How to Interview for a Gig in the Barber Industry
What You Should & What You Shouldn’t
Whether you’re fresh out of barbering school or you’re looking to make a strategic-shop-switch to boost your barber career, here’s a little bit of always-true advice—interviewing can be tricky.
Maybe you’re a fantastic interviewer—you don’t get nervous in front of authority figures, you’re great at talking about yourself, and you’re ready to showcase your skills at the drop of a hat. But maybe, just maybe, you’re not 100 percent confident in your interviewing skills yet.
Interviewing a job might be inherently filled with pressure, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for you to combat those pressures and set yourself up for interview success.
We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks for interviewing specifically within the barbering industry—because, as you probably already know, it’s a pretty unique field and requires unique skills.Check out some of these advice snippets before your next barbering interview—let us know if they help you nab the shop-job of your dreams!
Go in ConfidentlyWe all know the saying about walking the walk and talking the talk, and honestly, in most aspects of your life, it’s going to apply—this is especially true in the barbering world. Confidence—earned confidence, rather—is key. If you’re good and you know it, don’t be afraid to be confident and humble—don’t sell yourself short. Remember, if you don’t think you’re good, no one else will, so be confident and be willing to show off that confidence. (Pro tip: Know the fine line between confidence and arrogance, because it’s likely your interviewer is going to be on the lookout for confident barbers who are willing to learn—being too arrogant or acting like you know everything is never a good sign).
Don’t Be SO Confident You Don’t Prepare
But, it’s important to recognize that being confident isn’t a substitute for preparation. Sure, you can walk the walk and talk the talk all you want, but if you’re not ready for a specific interview, your interviewer is definitely going to know it. Prepare, research, and make sure you’re putting in plenty of effort ahead of time so you can get a feel for the barbershop, the owner, the interviewer, and their vibe. Ask yourself questions about the shop ahead of time—are you a good fit? Does this shop’s work culture make sense for you? Will this job help you further your goals? Do the necessary research before you go into the interview so you’re prepared to answer their questions as well as throw a few educated questions back to them, too.
Be Prepared to Show Off Your Skills
It’s not uncommon for interviewers to ask barbers to show them what they can do—so, don’t be surprised if in the middle of the interview, you’re handed a pair of shears, clippers, or a straight razor and asked to give ‘em a little razzle-dazzle. We can’t guarantee this will happen every time, but we do recommend you make sure you’re prepared for it, just in case. So, our best advice is not to go into your interview rusty—the last thing you want is to be caught off guard and totally unprepared to showcase your skills.
Don’t Pretend to Know How to Do Something If You Don’t Know How Yet
Even if someone does hand you shears or clippers, make sure you’re being direct. If you’re fresh out of school and you genuinely don’t know how to do what they’re asking, tell them that. Sure, it might dampen your chances if they’re looking for somebody more experienced than you, but it also could be a great tell of your character. Don’t try to do something that you don’t know how to do—instead, show them that you’re willing and ready to learn from their expertise. Explain how working at their shop could be a great boon to your career and use this exact experience as an example.
Research Beforehand & Ask the Important Questions
It’s vital that you’re researching before you walk through the barbershop doors so that you don’t appear unprepared. No, you don’t need to know every last detail of the shop’s history, but if you come in without any knowledge of where you’re interviewing, it’s likely you’re going to appear lazy and uninterested. Further, during your interview, make sure you ask questions. Remember, this interview is as much for you as it is for your potential employer. Sure, they’re seeing if you’d make a great fit for the shop, but you’re also seeing if they’d make a great fit for you, too. Discuss work culture, benefits, hours, continued learning—if it’s important to you, ask about it. Your interviewer will likely appreciate that you’re invested in learning all you can about the position.
Don’t Enter the Building without a Resume
This is a common mistake made by plenty of people within the barbering industry, and, we can sort of understand why. We work in an industry that’s very show not tell, so a resume on a piece of paper can sometimes seem obsolete. But, it’s still a vital piece of the interviewing puzzle. Your accomplishments, your education, your experience, they all come into play when it comes to getting a job, and having everything listed in one, convenient place that you can simply hand to your employer is a big deal. Take the time to create a stellar resume—even if you end up not needing it for your interview, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Be Yourself and Show Off Your Creativity
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to be yourself during your interview—because, that’s what’s going to determine if you and the shop are a good fit. A lot of people end up feeling so nervous during interviews they present this stiff, uncomfortable version of who they are. If it’s possible, take some deep breaths, do something to relax, and go into the interview with a can-do attitude. Show them who you are—who you really are—and get ready to wow them.
Don’t Panic if Things Start Off On the Wrong Foot
Sometimes, interviews get shaky starts—but that doesn’t mean you can’t recover. If you start off on the wrong foot, don’t panic. It’s likely that’ll just kick your anxiety into high gear, making it even more difficult to level out your interview. Take a few deep breaths, relax, and try to right the ship instead of panicking.
Interviewing—like barbering—is an art in itself. Sometimes, these things take practice. If you flunk a few interviews, don’t let it get you down—even the greats have tanked important interviews, so don’t sweat the small stuff. The important thing is that you learn from every single interview so that every single one is better than the next.
Was our NAOB advice helpful to you?
We hope so! If you’re looking for more tips and tricks of the barbering trade, the trends presently affecting the barbering industry, or small-business advice to help your barbering biz take off, then you’re in the right place.
Check out our regularly updated NAOB blog here for all of that and more.