34 interview questions for a hairdresser (with examples)

Updated 5 June 2023

Interviews for hairdressing roles generally consist of questions about your interests, personality and expertise. They assess your general manner and ability to serve customers in addition to your hairdressing qualifications and certifications. Understanding the types of questions that hiring managers are likely to ask can help you prepare your responses and practise them before the interview. In this article, we list 34 general, background and in-depth interview questions for a hairdresser and provide some sample answers for your reference.

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General interview questions for a hairdresser role

General interview questions for a hairdresser help the hiring manager to assess your strengths, goals and personality. Here are some examples of general interview questions:

  1. What do you enjoy most about hairdressing?

  2. What's your favourite hairstyle that you've ever cut for a client?

  3. What responsibilities do you expect to perform as a hairdresser?

  4. How would your colleagues describe you in three words?

  5. How well do you get along with your clients?

  6. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  7. Have you always wanted to be a hairdresser?

  8. What type of hair do you most like to cut?

  9. What distinguishes you from other candidates?

  10. What would you like to achieve in the next five years as a hairdresser?

Related: Barber vs hairdresser: definitions and differences

Questions about your experience and background in hairdressing

Interviewers usually ask about your experience and background to get a better sense of what tasks you can handle, what training you might need and how well you can integrate into the workplace. Here are some examples of experience and background questions about hairdressing:

  1. How many years of experience do you have in hairdressing?

  2. Do you have experience in permanently colouring and bleaching hair?

  3. How comfortable are you with using a straight razor to shave clients?

  4. When did you first start hairdressing?

  5. Have you always worked in a commercial setting, or have you also worked as a hairdresser in other environments, such as a prison or school?

  6. Are you licensed to perform nail services?

  7. Describe the busiest shift you have ever worked as a hairdresser.

  8. Have you ever balanced a till or closed a store?

  9. What accredited qualifications, certifications and training do you have? Which of them has been most valuable to you?

  10. Do you have experience in selling cosmetics and treatments to customers?

Related: How to create a professional hairstyle for an interview

In-depth hairdressing interview questions

In-depth hairdressing interview questions explore complex issues, situations or challenges and assess how you'd overcome them. Here are some examples of in-depth interview questions for hairdressing roles:

  1. If a customer asked you to recommend a particular brand of hair products, which brand would you pick and why?

  2. Which hair type do you feel is the most difficult to work with and why?

  3. If you accidentally cut a customer during a treatment, what steps would you take?

  4. How do you manage clutter in your workspace?

  5. What do you think of our salon's branding, is there anything about it you would change?

  6. What would you do if a regular customer asked someone else in the salon to cut their hair?

  7. What is your step-by-step procedure for restoring damaged hair, and what aftercare and long-term treatments would you recommend?

  8. What sort of pricing structure do you think is best for hairdressing?

  9. Are there any treatments that you'd be uncomfortable performing?

  10. How do you balance your desire to be creative as a hairdresser with clients' expectations?

Related: Duties and skills of hair stylist assistants for CVs

Hairdressing interview questions with sample answers

Drafting and rehearsing responses to common questions before your interview can help you feel more confident and prepared. Here are some example answers to hairdressing interview questions:

Related: How to write a hairdresser cover letter (with example)

1. If a customer told you they were unhappy with their haircut, how would you respond?

Haircuts alter a client's appearance, so as a hairdresser, you want to try to meet your customers' needs and expectations. Customer dissatisfaction can affect retention and impact the business's reputation. This question tests your conflict resolution skills and ability to build and maintain trust with your clients. Demonstrate how you would be reasonable and consider the customer's feelings while maintaining the integrity and professionalism of the business.

Example: 'If a client wasn't happy with their haircut, I'd ask what they didn't like about it and how I could better meet their expectations next time. If there was a way of adjusting the haircut to better fit their needs, I'd make any necessary alterations. If there was no way to alter the cut, I'd apologise, offer them a discount and ask them to come back once their hair has grown enough for me to redo the cut.'

Related: What are conflict resolution skills? (Definition and examples)

2. How would you try to sell our hairdressing services to a prospective client who is unsure whether to commit?

Choosing a new hairdresser can be a big decision for clients because it entails building trust and having faith that the hairdresser can meet their expectations. Hiring managers may be interested in how you'd showcase your experience and knowledge to new clients and convince them to become repeat customers. Consider mentioning a time when you successfully convinced a client to come back after receiving their first haircut from you.

Example: 'Whenever a client is unsure about whether they want me to cut their hair, I try to communicate with them as transparently as I can about my services, experience and what I can offer. I ask them how they normally have their hair done and what they're used to so I can either meet those expectations or offer them something different that gives them a better experience. If they're interested in my services, I may recommend a hairstyle to them or suggest products to help them maintain their current style.'

Related: 5 sales pitch examples (with definitions and techniques)

3. What work do you tend to do during downtime between customers?

During peak times and busy periods, you may have a constant stream of customers entering the salon without breaks, at which times you can be on your feet for long periods. In slower periods, you may have long stretches of time where you aren't cutting hair and can perform routine tasks like keeping the salon clean, maintaining stock levels and sanitising equipment. An employer might ask this question to assess whether you use your downtime productively to support the business. Answer by demonstrating your initiative and describing the tasks you complete when you're not busy with clients.

Example: 'During downtime in the salon, I try to complete any routine tasks that I wouldn't ordinarily have time for between clients. This includes deep cleaning and disinfecting my workstation and surrounding surfaces, razors, clippers, combs and other tools. I go through my products to throw out any empty bottles and replace them with full ones. I also check the appointment list, sweep floors and prepare the salon for customers however I can. If there are no other duties to perform, I oversee the front desk and phones to answer customer enquiries.'

Related: A guide to 14 simple ways to be more productive at work

4. How would you go about learning a new hairstyle?

Changing trends and fashions can require hairdressers to learn new hairstyles to keep up with demand. Learning these hairstyles can sometimes require extensive research or attempts to cut them by eye, which can be challenging if the hairstyle involves extensive layering. Explain how you'd learn and practise a new hairstyle and discuss what tools you use to help with this. If you have taught yourself a particularly difficult or fashionable cut, explain how you went about it to give a real-world example.

Example: 'I love learning new hairstyles in my free time using models, wigs and my own hair because it allows me to be expressive while building my skills. I have learnt many new haircuts by using online tutorials and videos, observing others and experimenting with hair until I get the layers and techniques right. I've found these methods especially useful in the past for learning new curling techniques. Since learning a style involves trial and error, I would never try a complex new haircut on a client without practice unless I was confident that I could fully meet their expectations.'

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