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15 Most Common Hairstylist Interview Questions and Answers

By Pete Martin

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Many people see a hairstylist as their dream job. You spend all day being social and helping people look their best. What’s not to like about that? 

Of course, there is slightly more to it than just that! Customer service, technical skills, and industry knowledge are all essential aspects of being a successful hairstylist. To help you prepare, we’ve compiled the 15 most common hairstylist questions and answers that cover these areas. Our tips and sample answers will serve as a foundation for you to form your personalized responses, tailored to highlight your own experience and skills.


Qualities and Skills Hiring Managers Look for in a Hairstylist

When preparing for a hairstylist interview, it’s essential to understand the key qualities and skills employers are looking for. Here, we cover six attributes hiring managers look for when evaluating potential candidates.

  • Customer Service and Communication Skills

As a hairstylist, you’ll be interacting with clients regularly, making customer service skills crucial to your success. Strong communication skills will enable you to understand client desires, suggest appropriate hairstyles, and ensure client satisfaction. Listening to a client’s concerns and preferences will not only help deliver the desired results but also build your reputation as a professional hairstylist.

  • Technical Skills and Experience

Having a solid background in various hair styling techniques is a significant advantage when applying for hairstylist positions. Some of these techniques include cutting, coloring, and conditioning hair. Showcasing your experience with different hair types and your ability to execute the latest hairstyle trends demonstrates your expertise as a hair professional.

  • Creativity and Artistic Vision

A successful hairstylist combines technical skills with artistic vision in producing on-trend hairstyles or creating personalized looks for clients. Your creative abilities will set you apart from other candidates, as they demonstrate your capacity to suggest and execute unique hairstyles that cater to individual clients’ preferences and lifestyles.

  • Teamwork and Collaboration

In a salon setting, it’s important to have a team-oriented attitude. You’ll be working with other hairstylists, salon managers, and support staff, so being able to collaborate, share ideas, and maintain a positive work environment is essential. During an interview, focus on examples that highlight your ability to work as part of a team and contribute to a successful salon.

  • Cleanliness and Organization

Maintaining a clean and organized work station is crucial for hairstylists. This shows your dedication to providing a safe and comfortable environment for your clients, as well as your ability to manage your tools professionally. Talk about your experience in keeping your salon work area hygienic and ensuring all equipment is in top condition, ready for use.

  • Adaptability and Commitment to Professional Growth

The hairstyling industry is constantly evolving, with new trends and techniques emerging regularly. Hiring managers appreciate candidates who show a willingness to learn and adapt to these changes. Stay informed about the latest trends, participate in industry-related training courses, and discuss your eagerness to grow within the profession in your interview.

By showcasing these six qualities and skills, you’ll increase your chances of impressing the hiring manager and securing a position as a hairstylist. Remember to provide relevant examples that highlight your expertise and emphasize your commitment to delivering high-quality service and results.


General Interview Questions

In this section, we’ll discuss some of the most common general interview questions often asked during a hairstylist interview. By thoroughly preparing for these, you can leave a strong impression on the interviewer. We’ll provide some tips in the form of do’s and don’ts and a sample answer for each question.

1. Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background?

Tell me about yourself” sets the tone of the interview and allows the interviewer to understand more about your experience, education, and interests. It offers a chance to assess your communication skills, including your ability to articulate thoughts, structure responses, and engage in a professional conversation.

Do

  • Tailor your response towards your accomplishments and alignment with hairdressing.

Don’t

  •  Go too far back into your personal life or provide a lengthy life story.

Sample Answer:

“As a passionate and creative individual, I have always been drawn towards hairstyling. I completed my cosmetology program at XYZ Beauty School, where I was introduced to different hair cutting and coloring techniques. Since then, I’ve worked at various salons, focusing on enhancing my skills in balayage and color correction. My work as a hairstylist serves as a creative outlet, and I enjoy transforming clients’ looks and boosting their confidence.”

2. Why did you choose a career in hairdressing?

This question allows the interviewer to understand your motivation and passion for the profession. A candidate who chose this career out of genuine interest is likely to be more dedicated and motivated to perform well.

