How to prepare for a beauty therapist trade test

Published 11th Jan 2024 by Eve Oxberry

Trade tests are a common way for beauty salons and spas to interview potential therapists. Bonnie Platts of AB Beauty Recruitment and Consultancy explains how to prepare and excel in trade tests

What is a trade test?

A trade test is used to test your practical ability and to gauge your skill set following a successful verbal interview. 

Not only will it allow your potential employer to get to know you better, it’s also your opportunity to showcase yourself and your skills. 

How can I prepare for a trade test?

First impressions are important, so arriving early, dressing smartly, and having that all-important smile and confidence will start your interview and trade test on the right foot.

This is your opportunity to impress and stand out from the crowd, so make sure you arrive with some time to spare – you don’t want to be rushing in the door all flustered; you want to be calm, relaxed and ready for your test. 

Make sure you arrive looking professional, exactly as you would for a day at the salon. Wear a clean, smart uniform and appropriate shoes, have short nails, natural-looking make-up and your hair neatly out of your face.

What should I do during a trade test?

Treat the trade test as a real client experience and remember to communicate with the client/interviewer, ask questions, make eye contact, explain what you are going to do during the treatment and check for client comfort throughout. 

All the personal touches that you bring to the test will help you stand out from your competition – things like asking them if they have any areas of tension and what pressure they like before you start your massage, holding their hand confidently when you paint their nails, and listening to what they want and taking it on board.

What will an employer be looking for during a trade test?

Employers will be looking to create a strong salon team. You will generally be asked to carry out a few treatments to demonstrate how competent your skill set is.

This will vary from salon to salon, but they will usually ask you to perform a wax, back, neck and shoulder massage and a nail polish, usually with a dark colour or a French tip.

You can ask prior to the trade test what will be included so you feel prepared before you arrive. 

Make sure your interviewer is aware of your knowledge of the treatment you are performing.

Use the correct names of muscles; explain how the treatment is going to help them, make sure the temperature of the wax is comfortable, and so on. Clients like knowledgeable therapists and employers want people who understand what they are doing. 

The employer will expect you to be nervous so don’t worry, but try to relax, appear confident and keep calm. 

Finally, once you have performed all your treatments, don’t forget the aftercare.

You are treating this as a real client experience so make sure you offer a glass of water, recommend follow-on treatments and products to help and let them know when they need to book in for their next treatment.

Most importantly, be yourself, show your personality and professionalism and enjoy your trade test.

Bonnie Platts is co-director of AB Beauty Recruitment and Consultancy. She has worked in the beauty industry for over 20 years, starting out as a therapist before setting up her own business.

Eve Oxberry

Eve Oxberry

Published 11th Jan 2024

Eve Oxberry is head of editorial for Professional Beauty and Aesthetic Medicine magazines and editor on PB. She oversees the company's print, web and social media content and writes reviews, news, features and more. Contact her at [email protected]

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