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How to: Hire estheticians for your medical spa or clinic. Part 2

Read: How to hire estheticians for your medical spa or clinic, Part 1 here.

Interviewing & hiring estheticians, part 2

One of the common problems interviewers have is they spend the entire interviewing process talking about their own company. (I've fallen victim to this myself.) The interview is to decide if this person is a potentially right fit for your company and you personally. My own opinion is that it is always harmful to hire the wrong person, even temporarily. As an have had a spot that we have not filled for two and a half months because we have not been able to find the right person yet.

Besides conducting the interview in a professional manner -- for example, you can't ask how old the person is. You can't ask whether they're married or have children or planning on have children. What you're looking for is information that is going to help you discern how beneficial this person is going to be to the clinic.

Here's a list of questions that I always want to know:

1. What is your background with the day spa industry?
My own preference is that I would like to hire estheticians that have little or no experience in day spas.

2. How much money do you need?
I ask this question because it's a lot more open-ended than what are your salary requirements or how much did you make at your last job. I want to find out how much money this person actually needs in order to live. How many cars they have, whether they need full-time. I want to know some background information that is going to help me decide financially if this person will be able to make enough money in order for them to both feel successful and to cover all of their needs.

3. What made you choose to move into the field of aesthetics?
The answer that I am not looking for here is it was easy. That's not an uncommon answer, by the way.

4. Why do you want to work here specifically?
What I'm not looking for is somebody who will work anywhere. I want someone who is attracted to the fact that they have researched the industry and know about my business and have decided to come in and try to get a job here.

5. What are you wanting to do over the next 2-3 years?
I am not really looking for somebody who says this is my career and I'm never going to leave you. With staff members that are typically young and female there is inherent insecurity. They move, they get married, they have kids... They are not an employee group which is usually associated with bedrock stability.

6. Why should I hire you?
There are some questions that I want to ask right out of the starting blocks and am fairly forward with; not in a harsh way, but in an understanding way. Rather than telling me what your strengths are and telling me what your weaknesses are, which people just bullshit through anyway, I like to ask, tell me why I should hire you. If an aesthetician can't answer that question after a little bit of meaningful thought or they can't come up with a good reason to hire them, they're not going to be great at handling patients on the fly in a stressful situation. People tell you the truth in those situations. If somebody says don't hire me in some way, don't hire them.

7. How much money do you think you should be making?
This is a little bit different from how much money do you need. I'm trying to uncover what this person thinks about my business.

During one interview an older, mature esthetician who had been in the field for 20 years actually said this: "Those doctors are making a lot of money and I want some of it."

That kind of came out and that interview was over; although we finished with the rest of it.


Reader Comments (11)

Be careful. It is illegal to ask a prospective employee about their financial or debt situation.

Also: "typically young and female there is inherent insecurity. They move, they get married, they have kids... They are not an employee group which is usually associated with bedrock stability." Are you saying males don't move, get married, have kids, or have insecurity? And why would that necessarily affect their work situation? Sounds like you need some serious guidance from a Human Resources professional. Please, seek help TODAY! Before you find yourself in trouble.
10.11 | Unregistered Commenterfrauellen
"typically young and female there is inherent insecurity. They move, they get married, they have kids... They are not an employee group which is usually associated with bedrock stability." Are you saying males don't move, get married, have kids, or have insecurity?

I have yet, ever, to see a male aesthetician. My comment here is directed to the employees you'll have working for you. People leave. Systems don't.

About the financial situation: I was unaware that you could not ask someone how much money they need to make. I'd welcome any additional comments on this.
Re: Over confident aestheticians. I am glad that you mentioned that it is not unusual for aestheticians to believe they know as much, or deserve as much money as the physicians, PACs, or ARNPs they work alongside. I worry when I have less experienced medical personnel indicate that their experience with clients should be considered equal to the medical/nursing education I worked long and hard to receive. I recently had an aesthetician state, "we weren't that picky at my other spa and we performed laser treatments on clients anyway and never had problems"(stated when we reviewed contraindications to laser therapy). I worry that because they often "don't know what they don't know", they can present as overly confident and aggressive. Clients could potentially get hurt without strong medical supervision & direction.
Obviously an esthetician does not possess the same level of education or diagnostic ability as a physician. As an esthetician I have never claimed to, nor have I heard another esthetician make that claim. I'll be the first to tell you that just about any idiot can make it through esthetics school, but that doesn't necessarily mean that those who do ARE idiots.

I have operated laser equipment (Cutera Xeo, and cynosure) in an aesthetic medical practice for several years with very minimal supervision, and have never experienced complications. I have, however, witnessed a number of complications caused by physicians in competing practices.
I've seen hypopigmentation caused by a derm doing a short wavelength IPL treatment on a fitzpatrick type VI. I've seen facial scarring caused from another dermatologist turning the cooling component on his fraxel off. I've even seen a physician order an esthetician I supervised to perform a photofacial on a woman who was going on vacation to Florida in 3 days after I had instructed her not to.

It has been my experience that estheticians are less likely to "go rogue" on you than someone who feels infallible due to the letters at the end of his name.

Also in regard to aesthetic ARNP's comment about compensation. The day you started doing elective procedures was the day you went into business. In a business, education is only one factor that is used in determining a workers compensation. Obviously there is more emphasis on productivity. I don't ever feel entitled to income, I earn it by selling and performing the services of the establishment that I am working in. I will only work in practices where my compensation is proportional to the amount of revenue my effort produces. That is not because I am an esthetician that is because I'm not an idiot.
Well stated esthetician. I can relate to every point you raise.
02.14 | Unregistered CommenterMidwest

In response to post by "esthetician" you seem very bright and extremely well spoken (through typed word)

Kudos to you for standing up for your career. While there are passive types that go into a career of esthetics for ease and play, there are a breed of those who really do have the aptitude for science and look at their craft from a science based perspective. These few deserve the monetary rewards for their own initiative in persuing the extra training on there own.

