The finding and retaining of skilled labor is often cited by bakery owners as their biggest business challenge. Not only do they have to factor in staff turnover, but competition for top talent can be its own issue.
That’s why you should make the hiring the process as efficient as possible. Online recruiting tools have become valuable to nearly every business, not just in the baking world. However, when it comes to positions that require unique skills, such as those in kitchens, recruiting sites can greatly help in finding those with the right qualifications.
Marlene O’Connell, membership and development director for the Retail Bakers of America, says RBA members have used a variety of platforms for hiring, including larger recruiting sites like Glassdoor, Indeed and ZipRecruiter; more food-specific sites like Poached Jobs; and LinkedIn for management-level positions.
Additionally, colleges and culinary schools have job boards where bakeries can find new talent. While these individuals might not have the experience you’re looking for, they will have plenty of potential.
To avoid unqualified candidates, make a list of personality traits that work well for each position, as well as what tasks will be required. If you’re an established bakery, what has worked well in the past? If you’re newly hiring, what type of person would be best for your business culture?
Depending on the size of your bakery, you may also need a different type of person for a particular role. For instance, larger bakeries with higher outputs will need more specialized positions. Smaller bakeries might need more cross-functional roles, with employees filling in where needed.
During the hiring process, you should be forthcoming about what the role will entail, so candidates will know what they’re getting into. You may require an early start time or long hours, and not every candidate will be able to meet those requirements, so communication is important.
These checkpoints can help get the right candidates in the door, but the interview is critical to finding the right candidate. Working interviews, in which candidates are asked to display their skillset, give you the chance to see if their style matches what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to hire a cake decorator, cake decorating should be part of the interview. The same goes for pastry chefs or cooks.
Face-to-face interviews also provide a wealth of answers about current knowledge, capacity for learning and personality. As a bakery owner, you should seek out those who not only have established their skills but show an eagerness to learn more on the job. These people will pay off in the long run, helping to bring in customers and grow your bakery.