Salon Hiring Basics: What Skills Do You Need to Be a Hair Stylist?

Salon Hiring Basics: What Skills Do You Need to Be a Hair Stylist?

what skills do you need to be a hair stylist

Hiring in any industry is competitive. In the salon industry, it can be even more competitive. It’s important to take the hiring process for a hair stylist seriously, as each candidate has their own style, technique, and work ethic in what is an already fast-paced environment. You don’t want to hire someone for a position that doesn’t align with the values of your team.

With that being said, weeding through a list of potential candidates for a hair stylist is easier said than done. Of course, degrees and certifications are necessary, but hiring for this role goes beyond eligibility. Making a list of skills that you need to be a hair stylist is the best way to ensure that you are finding a team of strong, connected, and like-minded employees. If you aren’t quite sure what qualities you should be looking for, we’re giving you a head start by sharing our top 8.

What Skills Do You Need to Be a Hair Stylist?



#1 Good Listener

From the consultations to the chair, a hair stylist must be a good listener. Being able to pause, not immediately insert an opinion, and listen to clients is crucial for understanding their wants/needs and forming long-lasting relationships. Clear communication is the key to having fewer problems.


#2 Observant/Intuitive

Being a good listener goes hand in hand with being observant and intuitive. The salon industry is incredibly visual, and having attention to detail is necessary for impressive work. Likewise, being intuitive is necessary for understanding exactly what your clients want or should be getting done. Maybe a client isn’t giving much information, or maybe you observe their face shape and believe they should consider a different style. In any case, focusing on the details and being able to read your clients is incredibly important.


#3 Honest

If you want your salon to create strong and lasting relationships with your clientele, honesty is another must. On one hand, it’s important for transparency purposes. Especially concerning money, it’s better to be transparent about things like add-on costs than wait until the end and have an unhappy customer. On the other hand, honesty is also important for building trust. Stylists know best when it comes to hair, and a client will always appreciate an honest thought or opinion. You don’t want a stylist that will mislead a client, and you don’t want a stylist that can’t be transparent.


#4 Adaptable

The salon industry is constantly evolving. A stylist who is at the forefront of the change should be both able and willing to adapt to it. Whether it’s a new style, trend, or technique, the stylist that you hire should be researching, learning, and adapting.


#5 Positive

This quality speaks for itself. There will always be a problem or crisis in a fast-paced working environment, but remaining positive is the way to navigate it. Being a positive employee is also essential in forming a close-knit team, as it encourages those around you at all times.


#6 Creative

As previously mentioned, the salon industry is very visual. Styling in and of itself is an art form. Because it is such a visual industry, creativity is what can set someone apart from the rest. We’ve already established that your stylist will obviously have a degree or certification, but how they can make it their own and showcase their skill set can let you know whether they’re truly unique.


#7 Stamina/Energy

While being a hair stylist is visual, it is also incredibly physical. A stylist will be standing on their feet, using their fingers, and working nonstop all day long. Sometimes this happens without a break in between. To be able to do this successfully, the stylist you hire will need to have great stamina and great energy.


#8 Timely

Appointment booking in a salon is tricky. If business is going well, chances are your stylist will have a full schedule. Because of this, it’s critical to hire a stylist that has good time management skills. Being timely as a stylist means knowing how much time to dedicate to a service/appointment, being on top of your appointment times (especially if they’re back-to-back), and being able to complete typical tasks in an overall timely manner.

Key Takeaways for Your Salon


  1. Hiring in the salon industry is competitive. It’s easier to navigate the hiring process if you have a set of qualities outside of a degree/certificate that you know you are looking for in a hair stylist.
  2. When hiring a stylist for your salon, a good candidate will be a good listener, observant/intuitive, honest, adaptable, positive, creative, timely, and have stamina/energy.
  3. Understand what your company values are so that it is easier to build a healthy, close-knit, and supportive salon team.