Problems finding good staff? Then stop being so ‘nice’ about it!

We live in timid times. Much of what passes for small business advertising these days – particularly in the hair & beauty industry, since that’s what this site is about – is so dull, so wimpy, so neutered by fear of upsetting the Political Correctness Police, it barely makes a ripple, let alone gets any attention. Which is kinda strange, when you analyze it, since the only legitimate point of advertising and marketing of any kind is to a) Get Attention and b) Prompt Action.

That applies to any organization, entity or individual, whether private, government or non-profit. But particularly relevant for small businesses like salons & spas, which do not have the luxury of spending money on salon advertising & marketing that does anything BUT get instant response. And that applies to the challenge of finding good staff as much as it applies to finding customers. With that in mind, gaze in wonder, amazement, delight and awe at the sheer Brass Balls and refreshing lack of political correctness in this job ad, placed in a newspaper by a weed spraying company, and sent to me by former Worldwide Salon Marketing senior copywriter Jemma Lole.

It comes from the far south of New Zealand near Invercargill, where (thankfully) the incense-burning, tree-hugging, crystal-swinging New Age PC brigade has yet to smother with its wet blanket anything that could possibly be regarded as fun.

The owner of this outfit clearly understands that good advertising is often as much about being crystal clear on who you do NOT want to respond, as it is about determining precisely who you DO want.

Next time you’re tempted to moan and whine about the difficulty of find good staff for your salon or spa, you would be well-served by using this ad as a template. Few business owners these days have the guts to provide prospective job applicants with a much-needed dose of brutal reality. But this guy delivers it in spades.  Detailing a job description involving lots of outdoor work in all weather,  he declares:

“This job is not for wimpy faint-hearted, soft, ‘run to mummy’ halfwits with pants halfway down their bottoms!  We only want staff that will do as they are told by their supervisors, follow company rules and can put up with being wet, hot, cold, exhausted, hungry and thirsty.”

I have no idea if this business owner has ever seen the famous ad from a century ago by Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton (seen here also) but I wouldn’t bet against it.

“You will also need to be able to sit in a van for three hours and not complain (we don’t listen and we don’t care)….and climb in and out of small helicopters without terrifying the pilot.

“If this sounds like you, then you’re probably completely mad and we would love to have you.”

And, in the unlikely event that any tech-dependent, fully-wired, hoody-wearing Gen Y-er is actually reading the ad (in an actual, real, printed newspaper!) he warns: “Phone the above number. NO TEXTS.” So there.

So I call the owner, Marty. “I got over 30 applicants,” he tells me. “Every single one of them I would have hired on the spot if I’d had that many vacancies.”

Marty tells me the ad ‘went viral’ on the internet. “I’ve had over 400 emails from around the world telling me they loved the ad, well done.”

And yet in the hair & beauty industry, the typical job ad tip-toes around the real issues with warm ‘n fuzzy nothingness like

“Senior hairdresser required…We have a happy, professional hair and beauty salon that work together well as a team.  If you are truly passionate about hairdressing and love making your clients happy with exceptional customer service and have a great personality, we would love to hear from you.”

Yuk. Next time you’re tempted to advertise a job, try something like this instead:

“Senior stylist wanted for top city salon. The best rates in the business, anywhere. This is not for people who whine about being on their feet all day, check their watch every ten minutes, or think they’re doing their employer a favor just by turning up armed with a finely-tuned sense of entitlement, and spend their first 15 minutes moaning to their colleagues about their headache, their boyfriend or their boss. You’ll be here to do your job well, work fast, and sell retail. It’s a business, there to make a profit, it’s not a socialist holiday camp. Your phone will be turned off from the moment you arrive till the minute you leave at the end of the day, apart from breaks. If you get any. We’re busy, and we intend to keep it that way. Don’t apply if your mother does your washing, cooks all your meals and pays your phone bill. Email your CV, including references with their phone numbers. If we like what we see, you’ll get an immediate interview. Don’t even think about not turning up for that.

For the right person, immense fame, satisfaction and the best pay of any hair stylist in this city.”

That should sort the few grains of wheat from the truckloads of chaff.

FOOTNOTE: One of our Inner Circle members, Nancy How of NEST Skin, Body & Wellbeing in Taringa, QLD, ran  this ad (edited slightly to suit her beauty services) on a jobs website. She got applications from two mature, well-qualified, serious people. Not a single inquiry from flaky, hare-brained Gen Y-ers with the concentration span of a budgie.

If you’ve read right to the bottom of this post, you’re probably a salon owner who’s serious about the business, not just the zen, the joy, the warm-fuzzy pleasure of being in the hair and beauty industry. Want more of this kind of Brutal Reality? You’ll get a ton of it, as a Member of Worldwide Salon Marketing, along with the best tested and proven marketing & business tools (online & offline) anywhere in the world.

Click here to find out more about becoming a Member of Worldwide Salon Marketing

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About The Author

Greg Milner

Greg Milner, CEO & Founder, Worldwide Salon Marketing. Greg is a writer, marketing consultant, direct response advertising expert and former TV producer. Since founding WSM in 2004, he's coached and guided more than 4,000 salons & spas all over the world in all aspects of marketing, both online and offline. The tools and templates he and his team have developed are used by salons & spas on every continent. He is the author of the industry-standard direct response marketing manual, Simple Salon Marketing, and the e-book Rich Salon Owner.