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HIRING SPA STAFF: How to Become a Talent Magnet

September 5, 2023

Are you a drama queen magnet—or a talent magnet?

Do any of the following sound familiar to you right now?

  • You are having challenges hiring the right staff
  • You keep hiring drama queens
  • You constantly have to babysit and chase some of your staff
  • Staff members seldom meet your expectations

If you answered yes to any of the above, you are in the right place. By the end of this article you will learn seven steps for hiring talent and—importantly—why work ethic assessment should be part of your recruitment process.

A few commitments are essential before you continue reading. These mindset adjustments are important to get you to a place where you are a Talent Magnet.

  • Hire slow and steady… fire fast
  • Follow the checklist
  • Let go of desperation
  • Follow the checklist
  • Stop allowing yourself to believe there are no good staff out there
  • Follow the checklist

Yes, “follow the checklist” appears three times: The single reason we employ the wrong staff is we have not followed a process. Why? Because we are desperate. The commitments are simple, yet it is easy to find yourself going off course— and that’s where you need to stay focused.

Let’s dive right into the seven ideas that will change the hiring process for you.

How to Spot and Hire Top Talent

March 31, 2017

Have you ever come across a rock star employee in your work place? A rock star team member is one who strives for excellence, welcomes new ideas, brings fresh perspective to the table, plays well with the team but leads with accountability and, at the end of the day, gets things done because results matter. 

Humanize Finance & Ignite Your Staff’s Hidden Potential

October 3, 2023

In the fast-paced lives of spa leaders, financial planning and budgeting is often viewed as a yearly burden reserved for management, with the financial aspects of a spa’s operations seldom shared with the team. However, there lies a missed opportunity to leverage finance as a tool to build team unity, foster talent retention and infuse even more meaning into the already important jobs of spa staff. By humanizing finance and creatively communicating financial goals and forecasts, spa directors can unite their teams in a shared commitment to the spa’s mission, transforming employees into stakeholders with a deeper understanding of the “why” behind what could easily become mundane daily operations with no goals in place.

Humanizing finance is easier said than done—but with these three steps to pave the way, spa leaders can take practical action toward igniting a hidden spark of motivation in their teams.

Insights to recruit, engage and retain estheticians

September 5, 2023

KRISTINE HUFFMAN for Pulse: You became an esthetician later in life. How did you get there?

LISA HART: When I was in college, I had the opportunity to be a White House intern and was fortunate enough to serve both President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. Then, when “H.W.” became President, I coordinated their travel and accompanied them all around the world. I’ve been to almost all 50 states—just missing Alaska, which I hope to visit someday! Then, I had a family and when my children started high school, I thought, Okay, now I can get a job—but, I couldn’t find one. I felt as if I were subject to age discrimination in my early 50s. So when I was trying to figure out what to do next, my sister suggested I look into skincare, because it’s something there’s a need for and she felt I’d be really good at it. And funny enough, I found that my age benefits me in this career: Some women prefer some[1]one older to explain to them their aging skin issues be[1]cause they can more easily relate.

Insights to recruit, engage and retain fitness program leaders

September 5, 2023

KRISTINE HUFFMAN for Pulse: How did you find yourself in the resort world?

DAVID CHESWORTH: My interest in fitness started in my junior year of high school. I asked for a weight set for Christmas and I ended up getting hooked on working out. At that same time, my dad had a rotator cuff injury and after surgery went through physical therapy. I discovered a passion for working out, and I saw a real-world application to help people.

Then, with my degree in exercise science, we had to do two internships. First, I got to experience work in a strength and conditioning gym at Bowling Green. For my second internship I discovered Hilton Head Health and I fell in love with wellness tourism.

I’ve been here now for 10 years. I started out leading a variety of classes: fitness classes, personalized stretching, recovery sessions, personal training. I got a look at how the marketing department did things, guest services. I’m now in a place where I am bringing in specialists who are truly better than me at certain things to create the programs. But I can always go back and do the things I’ve done before as a fill-in.

Insights to recruit, engage and retain massage therapists

September 5, 2023

Staff recruitment and retention are perennial headaches for spa owners and directors. Spas have the typical hurdle of most service industries—work hours that fall outside of 9 to 5, Monday through Friday—as well as sometimes intense physical demands on practitioners. Anyone observing the industry for more than a few years knows an additional obstacle is tied to spa culture: the itinerant nature of spa specialists, who tend to move frequently not only locally between spas, but even across the country or around the world. Adding to the staffing challenge for employers are the unique requirements of the spa world’s many specialist positions. Each role has its own training and certifications and position responsibilities. And career trajectories vary widely, meaning it could be a big benefit to understand how staffers in different positions may evolve professionally. Recently, former ISPA Board member Kristine Huffman spoke with Karen Rutschmann, who shared wisdom about massage therapists gained from a lifetime in the field.

Insights to recruit, engage and retain spa industry professionals

September 5, 2023

KRISTINE HUFFMAN for Pulse: You started out in the industry as a nail technician. How did you decide to take that as a pathway?


KERRI MIGNEAULT: When I graduated from high school, I wasn’t 100 percent sure what I wanted to do for college. I had a friend who was in cosmetology school, and I was her model for her state boards. That introduced me to that world. I didn’t want to go to school for hair, finger waves and perms. So, I opted to go to school for nails.


Pulse: How did your career evolve from there?


KM: When I was in school, my instructor was adamant about having goals. He always said if you don’t have goals, you’re never going to move forward. I got the amazing opportunity to work at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa & Salon. There, I decided that I was going to take every opportunity that came my way. My answer was always Yes! Next, I was offered an opportunity to work in Miami at The Noble House as part of the opening team.

Insights to recruit, engage and retain spa industry professionals

September 5, 2023

Kristine Huffman for Pulse: The industry seems to be really struggling with therapist recruitment. Do you experience that too?


CG Funk: We have about a thousand massage programs in the United States today, so we have enough schools. What we don’t have is enough students. I think that’s mainly because we have not marketed and promoted it as a 21st-century career. When people think about massage as a job, folks still think about it as kind of a hippie thing. We’ve done an amazing job in the spa industry of promoting the benefits of our serv[1]ices to consumers. We have more consumers than ever before. And after Covid, it’s grown exponentially. But what we haven’t done is change the mindset what a massage career is. I also believe, as an industry, we are falling short on helping massage therapists create sustainable, long-term careers.


We haven’t approached this thing as a marketing and PR issue. The school I worked with had this ace marketing officer and he created an all-inclusive marketing campaign. We had ads running on radio, late[1]night television, print and social. We started the first online admissions department. The marketing was so strong that it pushed thousands of students to our campuses on an annual basis. I haven’t seen a strong campaign since then.

Interview Questions

March 28, 2017

Looking for new ways to learn more about job candidates during the interview process? ISPA members shared their favorite interview questions in a previous ISPA Snapshot Survey. You are sure to find some thought-provoking conversation starters for your next interview here.

Investigating New Hires

September 5, 2023

With 250 employees and a fair amount of turnover, Colin MacCrimmon has a lot of jobs to fill and several ways to gather enough information to judge the suitability of a job candidate. When hiring new employees, the human resources manager for Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, relies primarily on reference checks from previous employers and managers, as well as personal references.

Using a set of standard questions, MacCrimmon probes job candidates and their references for red flags. “It’s important not to be suggestive,” he said. “Follow a template and give people time to talk.” He has found vague answers to specific questions— like why they left a specific job—from either the job candidate or a reference can reveal potential issues in the candidate’s job history that warrant more probing questions.

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