How to Hire a Nail Technician in 6 Steps
This article is part of a larger series on Hiring.
Your small business must hire skilled nail technicians who can service your customers and clients professionally. In addition to having the necessary expertise, quality nail technicians must be able to communicate effectively with customers so they return. By determining the type of nail technician you need, writing the job description, posting the job, reviewing applicants, interviewing, and checking references, you can make sure you hire the right nail technician.
Step 1: Determine the Type of Nail Technician You Need
Hiring doesn’t have to be complex, so long as you have a guide on how to hire. Begin with understanding the type of nail technician you want to hire (full time, part time, seasonal, or temporary). Depending on your business, your hiring needs may vary over time.
Next, you need to figure out the skills you want in your new hire. If you’re looking for someone with extensive experience, you may want to title the job as a senior-level position to help reduce the number of junior-level applicants. Regardless, you’ll want to indicate the requirement of a state manicurist license and at least the following skills, abilities, and knowledge:
- Proper nail care and treatments, such as manicures and pedicures
- Nail polish and artificial nails application and removal
- Nail safety protocols, including instrument and equipment sanitation
- Hand and foot massages
- Excellent communication
Step 2: Write the Job Description
When writing your job description, be sure to include the skills mentioned above, along with any others you require based on the level of experience you’re looking for in a new hire. Include keywords that may help candidates locate your job posting when they’re searching. Try using keywords like:
- Nail technician
- Nail enhancement
- Nail safety
- Nail extensions
- Nail artist
- Natural nail
- Acrylic nail
- Gel polish
- Nail polish
Make sure you include at least a few sentences selling your company. Answer questions applicants may have in advance, such as:
- What benefits do you offer?
- Why do people like working at your company?
- What makes your company unique?
Also, consider the differences across similar roles: nail technician, manicurist, and nail artist.
Enhances natural nails
Adds color, glitter, hand drawings, and shaping to a natural nail
Extends the natural nail with gel or acrylics
Shapes and buffs the natural nail
May use decals or stamps to enhance artistic work
Ensures nail strength
Finishes with a regular nail polish or gel polish
Is more focused on art than the strength or enhancement of the nail
These similar but different duties can be rolled into one employee, and some nail technicians are able to handle all of the work. But the more experience and skill you’re looking for, the more you will need to pay a nail technician. The average salary for a nail technician is just under $30,000 per year. For someone fresh out of school, you could budget for less than that, and for a senior-level person, you’ll need to budget more.
Compliance Tip: If your business is hiring a nail technician in certain states, you may need to put your target salary range in your public job posting. Check your state laws to see if you need to comply. Verify whether asking about a candidate’s past salary is allowed in your state as well.
Step 3: Post Job Ad & Review Applicants
Once you’re happy with the job description, it’s time to post your job ad so job seekers can apply. When you use many of the leading job boards, you can expect to receive applicants the same day you post your job. Your chances of receiving a flood of applications will be greater the more junior your position.
When you receive a lot of applications in a short period, reviewing them can seem overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to know your must-haves, i.e., having a state manicurist license. While it’s possible that no candidate will match everything in your job description, putting together a list of half a dozen or so must-haves will help you narrow down the applicant pool. Ideally, reduce your list of qualified applicants to fewer than a dozen.
Step 4: Conduct Interviews
After you have narrowed your list of qualified candidates, call them. You’re not conducting a full interview here, but simply calling them to schedule an interview. Calling them lets you hear their enthusiasm about the position and assess their communication skills, both of which are vital for a nail technician.
We recommend having a list of interview questions to ask each candidate. This ensures that you’re reviewing applicants based on the same criteria. Be sure to pay attention to their personality and passion—these traits are vital to a happy and loyal customer base. Low energy, poor communication, and a novice understanding of nail techniques should be serious red flags.
Here are some sample interview questions to ask your nail technician candidates:
- Are your licenses up to date?
- What do you look for when recommending nail treatments or enhancements for customers?
- How do you ensure the safety of your customers before, during, and after a treatment?
- Can you describe a situation when a customer was unhappy with your work? What happened and how did you handle it?
- How do you stay on top of industry trends and safety requirements?
- What is your favorite nail service to provide?
During the interviews, you’ll naturally narrow your list of potential hires down. Some candidates won’t have the energy you’re looking for, whereas others won’t have the skill level—and that’s perfectly acceptable because it helps you make the right hire.
As you eliminate candidates from the process, be sure to let them know. It’s professional and helps them move on. For the most qualified applicants, a list you should keep to fewer than a handful, move them on to another round of interviews or, if you have a top candidate, the next steps in the hiring process.
Step 5: Call References & Run a Background Check
Too many companies forego reference checks. We recommend them for any position because it gives you a holistic picture of the person you may hire. Ask for at least three supervisory references and make sure you speak with at least two. Talking to a candidate’s former supervisor will give you wonderful insight into the person’s work ethic, abilities, and any red flags. Their former manager can also give you some tips on supervising this employee.
Running a background check might seem like overkill for a nail technician—and it’s entirely up to you whether you run one. If you do, you may uncover a criminal history of theft, something that might disqualify a person from a job with your company. There is a possibility that you might discover something unrelated to the job, such as a DUI, and still hire them. By running a background check, however, you’d be aware of any potential problems over the horizon.
If you do decide to run a background check, make sure you get authorization from the candidate before running it. The company you use to run background checks will be able to give you an authorization form that you can have the candidate sign.
Compliance Tip: Check your state laws. Some states require that companies run background checks after a job offer has been accepted.
Step 6: Make an Offer
When you have a top candidate and their references have checked out, it’s time to make them an offer. We recommend calling the candidate first as this allows you to gauge the excitement level and iron out any final details, such as salary and start date.
Once the candidate has informally accepted the offer, write up the formal offer letter. Include the
- Job title
- Start date
We also recommend including the full job description. Having the candidate sign off on their ability to do the job as described will help you hold them accountable if they fail to live up to your expectations.
To speed up the signing process, you can use online signature software. Upload the letter and send it to the candidate to sign and return to you. Give the candidate at least a few days to review the letter, sign it, and get it back to you. Once you have the signed offer letter back, you can begin your onboarding process.
Hiring a nail technician is fun and exciting—it shows that your business is successful and growing. By following a structured process, you can ensure you make the right hire and have a nail technician who has the skills you need to keep your customers happy and loyal.