Do

  •  Be genuine and express your enthusiasm for hairdressing.

Don’t

  •  Mention factors such as salary or job stability.

Sample Answer:

“I fell in love with hairdressing because of the potential for creative expression and the ability to make a positive impact on clients’ lives. I enjoy staying updated on the latest trends, learning new techniques, and tailoring my services to provide a unique experience that enhances each client’s personal style.”

3. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a professional?

Answering this question will give the interviewer insights into your self-awareness and professionalism. It also provides insight into how well a candidate’s strenghts align with the job requirements. By asking about weaknesses, hiring managers can get an idea of a candidate’s potential for growth. If a candidate is aware of their weaknesses and actively working to improve, it suggests they are adaptable and open to learning.

Do

  • Mention specific strengths related to the hairdressing industry, and pick a weakness that can also be seen as a growth opportunity.

Don’t

  • Be too generic in your answer or list an irrelevant weakness.

Sample Answer:

“One of my strengths as a hairstylist is my ability to communicate effectively with clients and understand their needs. I am also very detail-oriented, ensuring that the final result is flawless. As for my weakness, I sometimes find myself overbooking appointments, because I’m eager to help clients. I am working on improving my time management and scheduling skills to address this issue.”

4. How do you handle stress or difficult situations in the workplace?

This helps the interviewer to gauge your problem-solving abilities and how well you cope under pressure. How you handle stressful or challenging situations can reveal a lot about your problem-solving abilities. It shows if you can think on your feet, come up with innovative solutions, and turn challenges into opportunities.

Do

  • Share specific examples of how you successfully navigated challenging situations.

Don’t

  • Claim that you never experience stress or difficulty.

Sample Answer:

“When faced with a challenging situation, I find that maintaining open communication and staying calm are key. For instance, if a client is unhappy with their service, I listen to their concerns and work with them to find a suitable solution. I also take time to participate in activities outside of work that help me de-stress, such as yoga and meditation, which enables me to maintain a clear focus during work hours.”

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

The interviewer asks this question to understand your long-term goals and aspirations. If a candidate has clear ambition that fit well within the scope of the salon’s direction, they are likely to stay longer and contribute effectively to the company.

Do

  • Discuss professional growth that aligns with the hairdressing industry.

Don’t

  •  Mention unrelated goals or plans to transition out of the profession.

Sample Answer:

“In five years, I see myself as a senior stylist at a reputable salon, where I can constantly learn new techniques and share my knowledge with junior members of the team. I also hope to attend advanced courses and workshops to further specialize in specific techniques, such as hair extensions, as I believe continuing education is essential for staying at the forefront of the industry.”

Role-Specific Interview Questions

These questions serve as an opportunity to showcase your skills and prove that you are the ideal candidate for the job. In this section, we’ll go over ten common role-specific interview questions and provide guidance on how to answer each one effectively.

6. What do you know about our salon?

When asking “what do you know about our company?“, the interviewer is looking for someone who can contribute to the overall success and reputation of the salon. Knowing whether you have done your research and understand their values and clientele helps them do this.

Do’s

  • Research the salon, their services, target market, and values
  • Mention specific details about the salon
  • Show enthusiasm for the salon’s reputation and services

Don’ts

  • Share wrong or outdated information
  • Give vague responses

Sample Answer:

“I’ve learned that your salon is recognized for its cutting-edge hair design techniques and commitment to excellent customer service. For example, you offer specialized services such as balayage and keratin treatments, which cater to a diverse clientele. Your salon has also received high praise from industry experts and has been featured in several top beauty magazines. I’m excited about the prospect of joining your team and contributing to the salon’s continued success.”

7. How do you stay current with the latest hair trends, styles, and products?

The interviewer wants to know that you stay updated with the latest trends, techniques, and products within the hairdressing industry. Demonstrating your commitment to professional development is essential to thriving in this fast-paced industry.

