Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How to Impress a Spa Owner in the Interview

There are 5 cardinal rules that I feel strongly about, and all 5 of these need to be observed when someone comes to interview with me, or any spa owner, for that matter. If any one of these rules is broken, then I am likely to have an extremely negative impression of the prospective candidate and their chances of being hired are just about nil.

Rule #1: Be on time. This may seem like the easiest of rules to follow, but to me, if you're not even able to show up on time for the interview, which is the FIRST CHANCE you have to make a good impression, then you're not going to show up on time for your job. I've had candidates come as much as 30 minutes late, with no phone call. If you're lost, or stuck in traffic, or find that you cannot come because of an emergency - that's understandable. But at least give the courtesy of calling ahead to let me know - by the way, nail technicians are the worst offenders when it comes to not showing up for interviews. They are so in demand, they don't even bother calling to cancel.

Rule #2: Bring your resume. Don't assume that just because you sent it to the spa owner by mail, email, or fax that she will have it ready and available. We get tons and tons of resumes and applications each day, we rarely have the time to print out your resume, and if you show up without one, then we'll need to take the time out of your interview to search for it and print it out. NOT a good way to spend the first 10 minutes of your interview. I myself have made the mistake - twice! - of not bringing a resume to an interview, assuming that the prospective employer already had it. Well, both times, I did not get the job, and guess what? That's 100% my fault, and I accept responsibility for that. I would never do that again.

Rule #3: Be prepared for common interview questions! Have your answers thought out beforehand. Okay, you got yourself there on time, you brought your resume. Great! But when asked, "What are your three major strengths and weaknesses," don't just give a blank, cowlike stare. Or worse yet, you say 3 positive things about yourself, but then say you have no weaknesses. Um, WRONG ANSWER. Everyone has weaknesses. I have a list of weaknesses a mile long, and I am not afraid to share it. This lets prospective employers know I am self-aware and open to improvement. I'll even make it easy - this is what I ask in every interview:

* Tell me about yourself.
* What motivates you to work in the spa industry?
* Why did you choose to become a ____________ (insert esthetician, massage therapist, nail technician, etc.)?
* What are your three greatest strengths and weaknesses?
* Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
* What goals do you hope to accomplish in your first year at Pavia?
* Why did you choose to apply to Pavia?
* Why do you think I absolutely need to hire you?

Rule #4: Don't ask about compensation right off the bat. So one time, we had barely sat down and introduced ourselves, when the candidate cuts me off in the middle of my first question (which was, "Tell me about yourself") and says, "How much do you pay? I want to make sure it's worth my while to even interview." Okay, gong! Thanks for playing. If a candidate asks about compensation immediately, then it turns me off and tells me he/she is only in it for the money. I will know right away that this person is not a fit, and end the interview on the spot.

Rule #5: Dress appropriately. You know, I don't know where some people get their interview wardrobes. I have seen so many inappropriate outfits, I don't even know where to start. Here is a list of things I do NOT like seeing at a first interview: tank tops, denim anything (jeans, jackets, etc.), tattoos, flip flops, low-cut tops, T-shirts, short skirts, hot pants, tennis shoes, skintight leathers, chaps, stiletto heels, nose rings or body piercings, and my favorite: sweats! Ugh! Just remember you are meeting someone for the very first time, that it's your one and only chance to make a favorable first impression. You don't have to wear a suit, but what's wrong with a button-down shirt and khaki pants or skirt? I'm just saying...I think it's important to be inoffensive when you don't know what the interviewer's personal tastes are and when you want them to concentrate on you and your talents, not your clothes.

That's it! Next time I'll talk about the qualities of my favorite kinds of employees...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Green Zebra Guides!

It's important to me that I support green businesses, because I really do believe the way I spend what's in my wallet can help make a difference in the world. And so when Green Zebra offered me the chance to advertise in their Bay Area guide, I said, "OF COURSE!"

The Pavia coupon we put in is awesome - it represents a total savings of $75. It's so good, in fact, that I just bought one for myself yesterday! (Hilarious: using my own coupon at my own business). But beyond the Pavia coupon, it's still a book of discounts worth $10,000, for only $25! Ha, that will be the fastest ROI ever for me. There are coupons from some of my favorite places: Whole Foods, East-West Bookstore, Planet Granite, and others.

