What Makes A Star Job Candidate In The Beauty Industry Now

When boutique recruitment firm Martin Kartin and Company reached out to Amanda Baldwin in 2013 to get to know her, she wasn’t interested in a new job at all, but Rebecca Kartin Levin, VP of retail and digital development at the firm her father started, believed Baldwin had the potential to be a powerhouse executive and wanted to foster a relationship with her. 

Nearly three years later, the skyrocketing sun care brand Supergoop was looking for the right person to take on the role of president, and Martin Kartin and Company successfully placed Baldwin in the position. Baldwin guided Supergoop through a period of explosive growth and became CEO. Blackstone acquired the brand in 2022, and Baldwin departed to become CEO of Olaplex last year.

“It is really a story of planting seeds and building relationships over time, and you never know where that takes you,” says Baldwin. “I’ve certainly made that a mission in my own career, and they make it their business at Martin Kartin and Company. Relationships are really at the heart of everything.” 

Levin stresses that the goal of placing a candidate in a position isn’t merely transactional for her and her father. Instead, it’s about finding ways to benefit all parties and nurture strong connections that result in trust and transparency. Levin says, “This trust allows for collaboration, innovation and resilience in the ever-evolving beauty space.” 

Amanda Baldwin, CEO of Olaplex and former CEO of Supergoop

The business of beauty has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. Its talent pool has become more diverse, and it’s drawing talent from industries beyond beauty such as technology, healthcare and fashion in addition to employees rising up the ranks at large beauty corporations. The result is a competitive and dynamic career landscape for people working in the beauty industry. 

The transformation has influenced what job candidates and beauty companies seek. Previously, employers focused primarily on a candidate’s job history, honing in on resume-building corporate names like L’Oreal or Estée Lauder as well as accomplishments. Now qualities like working with founder-led, scaling businesses or navigating brands to successful exits are valued, and employers are interested in experience at or with beauty specialty retailers such as Ulta Beauty and Sephora. 

Candidates, once zeroing in on salary and benefits pretty much above all else, are placing greater weight on cultural fit, remote work options and equity considerations. Levin says, “Candidates really want to understand a company’s culture, work-life balance is especially important and the growth potential.” 

Levin often steers Martin Kartin and Company brand clients toward candidates who may not be an exact match in terms of experience, but exhibit the potential to adapt to and excel in new roles. “The willingness to take a chance on candidates with the right attitude and growth mindset has become a crucial factor in successful recruitment,” she says. “The client provides the spec, the candidate provides the talent, and we provide the sixth sense to know what will work. You can’t get that from just reading a resume.”

Baldwin emphasizes that identifying the right people for roles is what makes an organization successful long term, but acknowledges that it’s challenging to fill key roles with top-tier talent amid rapid acceleration at a company and shifting priorities. Employee turnover costs companies tremendously and can be a huge resource drain. 

“The most important thing you can do as someone in my shoes is to find great talent and inspire them to want to join your journey,” says Baldwin. “That is the essence of what building a business is, it is building a team.” 

Beyond a large network, she lauds Kartin and Levin for being especially great at finding talent for specific disciplines in the beauty business, whether e-commerce, product development or senior sales and retail roles. “When you’re sitting in a fast-growing company, you don’t have always a lot of time to go and find people, and Martin already has that base or can go out and find somebody,” says Baldwin. “He knows how to find a needle in a haystack for that very specific type of role.”

Martin Kartin and Company founder Martin Kartin and VP of retail and digital business development Rebecca Kartin Levin

Of the attributes that make candidates stand out, Kartin identifies self-awareness as at the top of the list. He says, “If you don’t know who you are, you just don’t know what the right job for you is.” 

To Kartin, interviews aren’t just about showcasing accomplishments. They’re also about acknowledging areas where improvement is needed, both in the candidate and the business they’re hoping to join. “An exceptional candidate is someone who can articulate their strengths and weaknesses, highlighting areas they want to improve,” says Kartin. “They are open to seeking advice and guidance, demonstrating their commitment to growth and self-improvement.” 

Levin and Martin underscore that their close relationships with candidates and clients is what sets their firm apart from competitors. They make themselves readily available to them and encourage them to call or text for guidance. “You don’t have to be working with us to call me,” says Martin. “I sit with people and talk through the options with them frequently, offer them advice. It’s important to be available, to listen and to help steer them to help them get to where they ultimately want to be.”

Baldwin believes Kartin and Levin have had a major impact on her career trajectory and that of many others in the beauty industry. “Martin offered me a lot of advice as I was making the decision to take the Supergoop role that was very impactful and helped me,” she says. “He’s very good at knowing what’s good for the client and knowing what’s good for the candidate and figuring out how to make matches. He’s helped build the team [at Supergoop] at various stages in the business, so he’s certainly been a part of our story and continues to be a part of our story.”

“Build relationships before you need them. That was advice that was given to me very early on in my career,” continues Baldwin. “Doors will open naturally if you already have great connections. Relationships require an investment of time and effort, but I find a lot of joy in that…the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people and hear about their journey and share yours, help each other. If you do that, a lot of the rest of it takes care of itself.” 

Martin Kartin and Company have successfully placed thousands of professionals at various levels within the beauty sector, from senior executives to entry-level roles. Martin Kartin and Rebecca Kartin Levin urge you to reach out today.