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Resources & Development - Recruiting

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Recruiting for Business Success

By: Zahira J. Coll

Imagine with me for a moment, you arrive at work today, and find out that one of your Providers has called in sick. only a half an hour before their first appointment was due to arrive, worse yet she was fully booked today. Your diligent Front desk staff called the other two providers that were on their day off, to come to help, but they could not be reached. By mid morning you had been able to re-schedule most appointments, cancel others and apologize profusely to your customers because there was no way to accommodate them.

Later, as the day winds down, you wonder, how are you ever going to find the staff you need to fill all the positions you have open and to help alleviate emergency situations like today. You have been looking, but no one has applied, and you are not sure on how to develop an ad that will attract candidates. You then recall the last two people you hired, who where not good employees at all, and ended up causing you more headaches than the little help they provided. You are wondering if your recruitment process is the right one.

Does this bleak picture sound at all familiar? It has been experienced many times by other Spa/Salon Managers & Operators.

In these times qualified, talented individuals are scarce, the industry is growing. There where 419,000 reported job openings in 1999 and we find it difficult to find and hire the staff we need. How do we avoid the most common mistake of hiring the first person that walks into our office, that famous "warm body syndrome" which inevitably translates to more problems than what you had to begin with?

Proper staffing is an essential task in creating a successful spa and/or salon business. Even if you have the best location, most popular services and most comfortable facilities in the world you will not have a profitable/successful operation if you do not staff it with talented, friendly, honest, service oriented team members.

If you can afford to have a human resources professional, on your staff, or as a consultant, that indeed would be the easiest and best solution. They can assist you not only with recruitment but also with legalities, training programs and employee issues.

If you choose to handle these "Human Resource" issues in-house, you must have processes in place that insure the success of your recruitment effort, insure that you find all the staff you need and the correct people for the jobs at hand.

Following are the tasks at hand to implement successful recruitment processes:

Job Descriptions: First things first, job descriptions should always be done before you start recruiting for any position. Why you ask? Well, it will force you to think of the specific functions you need for this position, and what skills are required to perform the necessary tasks.

This helps you prepare for interviewing and selecting the proper questions to ask, which will help determine whether the candidate meets your needs or not. It is also an excellent tool for the employee once hired, because it becomes a guideline to understanding what is expected of them. Lastly it is "road map" ensuring consistency in the way your services are delivered.

Advertisement for job openings: Target your audience, the new generations are attracted by a clear and persuasive recruitment message. If you frame this message in terms of what you have to offer today and in the immediate future, they will be more interested in exploring opportunities with your company. Keep in mind that your Ad represents you and your company. Not only job candidates will be seeing your ad but also customers, community members and competitors.

Due to the shortage of qualified candidates you need to be very creative in your recruitment plan. The time & money invested in your recruitment strategy should be as substantial as your marketing effort, and both will have a spin off affect on the other.

Creative Recruitment: Advertisement alone does not guarantee locating good candidates. A creative recruitment plan with programs such as staff referral with incentives, partnering with trade schools creating internship programs at your location, trade-shows, professional associations, etc. will keep applications for employment and/or resumes arriving at your door.

Interview process: "What to ask and What NOT to ask, that is the question" Nowadays we have so many legalities to be aware of that you will need to seek professional advise in what is "legal" to ask during an interview and what is NOT. That alone is enough to write a completely different article, look for it in later publications.

Do keep some general rules in mind and prepare ahead of time. Write a script with the questions you want to ask for every position. Take notes during the interview process and keep all the applicants paperwork together with your notes. Be consistent! Think of the perfect answer for each of the questions you prepared and then compare the candidates answer to what you are really looking for.

When you design your questions try to come up with situational questions in which the candidate would need to give you an actual example of a past experience. Ask questions that are specific to the area of expertise they are applying for. If you are interviewing a Spa/Salon receptionist ask; "Tell me about a situation in which you had to handle an upset guest and what was the outcome?" The way they handled the situation in the past is most likely how they will handle the same situation in the future. It gives you a great glimpse as to what kind of an employee attitude you are going to acquire.

If you always hire individuals that have a positive, I can do it attitude with a deep satisfaction and inner motivation to serve the client you will build a winning team. Anytime you hire someone less motivated or with a negative outlook in life that will be the behavior you will get at work.

Hiring an employee is like a marriage; you need to find the perfect fit for it to be successful and last.

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