21 job interview questions to ask when hiring a new staff member at your spa

Assessing a potential hire for your spa, wellness, or hospitality business? We’ve got a list of great job interview questions to ask when hiring a new staff member.

By the time you get to the interview stage, you already know enough about the candidate from their resume and cover letter to think they might be a good fit for your company. Meeting them in person will tell you if your assessment is correct. You want to find out if their resume is an accurate representation of who they are, and whether they will be a good fit with the rest of your team. You also want to know if the candidate will help you and your business reach your goals, which probably include growing revenue through creating incomparable guest experiences.

This means asking the right questions. We’ve talked about this before. Now, let’s expand on the concept with some job interview questions to ask when hiring. 

Don’t waste time on the wrong questions. Your conduct in the interview matters as much as the interviewee’s. You should not show up knowing nothing about the candidate, without having read their resume, and ask questions like “Do you have experience working in a spa?” or “Where did you attend school?” You should already know the answer to this, because you have read their resume and cover letter. We expect job candidates to show up to the interview well prepared and we should show them the same courtesy.  

It’s important to prep your questions beforehand as well. Here are 21 job interview questions to ask when hiring a new staff member at your spa:

21 job interview questions to ask when hiring a new staff member at your spa:

Tell me about yourself.

A simple way to break the ice. Do they lead with their career history or the names of their cats? What the candidate focuses on will provide a lot of insight into who they are as a person and what is important to them.  

Tell me about your work experience.

You know what they do, how many years of experience they have, and where they have worked from their resume. You should also know, if they are a treatment provider, what areas they are proficient in. Hearing about it firsthand from the candidate should confirm what you’ve read and fill in any gaps.

How did you hear about this position?

You want to know if they were referred (which you might know already), for which you should thank the referrer, or found your job through a board or social media. It’s good to know how word is getting out there. 

What do you know about this company?

You want a candidate to have done their research and to come into the interview knowing what is unique about your company. This is a sign of enthusiasm, work ethic, and more good things. If they can’t tell you anything, that’s a red flag.

Why do you want to work here?

They should be able to tell you why they want to work for you, rather than for someone else. Of course, they want to work for you because they need to pay the bills, and that’s a good reason. But being able to point to why your spa or wellness business in particular is a good workplace shows, again, that they did their homework.

Why are you leaving your current job/did you leave your last job?

Most people are not going to tell you if they were fired for cause, but you can still gauge a lot here. Be wary of any person who speaks negatively about their former workplace, employer, or colleagues. This is a bad sign.

Why did you choose a career in hospitality, spa, or wellness?

Was it a desire to travel and see the world, a passion for customer service, a desire to help others? Do they light up when they talk about their career choice? The answer should tell you why they do what they do and how they tell the story will give you an idea of how they will communicate with guests.

How would you define and deliver exceptional guest service?

Exceptional guest service has a basic meaning for most people. Everybody knows to say something about going “above and beyond” when asked what excellent customer service means. Hopefully, you’ll get something a little more thoughtful out of your applicant, which is why you’re asking how they would go about it.

Can you give me a past example of how you have done something exceptional for a guest?

It’s one thing to be able to talk about it, another thing entirely to demonstrate that you have put it into practice. The answer to this can tell you a lot about a candidate’s work ethic, decision making skills, and creativity.

Tell me about a time you encountered a difficulty with a guest or colleague and how you handled it.

Customers can be demanding, and workplace conflicts can arise between staff members. Your employees need to have top notch interpersonal skills, embody the qualities of empathy and compassion, and be able to communicate effectively.

How would you handle a guest who behaved inappropriately?

Unfortunately, spa staff must know how to handle inappropriate guest behavior with confidence. That being said, you should also have a protocol in place to protect your team and that tells them exactly what to do when faced with a difficult situation.

Tell me about a time you had to make a big decision at work and how you came to that decision.

Decision making skills are valuable in people at all levels in a workplace. You don’t want team members running to you every time they have to make a decision about a guest or something else.

Tell me about a time you made a mistake.

The ability to own up to mistakes is valuable in a good employee. If a candidate can’t tell you about a real mistake, that’s a red flag. We’ve all made them. And the mistake shouldn’t be something that blames someone else or ultimately hides a brag, like, “I trusted a colleague and wound up having to do all the work myself!” or “I suffered burnout because I care too much and work too hard.” 

What would you do if you spotted a possible medical issue with a guest? Can you give me some examples of what this might look like?

A spa therapist may spot lumps, rashes, discoloration, or other skin conditions the client hasn’t noticed or can’t see, and they should know what to look for. You need to know  that they will handle this with tact, not make the guest uncomfortable, not make an armchair diagnosis, recommend the guest consult a doctor, and not scare them unnecessarily.

What do you enjoy most and least about what you do?

This will give you some insight into an applicant’s personality and identify areas where they may encounter difficulties or issues in the future and where you might need to offer support.

How would you make a stressed or anxious guest feel more comfortable?

Do they have a plan or protocol for this situation? Spa treatments can be emotionally fraught experiences and you need to know that a therapist has the ability to put anxious guests at ease.

What steps should a spa therapist take to ensure their own safety and that of the guest?

The answer should cover cleaning and sanitation, reviewing guest history, asking the right questions before treatment, and anything else that related to safety.

Would you be comfortable making additional treatment recommendations?

Therapists are often expected to recommend products, and even lifestyle changes. You want someone who is comfortable making these suggestions (but not pushy or overly salesy about it).

Do you think you will be successful making retail sales?

If you’re interviewing for a front desk position, on the other hand, the sales question should probably be more front and center. Ask about their success in this area and what they expect from themselves in future.

Why should I hire you?

You’re looking for an answer that focuses on your success, the guest, and what the candidate can offer and bring to the table. The candidate should not use this opportunity to talk about their own needs and wants. The answer to this question should be some variation on “you should hire me because I will help your business be successful in the following ways….”

Do you have any questions for me?

A job candidate who is enthusiastic about the role and who has done their research on your company will have questions pertaining to the workplace culture, the demands of the job, and what it will take for them to succeed in the role. If they don’t have questions, they might not be that interested.


Check out this list of the spa & wellness trends we’ll be watching next year. Click here to download the Handbook: Seven wellness trends for 2022

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