Do’s and Don’ts to Nail Your Next Interview

Do you ever get nervous for your interviews? Good! Being nervous means you care about how you’ll do which is first step when it comes to starting something new. In this article, you will learn not only how to work through those nerves but also how to nail your next interview!

A job interview is much like a first date. While it’s nerve-wracking and unlikely to go exactly as planned, it’s also your only chance to make a good impression. Fortunately, your education at Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology has provided you with the technical skills necessary to succeed in a hairstylist, esthetician or nail technician job. Now you just need to present your best professional self to land that position. Take note of these do’s and don’ts and you’ll have a new cosmetology job before you know it.

1. Do learn everything you can about the salon or spa before your interview. Whether you look the company up online through Google, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, check it out in person, or call the front desk for information, thorough research into the salon or spa you’re considering can help you decide if it’s really a place you want to work. You can also use what you learn during the research process to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of the company.

2. Do dress appropriately. While the beauty industry is a creative one, and dress code often varies by location, the outfit you choose to wear to your interview should demonstrate your respect for the opportunity. Did you happen to see any pictures of current salon or spa employees while doing your research? If so, those images can give you clues on how to dress. In general, it’s wise to avoid anything too tight, short or low-cut. If in doubt, ‘business casual’ is usually a safe option.

3. Do arrive on time. If you’re late to the interview, the salon or spa owner may assume you’ll be late to work as well. Not sure how long it will take you to drive there? Do a test run a day or two before the interview and plan your travel time accordingly. That said, you don’t want to arrive too early, either. If you get to the location more than 10 minutes before your interview is scheduled to begin, wait in your car to avoid making anyone feel rushed.

4. Do ask thoughtful questions. Yes, the interview is an opportunity for the salon or spa owner to learn more about you. But it’s also a chance for you to get details about the job that you couldn’t find online. Some of this information may even help you decide whether or not to take the job should you get an offer. Good questions to consider include:

• “What traits do your most successful employees share?”
• “How do you define success?”
• “How long do your employees work for you on average?”
• “Why did your last hairstylist/esthetician/nail tech leave the position?”
• “How would you describe a typical day in this role?”

5. Do follow up after your interview. To this day, nothing beats an old-fashioned, handwritten thank you note. Mail one as soon as possible, but don’t hesitate to follow up by email a day or two after your interview as well. Just thank the salon or spa owner for his/her time, reiterate the reasons you’d love to work there, and ask if there is any additional information you can provide to help with the hiring decision.

6. Don’t give in to nerves. Even if this is your very first salon or spa job, you need to project an aura of confidence if you want to make a good impression. Avoiding fidgeting (such as tapping your foot or twirling your hair) during the interview. Sit up straight, but don’t sit too stiffly. Keep your arms loose and relaxed rather than crossed. The right body language can go a long way towards convincing your interviewer of your professionalism.

7. Don’t forget to practice answers to difficult interview questions. To avoid rambling and keep your answers clear and succinct, it can be helpful to practice your responses in advance. Recruit a friend to help you polish your answers to common questions such as:

• “What can you tell me about yourself?”
• “Why should we hire you?”
• “Why did you leave your previous employer?”
• “What are your greatest strengths/ weaknesses?”
• “What are your goals for the next five years?”

You want your answers to show that you are honest, self-aware and passionate about the beauty industry. And you want to avoid distracting fillers such as “um,” “so,” “like” and “you know” in your responses.

8. Don’t speak poorly about previous employers or coworkers. It’s very likely that you’ll be asked why you left your last job, even if it wasn’t in the beauty industry. Even if you gave notice because every second of every day there was a nightmare of epic proportions, avoid saying this in your interview. You might also want to remove any negative comments of that sort from your public social media profiles, if you haven’t already done so.

9. Don’t ask about pay or benefits until you’ve been offered the job. Employers want beauty industry professionals who want to work at what they love, not just for a paycheck. You’ll have plenty of time to negotiate your wages and benefits after you’ve received an offer. In the meantime, however, it is acceptable to ask about the schedule and other logistics. After all, there’s no point in accepting a position with days or hours that ultimately won’t fit with your other commitments.

