Innovating Hiring: Barbershop Marketing

Jim Estill

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While posting hiring ads in the newspaper or online can be helpful, a brainstorm I had at the barbershop has given me a new idea about how to let people know about new job openings.

I am in the process of opening a new warehouse in Guelph, Ontario, and require 250 plus employees. Because of the magnitude of this hire, it is at the top of my mind: I tell everyone that I meet that I am looking to hire full and part-time shippers, receivers, dock hands, and other positions.

I was at the barber’s getting my hair cut and mentioned this to my barber who instantly said that he likely knew 25 or 30 people who would be interested in the job.

Most people develop a rapport with their barber or hairstylist over a number of years. Most people repeatedly visit the same stylist. During that time they tend to talk about the weather, politics, and life in general. They develop a rapport. Their conversation often includes their job prospects, or how their current job is going. The realization of how many people frequent the barber or hairstylist and what they discuss inspired me to come up with barber/hairstylist marketing for hiring my new warehouse employees.

We are going to the yellow pages and listing the barber shops and hairstylists in the area. We then go to our staff and find out where they get their hair done and try to cross off to make sure we have all basis covered.

I believe that the hairstylist or barber will be more open to ideas that come from someone who they already know. Because our warehouse move is not until July 1st (and it is now still February), everyone will have lots of time to get into the barber or hairstylist between now and then.

I also think that barbers and hairstylists will tend to refer people they like. The people referred will likely be good people. As professionals and as individuals, barbers and hairstylists would not want to be seen as referring people who are not good.

We are not putting in place any financial incentive for the barbers or hairstylists, although we will invite them to an open house. My experience is that most of them tend to freely share information that they have and like to be, “in the know". Most of them want to add value to their clients.

I suspect that Barbershop Marketing will work to provide most of the staff we need. That said, if you know any eager, honest, hard working people - send them my way, or, better yet, in the interest of time management have them email-

Jim Estill is the CEO of SYNNEX Canada.

To learn more about his successful business strategies, visit his blog at

Jim Estill's CEO blog also has information on ordering his audiobook and ebook, Time Leadership.


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