The people you trust in your kitchen and in front of clients are a lot like the ingredients that you use in your recipes. If you’re using oil that’s gone bad, your bake won’t turn out right. Similarly, if your cashier has a bad attitude, your bakery might suffer.
You need to choose and cultivate your ingredients wisely for your bakery to be a success. One of the integral processes in finding the right people for your bakery is conducting interviews. Here are a few tips for the bakery hiring process and how you should be conducting employee interviews.
Before you can even get to the interview process, you’ll want to make sure you’re attracting qualified candidates. The hiring process can be challenging, but you want to make sure you’re getting people you can trust on your team.
As you’re crafting your job posting, write an honest and realistic description of the job. If you want your employee at the bakery by 4:00 in the morning to prepare for the day, or you need them to be able to lift heavy sacks of flour, tell your prospects that. Not everyone is cut out for bakery work, so when you’re looking for the right person for the job, make sure you communicate your needs clearly.
This also helps weed out unqualified candidates. You should even list anything that’s a deal-breaker: habitually tardy people need not apply.
Make sure you include these detailed sections in your posting:
After you’ve narrowed down your candidates, you can invite the lucky few in for an in-person interview.
You’ll want to tailor your interview questions depending on the position you’re hiring for. Of course, you need to ask technical questions that provide insight into the candidate’s ability to do the job. But it’s also a good idea to ask questions that will give you a sense of their personality and if they’ll be a fit in your work culture. Behavioral and situational questions can help you identify this.
Here are a few questions to ask in a traditional interview:
- How does this position fit into your career goals?
- Describe your experience adapting quantities of ingredients to match the number of items to be baked.
- Tell me about a time when you developed your own way of doing things or were self-motivated to finish an important task.
- Share an example of a time you had to gather information from multiple sources. How did you determine which information was relevant?
- What would you do if you accidentally burned an entire batch of pastries before an important event?
After a traditional interview, you may think about bringing in your final candidates in for a working interview where you test their skills. This can be especially helpful for kitchen staff, though it can reveal strengths and weaknesses in front-of-house candidates as well.
These types of interviews can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Think of it as a trial employment period.
Know that you cannot ask your candidates to work for free. They will need to be paid at least minimum wage for the time they work. Treat the working interviewee like any new employee and have them fill out the corresponding paperwork, including signing a document outlining the pay they will receive.
This may seem like a lot for someone who ultimately might not work at your bakery, but as many bakery owners know, turnover can cost precious time and resources to go through the hiring and training process for employees that shouldn’t have received the job in the first place.
Labor costs are a major expense in the baking industry. The cost of continually hiring and retraining employees can take a toll on your bakery’s budget. One of the ways to lower your employee turnover rate is to hire the right person.
Here’s a tip from a bakery owner, “Hire slowly, fire fast.”
If you’ve hired new staff at your bakery, take a look at some tips for training your bakery team. You can further support your staff by conquering the chaos of a retail bakery with BakeSmart.