10. Don’t turn into a pest. Salon and spa owners are busy. Even if they’re eager to fill an available position, it can take awhile for them to make an employment decision. While reasonable follow up shows you’re proactive, professional and passionate about the opportunity, repeated phone calls and dozens of emails will cause nothing but annoyance. Remember: desperation is never attractive whether on a first date or during your job search.

By Angela Rose for Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology

Interview with a Cosmetology Graduate

At Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology, we’re as proud of our graduates as we are each of our students and are always thrilled to share and celebrate in their success. Today, we’re checking in with Alissa Puthoff, a 2016 cosmetology graduate of the North Dayton campus. Alissa is currently slaying it at Village Salon in downtown Troy and loving every minute.

CIIC: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, Alissa. You were obviously born to be a cosmetologist, but when did you first discover your desire to work in the salon industry?

Alissa: It’s really something I’ve always wanted to do since I taught myself to French braid while on the track team in junior high. I started braiding the entire team’s hair before practices and track meets, and it really showed me how I could connect with people through that one-on-one time. It also taught me to love hair because each braid made such a big difference, even though it was just a simple thing. I was like, “This is really cool, and I get to talk to people all the time. How awesome is that?”

CIIC: That’s definitely pretty awesome. So, what drew you to Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology for your education?

Alissa: For me, it was the only logical choice. After I visited Creative Images, I just knew that was where I wanted to be. They had the best setup and the best atmosphere. The whole school was very clean, and you could tell they were detail-oriented. Plus, the staff really seemed to care about the students.

CIIC: Well, we’re certainly glad you found us! What did you enjoy most about your time at the school?

Alissa: I loved the environment as a whole, but the staff is truly the best. You can tell they really care about what they are doing and the students they work with. They always made sure that everybody felt comfortable. And if anybody ever needed help, they were right there with one-on-one time to make sure we would all excel in our new careers.

CIIC: Did you find anything particularly challenging while you were training to become a cosmetology graduate?

Alissa: I think it can be challenging to admit that you don’t always know what you’re doing, but you have to if you want to get better. It’s a tough one for everybody. But again, the staff was always there to help me with that. I had to admit that I was young and had plenty of room to grow, though.

CIIC: It sounds like you conquered that challenge pretty easily. How about the challenge of finding your first salon job? What was that experience like?

Alissa: I was considering salons that my educator knew wouldn’t be a good fit for me, so she told me so. She pushed me to the be the best that I could be, including applying at the salon I’m now working at. In my head, I didn’t think I’d be good enough for them, but I actually interviewed and got the job here—five days after graduation—and I credit my educators for that 100 percent. They pushed me to see my full potential.

CIIC: That’s fantastic! So, now that you’re a full-time professional hair artist, what do you love most about the work you get to do every day?

Alissa: Absolutely everything! I know that sounds really cheesy, but as cosmetologists, we have the ability to be the best part of somebody’s day. My clients come to me to get their hair done and they get to relax for one, two or three hours. I have that one-on-one time with them to turn their whole day around, and I get to be a day-maker. That is huge for me because I’m such a people person. I love to help people see how beautiful they are, too. We’re always way too hard on ourselves.

CIIC: That’s certainly true. It’s great that you can have such an impact on the lives of others through what you do. Is there anything you’ve found challenging about working in cosmetology?

Alissa: I’m a people-pleaser, so especially when I was starting out, it was challenging to accept that you can’t make everybody happy all of the time. You can’t be everybody’s hairstylist. It’s hard to accept that, especially when you are young. I mean, I was only 20 when I first started. But I’ve learned to be true to myself and be who I am because my personality helps to attract my clientele. Of course, you also have to work every day to be the best professional version of that.

CIIC: Personality and professionalism are definitely keys to success. What other advice do you have for Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology’s current students as they complete their training and enter the workforce?

Alissa: Just don’t stress about it too much and enjoy this season of growth. Looking back, you’re going to see that it was such a cool time in your life. When it’s time to choose an employer, find a salon that is going to help you grow and never put a limit on your potential. That was the number one thing I was looking for and, right out of school, I went into this incredible eight-month training program at the salon. It has totally boosted my career. Now, two years later, I’m helping do the training in that program.

By Angela Rose for Creative Images institute of Cosmetology