How a Small Town Salon Owner Recruits Hairstylists From Beauty Schools

Finding top-notch new employees can be a challenge. But it is one that salon owner Jenny Grisham in Alpine, Texas does with enthusiasm.

Her salon resides in a town of 6,000 in a stunningly beautiful area of west Texas. With the closest cosmetology school 200 miles away, Grisham travels broadly to recruit new talent.

Salon Today described how she goes about recruiting candidates from beauty schools. The process of bringing a candidate and a family member to her salon Americana and interviewing them is very expensive, so she wants to be sure that she has made the right choice.

Grisham travels around Texas about 12 times a year to visit cosmetology and barber schools. She speaks to as many as 300 students on each of her trips.

She describes her primary motivation as empowering students to create prosperous and “fulfilling futures in a rewarding industry.” However, Grisham always keeps an eye out for promising candidates.

Finding and recruiting new hairdressers is her biggest business challenge, so Grisham has it down to an art. She looks for those rare people who want a high quality workplace, work to improve constantly, and enjoy an environment of diverse team members.

And last, but not least, she needs to find candidates who are up to living in a small town in a rural area.

The selection process begins with an online application. One of Grisham’s favorite questions asks what the candidate wants first-time clients to know about them before they introduce themselves.

Grisham checks personal references, too, to try and determine whether the candidate will be happy in a small town. The next step is a phone interview. If that goes well, she sends about $250 of hair and skin care and cosmetics products along with information about the region and town.

Then, she brings out the candidate and a family member to visit the salon and picks up the tab for the trip. Generally the salon supplies a model and asks for a demonstration of skill. Each staff member then gets a chance to privately interview the applicant.

The final interview is a heart-to-heart talk between Grisham and the candidate. She makes the final decision based on four factors:

  • Core values that align
  • Career goals that are mutually beneficial
  • A positive response from all team members
  • The desire of the candidate to live in Alpine

Grisham describes working at her salon as being an adventure and a challenge. She also says that it includes acceptance into a unique, supportive, and warm community.


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