We are selling these at Pavia, but if you can't make it in and want to buy it on-line, you can do so by clicking on the banner below:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My first bikini wax...

All right, I admit, I have never had a bikini wax, despite having owned a spa for 5+ years and despite believing that I should try every service we offer before a customer tries it. I just couldn't do was too weird a concept for me and entirely too personal.

Well, impetus #1 was, I had to go to Mexico (which I blogged about on 4/1). Impetus #2 was, I rented the movie Sex and the City and was horrified at Miranda's "growth" - I was right with Samantha when she asked her, "Wax much?" as she spotted the veritable jungle spurting out from under Miranda's swimsuit. And impetus #3 was that I have been shaving all my life and finally got tired of the bumps and ingrowns and itchiness. And that AIN'T a place that a woman can just scratch whenever she wants. Note: a man, on the other hand, can scratch there at will. It is not only accepted, it is expected.

So, I decided to give the ol' bikini wax a try. Result? OMG, I am now addicted. I don't think I can go back to shaving. It's been 2 weeks now, and I'm still swimsuit-worthy. No bumps, no ingrowns, especially since I've been taking Ila's advice (Ila is my esthetician, and she rocks the house down on waxing) and exfoliating a lot.

I guess it's just one more "maintenance" item to add to my monthly agenda, but it is worth it. Now, the next step is...........BRAZILIAN, mwahahahaha. Okay, I'm *probably* not quite there yet mentally, have to work up some more courage. But hey, it's walk, then run, then fly, right?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Just got back from Mexico.......

...where the sun was shiny and the boys were lovely. Oh wait, I'm married. Ahem. Let's start over - just got back from Mexico, where the sun was shiny, the sand was warm, and the spas were .... pretty cool!

One of my BFFs surprised me with a trip to Cabo for Christmas, and we ended up, due to a serious of somewhat-life-threatening-and-alarming mishaps, going during College Spring Break. In addition to feasting on eye candy (translate: men who were in diapers when I was in my teens), we swam with dolphins, bought lots of turquoise, and what else? Went to the spa.

I wasn't that impressed with the spa at my own hotel, the Riu Santa Fe, to tell the truth. I had a male therapist, and usually, the male therapists I've had are very careful not to go too high up on the inner thigh. He did nothing inappropriate, it just felt funny. Also, he rubbed my face AFTER rubbing my feet...hmmm, not that my feet aren't clean, but what if they were dirty? Well, I should have said something.

I ought to know better. In fact, what I thought was most hilarious about this spa was on the intake form: "If you have any concerns, please state them to your therapist. Otherwise, we will assume you had a good experience." I thought that was "great" - I am a spa owner, and I even have a hard time speaking up during my "spa experience." I can't imagine what non-spa prima donnas must go through when they feel somewhat uncomfortable during a service.

Next up: the spa at the Pueblo Bonito Rose. I booked myself in for a body wrap and scrub, and I finally got to experience it on one of those tables with the blue cushion on it that looks like a shallow bathtub. Ahhhhhhhhh, it was heavenly...mostly. Not to be Ms. Picky Pants, but I hadn't specified what service I wanted because they told me I could pick when I showed up. When I showed up, I chose the Royal Mexican Lime treatment, but I guess they failed to communicate this to the therapist, because I got the Tropical one.

I learned several things from that particular service: 1. Wraps really are cold. This room had no overhead heat lamps, so I shivered as she scrubbed me front and back. I said, "Es frio!" multiple times to her through gritted teeth, but what could she really do? 2. Wraps get warm really fast after they pile on the mylar wrap and the towels. Now that's nice...but my feet started to hurt because of the way they were splayed out under the pressure, so I am making a mental note that clients might appreciate a little support under the knees during a prolonged wrap. 3. She left the hot water showering me for 30 minutes - this was DIVINE. I loved loved loved it. I thought I'd died and migrated to Heaven...I wish I could replicate this in my own spa, except that if I tried that, it would interact with the washer/dryer and my drains would plug up.

Overall, it was splendido! This spa had two awesomely warm jacuzzis, a waterfall, and then an extremely cold plunge bath. I alternated between the hot and cold twice, then just gave up because I couldn't get more than hip deep in that freezing water. And I loved my therapist, Lupita! We had a good old time communicating in Spanglish.

Oh gosh, if I could go back tomorrow to Cabo, I would...