Cosmetology teachers educate their students on the techniques and procedures of the personal beauty trade, including hair styling, skin care, make-up application and nail design. They provide the foundation for students to understand the basics of beauty as well as proper health, hygiene and safety practices. When interviewing a potential cosmetology teacher, asking the right questions can reveal the applicant's level of competency in the field and ability to successfully educate others.
When interviewing a prospective cosmetology teacher, ask about her relevant experience in the field. Ask how long the candidate has worked in the industry, her employment history and what she considers her areas of expertise. You may also want to ask if she has any experience in a subspecialty that may be applicable to your cosmetology school. For instance, if the school has a program or focus on ethnic or minority hair care, ask the applicant if she has any experience in styling and caring for the hair of clients of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Teaching Philosophy and Experience
During the interview, ascertain the level of teaching experience a potential cosmetology instructor has. Ask the applicant if she's ever been a cosmetology instructor before or if she has any other experience in teaching. As with any educator, try to understand the candidate’s teaching philosophy and technique. Questions such as “How would you describe your teaching style?” and “How do you typically foster student engagement in the classroom?” can help you determine if the candidate’s teaching style is a fit for your cosmetology school.
Gauge how involved a potential cosmetology teacher is in her own professional development. Does the candidate stay abreast of current trends in the specialty? Does she research and try out new techniques? Has she continued taking formal coursework to learn new skills to apply to her area of expertise? A teacher that consistently updates her own skills can contribute greatly to a school’s curriculum and the educational experience of the students. In addition, a prospective cosmetology teacher active in her own development is more likely to aid the development of students and can become a vital asset to your school or program.
Skills and Knowledge Assessment
Because cosmetology deals not only with beauty but also with the health and safety of clients, ascertain the skill level and legal, health and safety knowledge of a potential cosmetology teacher. To test skill level, ask the candidate specific questions about how to do a particular procedure or style. When testing knowledge of rules and regulations, ask the applicant questions about federal, state and local laws that may apply to the work. In addition, ask questions that test the applicant’s knowledge of hygiene and safety best practices and procedures. Also ask about how long the applicant has been licensed to practice cosmetology in your state and if the license is current. Ask for any necessary legal documentation to verify this information. If hired, the teacher will be passing her knowledge on to aspiring cosmetologists who will be responsible for the safety and well-being of their future clients, so assessing the prospective teacher’s skills and knowledge of regulations is crucial.
Advice for Aspiring Cosmetology Teachers
Interviewing for a cosmetology teaching position means that you're interested in beauty and education, so showcasing your expertise in both can help you win the job. Be prepared to answer questions about your experience, abilities and knowledge of the profession. Bring a portfolio of your work to show an employer examples of your creativity and skill level. Practice answering questions about your teaching technique, such as "How do you think your instruction style can benefit our students?" and "How do you deal with unprepared students?" Also be prepared to highlight your commitment to professional development by addressing extra certifications you may have or additional coursework you may have taken and know what the cosmetology safety regulations are in your state.
M. Skylar Ezell has been writing about politics, entertainment, urban culture and career-related topics since 2007. His communications work for Fortune 500 companies in health care, technology and hospitality has resulted in international recognition, including the Association for Talent Development BEST Award and Achievers Global Award. He is a graduate of Georgia State University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and public relations.