Maybe you’re looking for fresh graduates with a positive attitude and a hunger for learning. Maybe you’re searching for techs with several years of experience under their belt. In either case, recruiting new staff members is one of the most daunting challenges nail salon owners face. Whoever your ideal candidate is, we often hear the same refrain: Good nail techs are extremely hard to find.
You don’t want to sink too low in your expectations; otherwise there will be constant drama, unhappy customers, and within six months you’ll be looking for someone new. But it can also be challenging to find highly skilled employees who aren’t already happily employed elsewhere.
In most fields, using word of mouth or traditional job posting sites would be enough. But faced with a small pool of qualified candidates, many salon owners are branching out with their searches and they’ve found that one of the best ways to attract top talent is through social media: on Instagram and Facebook.
There are some unique challenges to marketing your nail salon in a small town, and hiring new employees is one of them. When nail salons don’t have a large pool of people to hire from, they often have to come up with creative solutions.
Heather Lewis of Heather’s Nail Boutique in Sandpoint, Idaho, has turned to boosted Facebook posts to attract local nail techs. “I must say that it is still incredibly difficult to find employees, especially in a small town,” says Lewis. “But I have had some luck with Facebook advertising.”
Facebook advertising does allow you to promote a job opening, but Lewis didn’t have much luck with that: “I tried the Facebook Jobs feature and that didn’t seem to work well,” she explains.
“I did best with just stating in my ad that they had to email me to apply. In the last year I have hired two people through Facebook ads. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a record for me in a small town!”
Facebook advertising for nail salons can be as simple as posting a beautiful nail shot, like Lewis did, writing up a friendly description asking for help, and “boosting” it so it gets seen by the right people on Facebook. But who are the right people to target with an ad like this?
“I found that when I try to target certain groups, such as an interest in nails or beauty, that I don’t have any audience,” says Lewis. “I also don’t want to expand the area too much because realistically no one is going to drive more than 40 miles to get here. Employees who have thought they were willing to make the commute usually decide they’re done by mid-winter.
Instead, I usually use an audience of 18- to 65-year-olds and I usually target women. I also limit the range to about 25 miles.”
Lewis also suggests turning to clients to get the word out: “Your clients can be helpful. Ask them to share your post with their friends,” she says. “I even thought of holding a drawing and to qualify they had to share my job post.”
If you’ve ever visited a local Facebook group, you’ve seen that they’re often full of small businesses advertising their services. Courtney Crosbie is a booth renter at Tan-tastic salon in Calne, England. The owner of Tan-tastic found her because she was posting her nail services in a Facebook group.
“The salon that hired me saw an advert of mine on a local Facebook group and offered me a job,” explains Crosbie, whose post stated that she would be returning to the area soon and invited everyone to check out her work. “I think it was to prevent me stealing their clients. Clever, because it worked!”
The salon owner was impressed with Crosbie’s work and sent her a message asking if she might be interested in joining the team. “I was thrilled to be given such an opportunity!” Crosbie says.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to scout new hires without spending lots of time, it might be worth scrolling through a few local Facebook groups. “I think this is a great way to find new salon employees,” says Crosbie. “Offer the local mobile or home-based techs a spot in your salon, then they aren’t competitors anymore!”
If your nail salon is constantly looking for your next great employee, why not have a permanent job posting on your social media? It can be as simple as creating an Instagram “Stories Highlight” that stays at the top of your profile.
This is exactly what Eunice Montes Hamaguchi, owner of BellaBar Beauty in Orange County, Calif., does to find new employees. “I have a consistent ‘Now Hiring’ on my Instagram Story,” she says. “I’ve gotten a few inquiries from it!”
All it takes to implement this easy job posting is some basic graphic design (you can do it with Canva) and an Instagram profile, making it a simple and effective recruitment tool.
If nail techs aren’t coming to you, why not go searching for them? One of the best ways to uncover new and exciting nail techs is through Instagram. They’re on this platform daily, showing off their work. By looking at their profiles, their photos, and their descriptions, you can get a good idea of both their skill level and their personality.
A great way of finding these profiles is through Instagram hashtags. Do a bit of digging for local nail-based hashtags and you may just come across some gems. That’s how Brooke Creech found her job at Bella Nail Bar in Dayton, Ohio.
“When I first started cosmetology school I knew I wanted to specialize in nail art, so I started a nails-only Instagram account to show my art,” says Creech. “I posted every bit of work that I was proud of and always tagged the location as Dayton, Ohio, so salons would know it’s where I am. I also used the #DaytonNails and #DaytonNailTech hashtags on every photo.” Two weeks before graduation, a salon in the area with an opening discovered her work by browsing through the #DaytonNails results on Instagram and offered her an interview. “I had a job the day I got my work permit after graduation because I was so vigilant about using social media to put myself out there!”
Creech is now an educator, and she gives the same advice to nail salons about how to find new employees through social media. “Now when I travel to other schools, I make sure to tell that story to new nail techs so they can do the same in whatever city they want to work in. The salon I currently work in is hiring and I’ve been helping with finding prospects in the area by searching the same tags that helped my first salon find me.”
Stephanie Mitchell is the owner of Sunnystorm Marketing (www.sunnystorm.marketing), which specializes in helping beauty businesses grow their client base and brand themselves online. You can find more advice on her blog at www.sunnystorm.marketing/blog.