Building Your Business

20 Questions to Ask at a Job Interview

Pay scale may be the first question that comes to mind, but astute technicians know there are many other salon elements that affect their income and job satisfaction.

What is your booth rental?” or “What commission do you pay?” are usually the first questions nail technicians ask when they call a salon to seek a position. But there are so many other factors that can directly affect your bottom line. Hidden costs and other elements can erode the relationship between nail technician and salon owner. If these additional facts come to light late rather than sooner, it can cost time and money.

The following 20 questions might eliminate a hasty decision when choosing your dream salon.

  1. What equipment do you provide?

Not only is the workstation important, but also the amount of outlets, wall space, lights, and sink, pedicure, and drying areas for your clients.

  1. What about access and hours?

Will you be given a key to the salon or must you maintain the hours set by management? Are there minimum and maximum hours required?

  1. Who does the booking? Is there a receptionist to do the booking or are you to book your own appointments? What is the booking policy regarding walk-ins? Will the receptionist do your appointment verification? Is there any extra fee for receptionist support?
  2. Who collects the service fee? Will you be responsible for collecting the money or will the receptionist? What about multiple service customers? Does the salon accept credit cards and is there a fee for that?
  3. What is your policy regarding the telephone? Can you use the business phone for personal calls and/or for calling clients? Are clients allowed to use the phone? Is there a monthly charge for phone privileges? Where is the nearest pay phone?
  4. What insurance do you provide? This is a BIG question! Types of insurance include liability, fire and theft, and many types of personal benefits packages. Ask for proof of liability and fire and theft insurance if you choose a particular location. Be sure to seek professional advice if you have any questions regarding types of insurance.
  5. Do you retail products and/or can I? Since retailing home-care products is extremely profitable and builds loyalty within your client base, an agreement should be reached upfront. Who selects, purchases, and maintains the retail area is important. Most of all, what will the financial arrangement be?
  6. What sort of advertising do you do? Will the new employer advertise for you? Will you be required to participate in salon specials, and is there a shared cost for salon ads? Can you advertise on your own or will you need approval? What about logos and business cards?
  7. Do you have a dress code? What can and can’t you wear? If there is a uniform, who pays for it and who maintains it?
  8. Do you have monthly salon meetings? Does the salon have meetings and are you required to attend? How does the salon handle problem-solving and disputes? What about customer complaints? (The answer to this question will give you great insight into the “work culture” of the salon).
  9. What amenities do you provide? Are there ample supplies of coffee, soap, towels, paper goods, etc.? Who is supplies and pays for these items?
  10. Who is responsible for salon cleanup? One of the biggest “business busters” is a dirty salon. Check the bathroom facilities and sanitation procedures of the salon. Who is responsible for the cleaning and are there any housekeeping fees?
  11. Is there any storage area provided? Is there a place to keep your backup supplies? Is there a secure place provided for your personal items or will you have to purchase your own cabinet?
  12. Do I receive any in-house services? Can I get other salon services for myself or family members and is there a special time allotted for this? Is there any charge?
  13. Is this a non-smoking salon?
  14. Where is your parking area? What are the time limits and fees?
  15. What is your vacation policy? This may be related to the type of compensation package you have. Get an agreement upfront and ask about restricted times.
  16. What notice do you require for resignation? The answer to this could be anywhere from 30 minutes to 30 days! Should it be in writing? Will there be any rebates? How is client information cancelled?
  17. Do you have an employment contract and employee handbook? Both of these items require careful consideration. Again, seek the advice of a professional before signing anything if you have any questions.

The above 19 questions all directly relate to your profitability and well-being in the business of nails. If you have been in the business a while, you have experienced a few of the problems that can arise from these “pop up” fees and restrictions. If you are looking for your first location, a good look at these questions may prevent you from making a poor choice. Any salon owner will greatly respect a prospective employee who is concerned with these issues.

  1. What type of compensation do you offer? This is a hotly debated topic in the nail industry and there is a lot of good information available regarding pay plans. The three major types of compensation are commission, booth rental, and salary. With any of these plans, the questions to ask are: How can I grow and what can I expect for superior productivity? What type of education will I receive? When and by what standards will I be evaluated?

Choosing and maintaining a sound business relationship is not always easy, but the results are profitable and rewarding. These 20 sound building blocks will create the foundation to make it work for you.

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