When a client comes to you looking for a change, how do you help them make the best decision? Do you ask them to look through magazines to find their ideal haircut? Do you make sure they're not making a last minute emotional decision? Your job is to help identify what clients like and make sure that you are both on the same page about expectations. Explain that you know how important it is to have clear communication with your clients in order to give them what they want.
"Answer example, "I work with clients to find out what look they are going for. If they are looking for a classic look, we will explore statement up-do or if they are looking to stand out, we will talk large wavy curls. I ask clients about the event or occasion they are styling for and we work from there."
Your business is dependent on having solid relationships with customers. Draw from your experience. What have you learned about building these relationships? Your customer service skills are essential. Your sales and marketing skills will be helpful as well. If you can give an example of a good relationship with one of your customers, the interviewer will have a much clearer picture of your skills in action.
"My customer, Helen, has continued to come back for facials and waxing. We get along great, and I make a point to ask her how she's doing and follow up with her every time she comes in about different topics we discuss. I run specials and keep her updated by sending out emails and calling to make sure she is informed and can schedule her next appointment."
"Answer example, "I pride myself on building effective relationships with my clients and I do so by asking questions to learn about who they are as people. I take note of important people or events going on in their life and wherever possible, incorporate things they like into their style."
You will be working one-on-one with clients and building relationships with them. Your prior customer service experience will help you to communicate effectively with customers and understand their needs.
"Before doing hair and makeup I worked in a restaurant where learned how to handle difficult customers and keep a positive attitude. Since I started working with clients in school, I learned even more how important it is to be patient and listen to customer needs. I strive to give them consistent service and make sure they walk out happy."
"Answer example, "Customer service is a large part of what we do before, during and after working with clients for their hair and makeup needs. I try to understand what they are looking for early on in our work together and utilize this as a guideline throughout the client experience."
Do you remember the time in your life when you were most inspired to pursue this career path? Explain how you use to do makeup on your sisters when you were young or how everyone wanted you to do their hair at prom. When interviewers ask this question, they want to hear about your passion. They also want to know that your decision to become a cosmetologist was well thought out, not just a last minute decision because you weren't so sure about college. Share a brief story about how you decided to choose your career and don't be afraid to express your passion!
"Answer example, "Early on as a child, I was always interested in fashion and beauty. I admired how makeup can transform a person and help them make a statement to match their mood or a style. I decided then I wanted to be a cosmetologist."
When the salon manager asks you about a specific style or type of hair, they are curious because it is something they may be expecting you to be familiar with. If you don't have experience with men's hairstyles or any other specific style, let them know, "I haven't had much experience with male clients, but I look forward to getting more! I feel confident in my skills, judgement and understanding of what clients need and want. I know I can improve quickly."
"I haven't had much experience with male clients, but I look forward to getting more! I feel confident in my skills, judgement and understanding of what clients need and want. I know I can improve quickly."
"Answer example, "Absolutely! I have worked on a wide age group of women and men's hair including children and elderly."
One of the nice things about working as a cosmetologist is that you have the freedom to work independently. This freedom also comes with responsibility. If you are renting a chair in a salon, you have to pay a monthly rate and report to the salon manager. If that salon uses a particular product, you will need to attend trainings to learn about the products and how to use them for different styles and hair types. To answer the question, how do you feel about the responsibility of working on your own? Here's a sample response: "I enjoy working independently and with others. Even though I'm very team-oriented, I also enjoy the responsibility of managing my own clients and my chair. I love learning about new products and take initiative to find opportunities to grow in my skills." Initiative is the key word. Being a go-getter, proactive type of person shows you can handle working on your own.
"I enjoy working independently and with others. Even though I'm very team-oriented, I also enjoy the responsibility of managing my own clients and my chair. I love learning about new products and take initiative to find opportunities to grow in my skills."
"Answer example, "Very much so! Part of what I enjoy about being a cosmetologist is that I can work independently, along with being a part of a larger team. At the end of the day, I am here to work with clients and that is something I enjoy very much."
Have you ever done hair or makeup for weddings, concerts, galas or other big events? Having the skills to quickly apply makeup and design hair styles for models, actors or brides-to-be will help you branch out beyond the salon and spa. Describe any experiences you've had where you worked on big events. What were the challenges? What did you enjoy about it?
What do you expect work to be like from your experience? You may have little on the job experience, but you have a clear understanding of the job description and your education to back you up. You may have a lot of questions about what a typical day would look like at their salon, massage or skincare company, but start with what you know: You'll be on your feet all day. You may need to order products and learn about them. You will need to use your listening and observation skills when doing makeup, hair or performing facials. If you specialize in a particular area, focus on how you strive to enhance the client experience when performing that particular service. Show them you can handle it by demonstrating your understanding and experience as you walk them through your typical day.
"Answer example, "Part of what is most fun about being a cosmetologist is that there is no such thing as a typical day! I can be doing anything from gaining new business, working on hair or makeup for a high profile event to transforming a group of teenagers into princesses for their prom!"