Do’s

  • Mention specific resources you use to stay up-to-date
  • Share any classes, workshops, or certifications you’ve attended
  • Discuss how you apply this knowledge in your work as a hairstylist

Don’ts

  • Make up resources or practices that you don’t actually use
  • Claim you know everything about current trends without offering proof

Sample Answer:

“I regularly follow top hairstylists on social media, attend industry conferences, and subscribe to leading beauty magazines to stay informed about the newest trends and techniques. Additionally, I take continuing education courses and workshops focusing on advanced techniques, new products, and emerging styles. By staying current with industry advancements, I can consistently offer my clients innovative and relevant services that keep them coming back.”

8. What steps do you take to ensure client satisfaction during and after their appointment?

Client satisfaction is crucial for any salon’s success, so the interviewer is looking for someone who can provide exceptional customer service and enhance the overall client experience.

Do’s

  • Detail the steps you take to understand the client’s needs and expectations
  • Explain how you ensure their comfort during the appointment
  • Describe your approach to handling any issues that arise and your follow-up protocol

Don’ts

  • Focus solely on your technical skills or personal preferences
  • Disregard the importance of communication and relationship-building

Sample Answer:

“To ensure client satisfaction, I start by conducting a thorough consultation to understand their needs, preferences, and hair type. I am attentive and patient while listening to their desires, and I make sure they feel comfortable by explaining the steps, procedures, and products I’ll be using. Should any issues arise during or after the appointment, I take prompt action to address their concerns and make any necessary adjustments. Lastly, I follow up with clients to ensure they’re still happy with the results and to remind them of any upcoming appointments or necessary hair care.”

9. How do you handle a situation where a client is unhappy with their haircut or color?

Addressing unhappy clients is an inevitable part of the job, and the interviewer wants to know that you can handle such challenging situations with grace and professionalism.

Do’s

  • Show empathy and understanding towards the client’s concerns
  • Describe your problem-solving abilities and conflict resolution tactics
  • Provide examples of how you’ve handled similar situations in the past

Don’ts

  • Dismiss or minimize the client’s dissatisfaction
  • Focus only on your side of the story

Sample Answer:

“If a client is unhappy with their haircut or color, I would first empathize with their concerns and apologize for any disappointments. Then, I would calmly ask specific questions to understand exactly what they’re unhappy about and work with them to find a solution that satisfies their needs. In certain situations, this might involve offering a correction, refund, or complimentary future service. I always aim to learn from these experiences to prevent similar occurrences in the future.”

10. What creative hairstyling techniques do you use that distinguish you from other professionals?

Showcasing your unique skills and artistic abilities can make you stand out among other candidates. The interviewer is looking for techniques that will contribute to the salon’s overall offerings and clientele satisfaction.

Do’s

  • Highlight your unique skills or signature techniques
  • Explain how these techniques benefit your clients
  • Share examples of how you’ve successfully implemented these techniques

Don’ts

  • Be too modest or downplay your talents
  • Focus only on common or basic skills

Sample Answer:

“I have developed a unique cutting technique that incorporates varying layers and angles to complement different face shapes and hair textures. This personalized approach results in hairstyles that beautifully frame the client’s face and enhance their natural features. Additionally, I’m experienced with hair coloring techniques like balayage and babylights, allowing me to create multi-dimensional looks that elevate my clients’ overall style. These creative techniques, paired with my commitment to client satisfaction, truly distinguish me as a hairstylist.”

11. Recall a time when you disagreed with a coworker. How did you resolve the conflict?

The importance of this question lies in assessing your ability to handle conflicts in the workplace and how well you can work with others. Effective communication and conflict resolution are crucial skills for a hairstylist as they contribute to a positive work environment.

Do’s

  • Be honest about the situation
  • Focus on the resolution, not the conflict
  • Highlight your ability to work with others

Don’ts

  • Blame or criticize others
  • Make the conflict seem insignificant or avoid providing details
  • Portray yourself as a victim

Sample Answer:

When I was working in a salon, my coworker and I disagreed on which hair care treatments would be best suited for a client with damaged hair. While they recommended deep conditioning, I thought a hair straightening treatment would be more effective. To find a solution, we respectfully discussed our perspectives and decided to consult the client and provide options. In the end, the client chose the deep conditioning treatment, and my coworker and I learned more about different approaches to hair care.”

