?

In this question the interviewer is testing your customer service skills. Be professional and show your bubbly personality in your ability to handle difficult clients and situations.

We hope this has given you the answer you need to have a successful hair styling career! We wish you the best of luck, lots of money & happiness 🙂

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