Hairdressing, barbering and beauty are people-intensive industries. Your business success is very dependent on the people working for you– their skills, their attitude and their personality. Attracting and recruiting the right team makes all the difference to the prosperity of your business.

In this blog post we look at how you can ensure you recruit the best:

1. Identify the employee your salon really needs


When faced with a sudden vacancy it’s very easy to rush in and settle for anyone, just to get ‘bums on seats’.

Another common mistake is to assume you need to replace ‘like with like’ and to hire someone of the same level, experience or skill-set.

However, even when time is tight, always step back to analyse your team and the actual vacancy. This will save you time, money and heartache later on.

Ask yourself these key recruitment questions:

  • What skill levels do I have or want?
  • What’s currently missing?
  • What sort of salon or team culture do I have currently?
  • Is our culture what I want it to be?
Try to see someone handing in their notice as an opportunity to add to the team, rather than just replacing that team member.

2. Telephone screening of salon applicants

Save yourself unnecessary interviews with unsuitable candidates with an initial screening phone call. You’ll learn a lot about the candidate’s technical skills, professionalism, communication skills and style of speaking.

A telephone interview can also be a good indicator of an applicant’s confidence and verbal skills as well as their punctuality (can they remember to phone on time, for example?)

3. Hair & beauty trade tests when recruiting

Trade tests can be a great way to gauge a potential stylist or therapist’s skills in a practical, personal and targeted way.

The key is to be prepared. Make sure you the tell candidate what will be provided and what they need to bring: think about tools, a model, timings etc.

Ensure you are prepared too and have a checklist of the skills you are looking for. Why not compile a checklist that you can quickly rate from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) and jot down your comments?

4. Are they eligible to work in the UK?

It’s your responsibility to check if an applicant is legally allowed to work in the UK. Illegal workers include people with expired student visas, or students on visas working more hours than the visa allows. People on a visitor’s visa cannot be employed.


  • Ensure you see the original documents.
  • Check they are valid for that applicant.
  • Make and keep copies of documents and record the date you made the check.
  • Retain evidence of the right to work in the UK for all your employees.
Struggling with the law on employment and recruitment? NHF Members can call our free Legal Helpline for practical advice on HR issues, employment law, payroll questions and health & safety queries.

5. Take up references

Try to get references before your new hair or beauty employee starts work, but if you can’t, ensure that the offer of employment is subject to receipt of satisfactory references.

6. Job offer letter

Your offer letter should state:

  • The hours of work
  • Job role
  • Start date
  • Pay and holiday entitlement
  • Information relating to bonuses, commission and pensions

7. Employment contract for new salon recruits

Employment contract new salon recruit

We cannot emphasise how important it is to have a contract between you and your salon employee.

Provide the employee with two copies of the contract (each copy to be signed by both of you), one for your employee and one for you to keep. The NHF provides free contracts for employees and apprentices for Members to download or order. You then just need to fill them in and sign.

Need more help? NHF Members can download free copies of our template salon job application form and example job description here.

8. Set a probationary period

This is usually 3 or 6 months. Remember to diarise the probation period end date so that you can assess the individual’s performance before the probationary period ends.

It is sensible to have regular reviews throughout the probation period so the employee is made aware of any performance issues early on.

9. Put new recruits on your salon payroll

You will need to set up a payroll record for your new employee online with HMRC so ensure you get the following from your new employee, and get it processed before their first payday:

  • P45
  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • Full address

Getting salon recruitment right

Getting recruitment right is an absolutely critical part of being a successful hairdressing, barbering or beauty business. Yet there are so many things to think about and get right when recruiting. The NHF Legal Helpline is available free of charge to our Members 24/7. Just pick up the phone for immediate help and invaluable advice.