1. Tell me who was the best boss you ever had? Why?

My boss at PetSmart was the best boss I ever had. He gave us ways to develop our product knowledge and encouraged us to take on more responsibility. He was very fair and gave recognition to employees who did something outstanding. He respected the employees and we trusted him to help us if we needed it.

2. Explain what is one thing you like least about this career?

The thing that can tire me the most is living on a schedule, with cuts every half hour. Everyone is busy, and time is important, so I work hard to stay on schedule and be punctual. That's the most draining part of the job, and the only part that can be stressful for me.

3. Tell us how many hours a week do you expect?

She needs to know your expectations. She wants someone with unlimited availability, in a perfect world. Not every salon considers 40 hours to be full time. There are some franchises that consider 30 hours full time. I know of one that doesn't want a stylist on the floor over 7 hours in a shift to keep them from burnout.

If you absolutely need full time let her know this. Or maybe you can make do with 20 hours a week until you can work your way into full time.

4. Tell me what self -marketing tips do you have for cosmetologists?

Always have business cards. When meeting someone new, give them a card. Give those cards to friends and ask them to hand them out too. Another thing: cosmetologists should look beautiful all the time. I was told by my teacher in school that clients should never come in looking better than their stylist. Cosmetologists are providing a service, and the clients want to see the stylist as an example.

5. Tell me how do you build relationships with customers?

I think the best way to build a good relationship with a customer is to really get to know them. Client consultations help in figuring out what kind of look the person is going for and what the DEFINITELY don't want. Also, taking notes never hurts. Personally, I wouldn't want to walk into my hair salon and have my stylist forget my name! So if I have to reread my consultation notes I will.

6. Tell me what is the most challenging part of your job?

It can be tricky when someone comes in who wants something new, but doesn't have any idea what they want. During the consultation, I have to find out what they like and don't like, and feel confident that I can give them what they want. I also have to strike a balance between giving clients what they ask for and suggesting new ideas. Looking at books for examples can help if they don't understand the lingo when we're talking about styles - dimension, shape, and that sort of thing.

7. What is your greatest weakness as Cosmetologist?

Turn a negative into a positive. Don't say anything that will throw up a red flag to the interviewer like, "I have a hard time getting places on time." If a candidate said that to me we would be done with the interview. A salon manager not only needs you at work on time but so do your clients.

Don't choose anything that could adversely affect salon life. Things like being too trusting, or being too guarded with your feelings, or taking on too much responsibility are good ones to use that won't work against you.

8. Tell me how did you find your first job?

I came here from Maine to go to school at Whitman's Academy of Hair Design. When I finished, I went back to work in a salon in the little town I grew up in. That job didn't give me the excitement and creativity that I needed, though, so I scheduled a couple of interviews at salons in Brattleboro. I was at Whitman's salon, getting a haircut from a friend so that I would look beautiful for my interviews. The owner, who was my former teacher, overheard that I was looking for a job, came over to me and said, "Hey, why don't you come work for me?" So I did.

9. Tell me what was the best job you ever had? Why?

She is wanting to know if what you really enjoy doing is something you will enjoy doing in the salon. If you loved being a number cruncher and sitting at a desk all day you probably won't like being a creative, stand on your feet all day hairdresser. In her eyes, maybe you are not the best suited person for her open chair.

However, if you worked at PetSmart and enjoyed running around the store and helping customers with their beloved pets the interviewer could see how those activities could easily translate into beauty career activities.

10. Explain how did you deal with nerves when you first start working on real people?

At the beginning, you're always really nervous, although for me, it was more excitement than anything. I generally felt comfortable and confident because of the education I had. I felt that I could do it, and always knew that I could ask senior employees for advice. That's important -- being able to get help when they need it. I was always comfortable asking questions and finding the answers.

Download Interview PDF