Unfortunately, sometimes you just can't seem to get it right. Some customers will just never be satisfied, no matter how hard you try. Give an example of a time when you had a hard time meeting the customer's needs. Be sure to talk about what you did to remedy the situation and what you learned from it. Here's an example to get you thinking in the right direction: "I had a client who wanted to color her hair much darker than her natural color. I advised her to stay with warmer tones since it would complement her eyes and skin tone. She insisted on going more on the ashy side, so I gave her exactly what she requested. In the end she wasn't satisfied. I did a color correction towards what I had originally recommended, but I could tell she was frustrated about the situation. I gave her a complimentary blowout in return, and learned that sometimes it's better to use your best judgement, even if a customer wants something different."
"I had a client who wanted to color her hair much darker than her natural color. I advised her to stay with warmer tones since it would complement her eyes and skin tone. She insisted on going more on the ashy side, so I gave her exactly what she requested. In the end she wasn't satisfied. I did a color correction towards what I had originally recommended, but I could tell she was frustrated about the situation. I gave her a complimentary blowout in return, and learned that sometimes it's better to use your best judgement, even if a customer wants something different."
"Answer example, "It rarely happens because we talk a lot as we go, but if/when it does, I offer to redo the service or provide them with a discount on the service. Most of all, I listen and make sure their concerns are heard."
Brush up on your knowledge of the latest trends in hair. The interviewer wants to know that you are comfortable doing women's styles and that you are familiar with some of the most recent styles that women tend to request. Remember "The Rachel" haircut? Well, now girls want to die their hair silver or two-toned, or add streaks of pink and purple. Grab a Glamour magazine and flip through to make sure you're on top of the trends!
"Answer example, "I think it depends on the individual. There is no one magic bullet hair style that is right for everyone. I try to learn about my client's personalities and then match them with a hair style that compliments that, along with their overall appearance."
Now that you have achieved your goal of becoming a cosmetologist, it may seem overwhelming to think about the future. You've been working hard to get to this point, but take heart! The interviewer doesn't expect a detailed answer. They just want to get an idea of how this position fits into your future goals. Do you plan to do hair for a salon for two years and then start your own? Do you plan to get more certifications to focus on color and color correction? What about skincare? Do you want to add on more certifications? Think about some of these questions if you're not quite clear on your goals. Offer up a couple of things you're interested in doing in the future and show the interviewer that this position will help launch you into your dream career!
"Answer example, "In five years, I see myself with my own cosmetology practice and servicing private, high end clients for special events."
What sort of work environment do you thrive in? What kinds of personalities do you enjoy working with? Share what you are looking for in a job. Why are those aspects important to you?
"My ideal job would be working in a salon with coworkers I can rely upon and managers who treat me with respect. I do my best to keep a positive attitude, and it is much more enjoyable to be around others who strive to do the same."
"Answer example, "My dream job is to work with some of the top cosmetologists in the industry and perhaps be an on hand cosmetologist for a local star!"
Share some of the highlights of your training. If you are now specialized in hair or nails, talk about why you chose that particular area. When talking about your training, share some of the skills you learned. Talk about your client interactions as you were trying out new techniques. What was it like to work with a client for the first time? Do you feel like your schooling prepared you for your career? Think of one thing you really enjoyed during your education, whether it be getting hands on experience or learning about how to apply makeup in new ways. Think of one thing you didn't like. Perhaps you didn't feel like the products you learned on were the best or you disagreed with a policy. Focus your attention on the overall experience and show the interviewer you are ready to take on the new challenges at their salon.
"Answer example, "I trained with top artists in the NYC area and enjoyed trying to master new cosmetology skills with their expertise on hand."
Share a few of your favorite techniques you've learned in school. Talk about your favorite styles and your knowledge of how everyone's hair needs different products and tools to give it shape and body. How do these techniques work on fine or coarse hair? Why do you use different tools with different hair textures?
"Answer example, "I enjoy the actual process of styling hair and building relationships with the clients I work with along the way."
Do you like watching fashion shows or reading fashion magazines? Are you always looking out for the latest beauty tips and hair trends? The interviewer wants to hear that you are passionate about your work and always looking for inspiration that will help you improve and grow. Share how you get your ideas. What inspires you? If you have a mentor you've been training under, talk about how they have helped you think outside the box.
"Answer example, "I gain inspiration from all over! I follow top fashion trends, watch all the top fashion events and read magazines as much as I can. Style is inventive and I am always trying to create new style trends on my own too."
This may or may not be your specialty. Coloring hair is a science that requires practice and understanding of the right blends of chemicals and tones. Share your experience, focusing on techniques and principles you've learned that have helped you achieve the desired results. Color-treated hair can be very processed and damaged. What have you learned to remedy the worst split ends and breakage?
"Answer example, "When interning at a top salon in NYC, I was the color stylist. I have experience preparing hair for coloring and working with the stylists throughout the process. I also change my color all the time based on my mood."