Esthetician! If you live on Vancouver Island, email me pronto.

He he

You two kick ass!

(2-14 )I really enjoyed reading your post. I am an aesthetician who has not done much to further her career. I have always wanted to work in a Dr.'s office but am unsure how to get my first job. I studied everything I could while attending school but felt my expectations were so much higher, we had broken equipment, outdated products etc.
I would love some real advise on what steps I should take to move closer to my goal. What are your thoughts on attending National Laser Institute? I was informed I would be a medical aesthetician but it seems like everyone thinks that term is a joke. I am motivated but also nervous that I might spend $9000.00 and still not be any closer to finding meaningful employment. Thanks in advanced!

Summer Devine,

The first thing you need to do is look at the laws in your state. Some states allow aestheticians to use lasers or IPLs and some do not. The state I live in basically only allows the aestheticians to work very superficial in the skin. The only sharp thing they can use is a lancet to aspirate a acne cyst.

Do not pay a bunch of money to a company for something you will never use. Make sure of what your legal limitations are in your state and then decide if it is worth furthering your education. Most importanntly go back and treat everything like you did when you were in school. You tried to study as much as you could. you need to read the journals talk to others using the lasers read info on this site and go to the sites of the laser companies like Palomar, Sciton, Lumenis etc. There is a lot of free information on the web so use it.

07.19 | Unregistered CommenterLH

This is in response primarily to Medical Spa MD, although I think it will be helpful to others who read this blog. I would like to introduce myself to you as a Male Esthetician. We're rare, but, like Unicorns and Pegasuses (Pegasi?), and even Bigfoot, we are seen on occasion, even by people whose word you would otherwise implicitly take at face value.

I am a Licensed Master Esthetician, as well as a Licensed Aesthetician (two states, twice the fun), and am about to license in two additional states, who snuggle up against my existing licenses. It's a cheap thrill, but a thrill nonetheless.

In addition to my extensive Esthetics training, I hold two bachelor's degrees and a Master's, and I can assure that none of that education advanced my career in Esthetics, but education is fun anyway, and you can't just watch reruns of Family Guy for the rest of your life (at least, I can't).

Enough about me, let's talk about Esthetics and what an Esthetician can do for a Physician. I don't think any credible Esthetician believes they can possibly know as much as a Physician, and between us chickens, I don't think we want to do what physicians do. We should be used as a sort of abbreviated form of "Physician Extender," and I use that term guardedly. What I mean is we should be doing things that DON'T require the skill, knowledge, and ability of a physician, PA, RN, or other Licensed Professional. But we can still do a lot for your clients, and that's how we should be viewed. A well-qualified Esthetician can perform many procedures for clients, thus freeing up the physician, the RN, and the PA for things that ARE within their scope of practice.

The best practices utilize the knowledge and skill of the Esthetician for non-medical (which is to say non-invasive) procedures and protocols which help clients with their skin issues, but they can also use their somewhat limited knowledge to identify issues that may BE beyond their scope. More importantly, Estheticians can be a solid bridge toward facilitating discussions about MORE invasive, or aggressive, treatments to which the client may actually be disposed. Finally, an Esthetician that knows products and ingredients can help the client by recommending products that can help the client with their skin issues, leading to greater satisfaction with their overall result, which drives not only return visits, but can also help bring new clients to the practice.

How much should an Esthetician make? I don't know the answer to that, but I DO know that I'm very well compensated for my time, treated as a professional, and I even sometimes "feel" like a colleague and resource, even though I'm just a little ol' Esthetician.

Should Estheticians do Botox, Fillers, or Laser/IPL/RF, etc.? I don't know the answer to that either. I think the answer is that YOUR Esthetician should do whatever s/he is correctly trained for, that is allowed in your state, and for which you have a tolerance for risk. As has been pointed out, even well-qualified, trained, board-certified, and duly licensed Physicians sometimes encounter a complication, or an unsatisfactory result. It's the wonder of Medicine smashing up against the reality of the oddities of the human body. Sometimes, the odd bod loses.

Finally, with respect to "Medical Esthetician," I don't like the term, because I think it implies a level of training most Estheticians don't have, and, if I may say so, I haven't met all that many Medical Estheticians who were better trained that regular ol' just Estheticians. I'm sure they're out there. . .I just haven't met any. Just so's you know, I always ask a "Medical Esthetician" if they can explain to me a treatment matrix that calculates fluence as against pulse length to determine appropriate delivered energy. They usually (okay always) back away slowly, and then turn and run like hell, but I always enjoy these brief encounters.

One last thought. . .it would be a good use of anyone's time to find out about WHAT you can ask in an interview, and HOW to ask it. Although I'm not a lawyer, I have a couple of good ones, and the stories they tell me would raise the hair on the back of my neck if I had any (hair on the back of my neck, I mean, not the neck itself, which I do have).

Thanks for the great discussion, and, now, by the way, you can say that, indirectly at least, you HAVE met a Male Esthetician. Sort of.

No estheticians despite how good you may think they are can legally perform Botox filler or and injection for that matter. That is a clear medical position and a great way to have the state shut down the facility. The physician who allows such a practice winds up aiding the unlawful practice of medicine. I forgot the exact legal term but the last time I heard the term it was a kin to the transfer of medical authroity which is not something a physician can legally do...i.e. I cant teach my grandmother who is a fantastic seamstress to suture surgical incisions for me.

11.17 | Unregistered Commentergm

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