Your small salon or service business must hire skilled nail technicians who can assist your customers and clients professionally. In addition to having the necessary expertise, they must be able to communicate effectively with customers so they return.
The process for how to hire a nail technician involves a few simple steps: determining the type of nail tech you need, writing the job description, posting the job, reviewing and interviewing job applicants, and checking references. Establishing this hiring process will mean the difference between having qualified and experienced staff at your business or employing workers who could potentially drive customers away.
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Step 1: Determine the Type of Nail Technician You Need
When learning how to hire nail technicians, begin with understanding the type of nail tech you want to hire (full time, part time, seasonal, or temporary). Depending on your business, your hiring needs may vary over time.
You can learn more about the different types of employees by reading our ultimate guide.
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 and customer service skills
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, such as:
- Nail technician
- Nail enhancement
- Nail safety
- Nail extensions
- Nail artist
- Natural nail
- Acrylic nail
- Gel polish
- Nail polish
Make sure you also include at least a few sentences selling your company to entice candidates to apply. Highlight the types of benefits that you offer employees, as well as what your company culture is like. To guide you, try answering 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?
And finally, consider the differences across similar roles—nail technician, manicurist, and nail artist—and be specific in your job descriptions.
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 around $32,000 per year, depending on if they are licensed. For someone fresh out of school, you could budget lower, but for a senior-level person, you may need to budget more.
Compliance Tip: If your business is hiring nail techs 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 and verify whether asking about a candidate’s past salary is allowed in your state. Besides that, check for any federal hiring laws that you’ll need to comply with as well.
Step 3: Post Job Ad & Review Applicants
Once you’re happy with the job description, it’s time to advertise your job post so that job seekers can apply. With sites like Indeed or ZipRecruiter, 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.
For an easier time reviewing applicants, 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 around half a dozen must-haves will help you narrow down the applicant pool. Ideally, reduce your list of qualified applicants to fewer than a dozen. Learn more about how to filter your candidate pool in our in-depth guide to applicant screening.
Once you have applicants and have narrowed them down to those that match your qualifications on the first review, you’ll need to do a deeper review of their education and experience. Look for similar phrases, such as nail designer or manicure artists, when you review for experience. You may miss a highly qualified candidate if you are only looking for a nail technician job title.
Step 4: Conduct Interviews
Once you review and narrow down your selection to 2–3 qualified candidates, contact them to schedule an interview. When conducting a full interview, we recommend something face-to-face, such as an in-person or video conferencing interview. This will allow you to see and hear their enthusiasm about the position and assess their communication skills, both of which are vital for a nail technician.
We also recommend having a list of interview questions to ask each candidate. This ensures that you’re reviewing applicants based on the same criteria. Aside from general questions about the candidate, you should also ask questions that are specific to the job they will be performing, such as:
- Which licenses do you have, and are they 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?
As you eliminate candidates from the process, be sure to let them know; it’s professional and helps them move on. You can use one of our job rejection templates for a concise and constructive way to approach this step. For the most qualified applicants, 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. For some ideas on what to ask, check out our recommended reference check questions.
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 only 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 decision and hire a nail technician who has the skills you need to keep your customers happy and loyal.