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Career tips: How to nail a spa therapy trade test

Let’s talk trade tests.

As a spa therapist we all know that delivering an amazing treatment and showcasing our skills are at the forefront of our minds when attending a trade test and of course any potential employer wants to be wowed.

Spa therapy trade tests
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

However sometimes when we are under pressure and feeling a little nervous we can forget or miss out some crucial steps that are just as important as the treatment itself!

Here’s a run down from start to finish of exactly what a Spa Manager is looking for!

Let’s start with the basics: Don’t forget your grooming standards!

As a therapist you need to be in full uniform with hair and make-up as you would attend a shift in a neat bun and natural makeup.

TOP TIP – Before even beginning the trade test it’s important to start out with the right mind set. It’s most likely that you’ll be performing the treatment on the Spa Manager or Treatments Manager, but for this moment in time you need to remember that they are your guest. Yes, they know a lot about the treatment you are going to perform and the questions you are about to ask, but they want to gain an idea of how you will address your guests if they give you the job!


Always do a consultation. Even if the Spa Manager asks you not to do a full one, it’s always a must as a therapist to ask some standard questions, predominantly so you do not cause any medical issues for the guest and secondly so that you can give them the best possible treatment to suit their needs, For example:

“Do you have any medical conditions?”

“Have you had any recent injuries?”

“Where are your main areas of concern?”

Once explaining to the guest how you would like them to be positioned on the bed, leave the room to let them change.

On return to the treatment room always let the guest know you are going to wash your hands before beginning the treatment.

Always remember your 5* Standards before beginning the treatment

“Are you comfortable?”

“Is the temperature of the room ok for you?”

“Is the volume of music ok for you?”


Now it’s time to start your treatment and show off your skills

TOP TIP: Always warm up and apply the oil to your hands silently!

Once beginning the massage always check that the pressure is to the guest’s preference.

Aftercare and Advice

You have finished your treatment and you have returned the room after your guest has changed.

Always ask:

“How are you feeling after your treatment?”

At this point the Spa Manager will be looking out for your treatment aftercare advice and what you recommend for the next steps in their treatment plan.

Start by letting the guest know what you focused on during the treatment and why.

What treatment do you recommend for them to have next?

At this point you can recommend a type of product for them to use in between treatments to continue the benefit of the treatment at home.

Specific brand knowledge is not necessary however you can use an example as below:

“In your consultation you mentioned you would like a nourishing oil for your massage and your skin felt dry, I would recommend you use a body scrub twice a week and before your next massage as this will help any oils or moisturisers you apply to penetrate the skin better and give you longer lasting results.”

TOP TIP: Hand your guest over to the care of the reception team ensuring you have passed on details of any products that you have advised the client on.

In summary, don’t let the fact that it’s a trade test tempt you to take a more casual approach. Treat a trade test as if it was the most important client you have ever dealt with. It’s not all about technical skills; it’s as much about your manner and your engagement with the client that makes a great trade test.

Good Luck!

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