Respond with an enthusiastic, "Yes!" Even though you may work independently at a salon where you get to manage your business and your clients, you still need to communicate well with your team and be a positive influence. Everyone has to work together to maintain the reputation of your salon. Share how you prioritize your work relationships as much as your clients. Your attitude and willingness to be flexible are super important! Consider giving an example of how you have worked well as a team in your most recent job. How did you contribute to the team?
"Answer example, "Being a team player is an important part of our work. I work well with and draw inspiration from my teammates as much as I can."
What's important to you at your next job? The interviewer wants to know that you're not just interested in any place that will hire you. They want to know that you want to work for them. Before the interview, learn as much as you can about their garage. You can search customer reviews to learn about their reputation. An auto repair shop with good reviews reflects their values as well. Think about the places you have worked. What did you like most about them? If you can't find much online or through asking around beforehand, try to list at least three things you have read that you like about their garage. It's always good to share how working for them will help you achieve your goals. "I want to do makeup in the fashion industry. Because you have such a great reputation and so much talent, I will be surrounding by people who can teach me and help me grow in my skills. I feel confident in my skills but I know I could learn so much from working with your team that would help me to move forward in my career."
"I want to do makeup in the fashion industry. Because you have such a great reputation and so much talent, I will be surrounding by people who can teach me and help me grow in my skills. I feel confident in my skills but I know I could learn so much from working with your team that would help me to move forward in my career."
"Answer example, "You are the top salon in this area and I have been a happy customer for years. It would be an honor to deliver value in cosmetology services to a place that radiates innovation in style."
Your strengths can be anything from your character qualities to skills that you have been working to perfect during your training. It can seem a little overwhelming to answer a question so broad, so try to narrow your focus to just a few things. Share at least one trait that is unique to you, like your ability to listen and empathize with your customers. When thinking about these traits, keep the job description in mind. What strengths will be most helpful to do this job well? You will need a steady hand and attention for detail when doing hair, makeup or nails. This would also be a great quality to share! What are some other strengths that will make you a great stylist? What are some skills you've learned that will help you be the one that will keep your clients coming back?
"Answer example, "My strengths are creativity, experimentation and detail in artistic expression. They serve me well in cosmetology."
What are some skills you'd like to work on? Think about some qualities or skills that are not fully developed or where you're weaker. Don't be discouraged by your weaknesses! Think of them as opportunities to learn and grow. Give an example that shows you have put some thought into it and that you are taking a proactive approach. Here's one way to answer the question: "I have been practicing updo hairstyles because I want to do hair for weddings and work with event planners. I wasn't great at them at first, but the more I practice the better I get. I like the challenge of working with different hair types and learning creative ways to make beautiful designs."
"I have been practicing updo hairstyles because I want to do hair for weddings and work with event planners. I wasn't great at them at first, but the more I practice the better I get. I like the challenge of working with different hair types and learning creative ways to make beautiful designs."
"Answer example, "I am always trying to improve as a stylist in all areas. Right now, I am working on perfecting the art of balayage."
Challenges with customers and coworkers sometimes just can't be avoided. How you handle it is the most important part! Think about some of the situations you may encounter in your beauty career. Customer complaints, gossip among coworkers or disagreements with your boss could stand in the way of your success if you let it get to you. Give an example that shows you can deal with challenges and overcome them. "My coworker and I had a miscommunication about an issue with a client. I knew that if I continued to butt heads with her it wasn't going to solve the situation. I suggested we talk about it when we are more calm, so we followed up the next day. By staying calm and thinking rationally, we were able to find a compromise."
"My coworker and I had a miscommunication about an issue with a client. I knew that if I continued to butt heads with her it wasn't going to solve the situation. I suggested we talk about it when we are more calm, so we followed up the next day. By staying calm and thinking rationally, we were able to find a compromise."
"Answer example, "I was recently working with a client who changed the direction of her look mid way through working together. This called for us to revamp our supplies, resources and team. We had to coordinate to do what was necessary to make the change. We are happy to accommodate our clients."
Cosmetologists are highly skilled and talented professionals who specialize in providing a variety of beauty services such as hair styling, skin care, makeup application, hair removal, manicures, and pedicures amongst others. They are committed to helping their clients look good and feel more confident. Cosmetologists typically work in privately owned salons or in salons and spas attached to hotels.
Smaller salons may hire cosmetologists who have completed a general cosmetology training program. However, high-end salons will only hire applicants who have a undergone specialized training in each individual beauty service. Cosmetologists must have great aesthetic sense and excellent customer service skills. Physical stamina and endurance also play a role as the job involves staying in the same position for the major part of the day. Experience is crucial. Very few employers will want to hire someone who has not had any experience.
At your cosmetologist interview, the salon owner, who will be conducting the interview, will ask you why you chose this particular career. They will also want to know if you have had any experience working in a salon and what beauty services you provided during that time. They will also ask you if you are willing to undergo a training period to learn their particular styling and beauty techniques. Knowing the questions that you are likely to be asked can give you the advantage at this type of interview. You can find these at mock interview questions. Check them out and take the time to prepare compelling answers before heading off to your cosmetologist interview.