Sometimes you find beauty in hidden places. Sometimes you find a lovely city where you can build a good life. Sometimes you find a career that fulfils you and an employer who challenges you. And sometimes you find all these things together: In Erfurt.
Our interview with Michael Junge, CEO of Friseur Masson, about job opportunities in his corporation and life in Thuringia.
Immigrant Spirit: We are sitting in beautiful Erfurt. I was really surprised how enchanting the city is. You grew up here in the area – what do you like best about Erfurt?
Michael Junge: Most amazing here is… everything. There is huge cultural diversity on a very small area. You cannot turn a corner without finding something beautiful. There are a lot of cultural activities going on.
Immigrant Spirit: Friseur Masson is not a single barber shop, but a corporation…
Michael Junge: We are an organisation with 35 shops and 150 employees. We are active all over Germany, but our focus is Thuringen. We have also shops in Berlin and the Ruhr Area. We are a barber who want to serve the whole family. Which means we are not limited to a narrow “target group”.
Michael Junge: Professional hairdressers. Hair stylists who really love their profession.
Immigrant Spirit: If you think about the “stars” among your current co-workers. What qualities make them so successful?
Michael Junge: Their attitude towards their profession. It’s one of the great benefits of this profession, that you have the ability to make people very fast – very happy. Also: The wish to see the results of your work – a good hairdresser can see their customer looking into the mirror and feel the happiness in their eyes. Sometimes you even get to see some tears of joy.
Immigrant Spirit: If I would start working for you – and make it my goal to push your best employee from his throne: What shall I do to become “number one”?
Michael Junge: Try to connect to the person in front of you. Make it your goal to put a smile on the face of your customer as fast as possible, no matter if you cut hair or style it; if you give life advice or help them solve their hair problems. And often to simply ask the client: How can I make you happy today?
Immigrant Spirit: Who should not apply for a job?
Michael Junge: Those who just want to do “any” job and become rich. If you are just in it for the money – then you won’t last with us.
Immigrant Spirit: We talked about motivation – what about the qualifications that you are looking for? Which are the minimum requirements that candidates must fulfil?
Michael Junge: An apprenticeship as a hairdresser. You need to know cut & colour techniques – ideally you have certificates to document your skills.
Immigrant Spirit: You want to attract the most motivated and skilled candidates. What do you have to offer?
Michael Junge: We have our own academy, which allows our employees to constantly learn new skills. We teach according to the “pivot point” system, which is internationally recognised. We teach techniques like colouring, creation, braiding, pinned-up hairstyles, festive hairstyles and others. We will also add make up techniques in the near future. And of course: Motivation. You will keep enjoying your profession.
We have our own collection that changes in spring, summer, autumn and winter under the brand of “I love my hair”. Every hairstylist should motivate his customers to love their hair. Because it deserves to be loved.
Immigrant Spirit: Can you tell me a bit about the career prospects in Friseur Masson?
Michael Junge: We are a corporation – so you have the chance to work on different levels. You can lead people, either as a coach who helps colleagues to improve their skills or as manager of a store, who leads a team of hairdressers. The very best can also become trainers who teach our apprentices.
Immigrant Spirit: I made a surprising discovery when I prepared for this interview. A few years ago, Friseur Masson decided: “Our employees deserve a better pay.” You pay above industry average. What was the reason for this move – and how did the customers react to the higher prices?
Michael Junge: Our ideas as a company is: “We want excited customers”. We can have excited customers, when our employees are excited too. My personal goal is to have an environment where people can work happily.
Money is usually not the highest priority for a hairdresser. They care more about a great team and to feel good at work. But it is important to earn money.
Immigrant Spirit: OK, let’s talk money…
Michael Junge: In Germany we have a legal minimum salary of 8.50 EUR per hour (gross). In our company we don’t even want to hear “minimum salary” – because that says already: “The bare minimum someone could pay you.”
We increased our prices to win customers who are willing to pay money for good quality. If a customer leave our shop really happy and excited then they are of course willing to pay a higher price. And if they pay a better price –we can pay a better salary.
That is why we pay a good basic salary – but offer also a performance based bonus on top. We want professional with pride and drive, individuals who will take initiative.
Immigrant Spirit: Sounds good. How fast could candidates start with your company?
Michael Junge: As soon as you apply. 🙂
Have you made the same experience?
You are well educated, you have professional experience and most important: You have drive and ambition. You want to make a contribution and build a good career.
But German employers don't value your talent. You apply for job after job. You spent hours editing your CV and cover letter to fit perfectly. And then: You don't even get an answer.
There is a way forward! Chris Pyak and the rest of us at Immigrant Spirit GmbH: We want you to succeed.