Must Ask Interview Questions!

By Mark Rockquemore 

“In smaller businesses, it’s not only the business owners who wear many hats, so you are looking for employees who are flexible and willing to pitch in to get the job done. When it comes to improving your interviewing skills, it’s best to ask questions that will get at their effectiveness in handling tough problems, dealing with conflict, and making decisions…”

-Peak Performance Solutions

Strategies For Your Next Interview

Ask open-ended questions, never interrupt, and always be the one who’s controlling the conversation. Give the candidate big subjects that will relax them, get them talking, and give you a glimpse of who they really are. For example, I like to ask Associate Program candidates to tell me a story about a guest they had in cosmetology school who stands out in their mind for one reason or another. A guest who had a touching story, or some sort of circumstance that makes him or her memorable. I ask questions like this because I will often find that candidates get lost in the practice of storytelling, and this gives me a chance to see what they are sincerely passionate about, and provides insight into their true personality, and maybe even find out along the way what they like most (or even dislike) about the industry.

CHARACTER is my #1 concern when interviewing, period. I’m not concerned about whether or not they have the ability to say what they think I want to hear. As I’ve heard in the SSBC circles for many years in regard to hiring Associates, “technical skill can be taught, but character, common sense, and passion cannot!” If someone is humble, genuinely happy, and has an amiable personality, they are likely to appeal to a wider range of guests, making them more marketable. Let’s face it, people do business with people that they like, so a first impression at the interview speaks volumes.

Personally, I steer away from the standard top-five questions to ask at an interview, according to Google (Where do you see yourself in five years? Tell me about yourself. Why should I hire you? And so on.) However, if you need a starting point, has some great recommendations. Here are ten good interview questions.

  1. If you had one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
  2. When have you failed? What happened and what did you learn from it?
  3. What accomplishment are you most proud of, and why?
  4. What do you think are the most important characteristics of successful people, and how do you rate yourself in this area?
  5. Describe a crisis you faced at work. What was your role, what were the results, and how did you resolve it?
  6. What about this opportunity that most excites you?
  7. What qualities in your co-workers do you appreciate most? What about them bothers you most?
  8. If I were to ask your most recent employer what your greatest strength is, what would he/she tell me? What would they tell me about your greatest weakness?
  9. If you were limited to just one person to get advice and help from, who would you choose and why?
  10. What will make you love coming here to work every day?

Spotting The Red Flags

HAVE THEY VISITED YOUR SALON WEBSITE? I always ask if they have visited our salon website. If the answer is “no” I begin to have doubts about the candidate. Not because I’m an ego maniac, but because I feel that in this day and age, it’s reasonable to expect that candidates know something about the company they’re interviewing with! If they don’t, they’re basically just a walk-in filling out a job application, and likely looking for a “job”, not a “career”. I feel if a candidate is sincerely interested in the position, they should know some background about the salon, its credentials, and have some information about the position for which they’re applying. Just my opinion.

DID THEY WEAR JEANS TO THE INTERVIEW? You can agree with me or not, but if someone shows up for an interview at my salon wearing jeans, I automatically assume they know nothing about our salon. I’m a little old-fashioned when it comes to this: I believe you can NEVER overdress for an interview, but you can certainly underdress. Also, quite honestly, I think that if someone wants to be taken seriously, then they should look the part and dress to impress. There are no exceptions to this rule, and it doesn’t matter if your staff dress code is formal, casual, or in-between.

DID THEY ARRIVE TO THE INTERVIEW ON TIME? If not, it could be a sign of things to come. First impressions still mean a great deal, and marginal behaviors, even at the first stage, raise a red flag for me. Trust your perception of those behaviors; often times it’s your intuition telling you to keep looking.

Think of it this way: When you hire the wrong person, he or she has almost as much to lose as the salon. What I mean by this is that if the salon hires the wrong person, the salon is, in a sense, standing in the way of that person’s path to abundance! He or she could be working somewhere else where they would likely be more comfortable and more appreciated, have less structure in a less demanding culture, and likely be surrounded by a supporting cast of others who are happy in their mediocrity and earning industry minimums. Learn how to spot the red flags to clear the way for the best fit, and you’ll be spending your time, money, and energy most wisely…and building a bridge to a prosperous future for your salon!

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