12. How do you maintain a clean, organized, and safe work environment in the salon?

This evaluates your ability to maintain a hygienic and organized workspace, ensuring client satisfaction and a safe salon environment.

Do’s

  • Emphasize the importance of cleanliness and organization
  • Detail your approach to maintaining a clean workspace
  • Explain how you follow safety guidelines and protocols

Don’ts

  • Downplay the importance of a clean work environment
  • Be vague in describing your approach

Sample Answer:

To maintain a clean, organized, and safe work environment, I ensure that I always follow the salon’s guidelines and protocols for hygiene and safety. I clean and sanitize my tools and workstation after every client, diligently store products and equipment, and dispose of waste appropriately. Additionally, I take time to sanitize surfaces, such as shampooing chairs and manicure tables. I believe that maintaining a clean and organized salon helps in providing a relaxing and comfortable experience for the clients.”

13. Can you provide examples of your work in styling for special events, such as weddings or proms?

This question allows you to showcase your creativity, artistry, and experience in providing specialized hair styling services for special events.

Do’s

  • Share specific examples that showcase your skills and versatility
  • Discuss your ability to work with clients to achieve their desired look
  • Mention your portfolio, if available

Don’ts

  • Share only one example
  • Provide examples that are irrelevant to the question

Sample Answer:

I have had the opportunity to work on various special events, including weddings, proms, and theater productions. For a recent wedding, I styled the bride’s hair into an intricate updo with soft curls framing her face, accentuated with flowers that matched her bouquet. For a prom, I styled a client’s hair in elegant waves, complementing her vintage-inspired gown. You can find more examples of my work in my portfolio, which showcases my ability to create various styles for a wide range of events.”

14. How do you approach upselling salon products and services to clients?

This is a part of the job many applicants don’t actually consider. This evaluates your knowledge of the practicality of the job as well as your sales skills.

Do’s:

  • Highlight your knowledge of products and services
  • Demonstrate your ability to actively listen and identify client needs
  • Explain your approach to suggestive selling without being pushy

Don’ts

  • Claim that you don’t or wouldn’t upsell
  • Disregard the importance of upselling for the salon’s success

Sample Answer:

When approaching upselling salon products and services, I listen actively to the client’s needs and recommend solutions that are tailored to them. For example, if a client has dry and damaged hair, I may suggest a deep conditioning treatment or a specific hair mask they can use at home. I highlight the benefits of the product or service and provide a personal touch by sharing my own experiences or professional expertise. I believe it’s essential to maintain a balance between offering solutions and respecting the client’s preferences.”

15. How would you handle a client who is unsure of the style or cut they want?

This question assesses your ability to communicate effectively, understand client needs, and showcase your expertise in finding appropriate solutions.

Do’s

  • Discuss your approach to understanding the client’s preferences
  • Mention your ability to provide a consultation, offer suggestions, and adapt to their feedback
  • Show empathy and active listening skills

Don’ts

  • Assume you know better than the client
  • Disregard their concerns

Sample Answer:

When a client is unsure of the style or cut they want, I take the opportunity to embark on a thorough consultation. I ask questions to understand their preferences, daily routine, hair type, and any concerns they might have. I use my professional expertise to recommend cuts and styles that would suit their face shape, personal style, and hair type. Throughout the process, I remain open to their feedback and adapt my suggestions accordingly, ensuring they feel heard and confident with the final decision.”

Takeaways and Next Steps

A career in the hairdressing industry can be quite rewarding if you take the necessary steps. 

Begin by obtaining your high school diploma, as it’s often a basic requirement for most employers in the field. Additionally, pursuing hairstylist-specific training or education will further enhance your qualifications. Look for institutions providing courses in hairdressing to gain the necessary skills.

A strong recommendation from a past employer or instructor can greatly improve your chances of being considered for the position. Be sure to request these references in advance, and present them to your prospective employer during the interview.

Finally, don’t forget to practice your interview skills by answering questions out loud and role-playing with a friend or family member. This instills confidence and ensures you’re fully prepared to impress during your hairstylist interview.

Keep these tips in mind as you embark on your journey in the hairdressing industry, and best of luck in your future interviews.


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