I am interviewing several people tomorrow to be my all around helper, but mostly baking and filling, decorating if possible. I already have a lot of questions to ask in the interview... but was wondering if anyone out there had any suggestions? Not the usual stuff, but more industry specific. What would you ask a potential employee? What have your employers asked you?
(FYI I have a retail chop with a small case of ready-to-go up front, espresso, and lots of special occasion and wedding cakes)
I'd ask them if they would be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Maybe a non-compete agreement?
this isn't exactly a question... but I would hire them on a 90 day probation period where possibly they work at a lower hourly rate during that time.
after the 90 days they have a performance review with you and they either meet your requirements and get a pay increase or they don't they they are let go.
I know it sounds harsh but you don't wan to be stuck with a bad employee.
hmm, industry related questions... I would ask them about career goals. If they want to be a computer programmer they probably aren't that interested in learning about cakes. jmo
edited to add:
I just thought of this...
are they willing to work odd hours, either early morning or late nights depending on the season?
are they willing to work more hours or less hours depending on the season?
how good are they at following very specific dirrections (ie: a recipe)
can they lift 50 lbs or 30 lbs whatever you require?
I had a young girl come in and place an application..... I asked her if she was willing to cut off her long I(artificial) fingernails, since she was wanting to work in the food industry. Even tho' I make my folks wear gloves all the time, I don't allow long nails. Not going to chance losing one in the dough .... don't like the gunk that gets up under those fake ones.
I would ask them to provide references that I could call and verify.
It is always nice to know if someone really knows how to work. (It would be good money for nothing if you have to constantly watch or prompt them to do things beyond the normal training time.)
I agree that a probationary period would be a great idea. It will give you time to not only observe their work habits, but to see if they are really honest and trustworthy, as well as the time to notice if they have good cleanliness, and old-fashioned manners.
I also agree that some form of written arrangement should be made to protect you and your business, your recipes etc.
If you would like her to help with the decorating, it would be great if she could show you her portfolio of work. She could point out her favorite cakes and tell you what made them special to her. It would not only show you her skill level, but give you some insight to what style of decorating she enjoys, and her strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps even how she views other people and how she would treat them. Some customers can be difficult and quite a challenge.
I would be curious to know whether she belonged to ICES, or subscribed to cake magazines. I like to know where people draw their inspiration for their cakes. Maybe she has had special training or does better learning from books or videos. She may already enjoy Cake Central or watch Ace of Cakes on the TV.
Her hobbies would tell you a little more about what kind of person she is.
I enjoy visiting with people, so I guess I could go on and on.
I would make it skills specific. After I weeded out the"no way in H*** are you touching my cash drawer" applicant. Since there is cash on hand I would ask if they can get bonded.
I would have the person actually show you specific skills. Have a cake there for them to fill and frost. Ask them if they want to decorate down the road, and have them show you what they can do at the moment with some specific tips. This will give you an idea how they do under pressure! And I like the probationary period. Anyone seriously interested will consider this...provided you aren't offering to pay them so little that they can't survive for the time period on that amount.
I would have the person actually show you specific skills. Have a cake there for them to fill and frost. Ask them if they want to decorate down the road, and have them show you what they can do at the moment with some specific tips. This will give you an idea how they do under pressure! .
A hands-on test is a really good idea. I think I would include having her level the cake.
I hope everything goes well with all your interviews.
when i got a job at a local bakery i had to work for a couple hours one afternoon simply filling and icing cakes. and my trial period was only 2 weeks. i guess they didn't want to waste 3 months.
TOO BAD YOU LIVE TOO FAR...BUT I BEEN BAKING FOR THE LAST 6 MONTH...AND JUST LEARNING WITH THE BEAUTIFULL PEOPLE OF CC...AND I REALLY ENJOY BAKING AND CREATING SOMETHING PRETTY FOR SOMEONE...SO WE STARTED TO SEARCH FOR A PASTRY SCHOOL...AND MY HUSBAND GV ME THE IDEAN OF MAKING MY PORFOLIO AND I HAVE A FEW....SO TOO BAD I HAVE YOU TO FAR IF NOT I WILL ALSO BE APPLYING...LOL
While I decorate cakes as a hobby, I am also a Director of Human Resources. In my opinion a 90-day probationary period is a must. A great way to introduce this to a new/potential employee is to state, "Your first 90 days is considered a propbationary period. During this time either party can decide to terminate the relationship at any time, for any reason. This is simply means that it gives both of us the opprotunity to feel each other out, and if one of us decides that it's not the right fit, then we part ways, no hard feelings." You'll also want them to sign off on something stating that they understand this and agree to it.
The key to making is this work for you is to truly evaluate the employee's performance closely. You also need to make sure to do an evaluation upon it's conclusion.
If you do decide to terminate, it's still a good idea to have documented proof of a violation and/or deficiency as well as documentation of your attempts to remedy the situations that led to the decision to terminate.
This will protect you in a potential wrongful termination suit.
A great question to ask any potential employee is "Tell me about your favorite and least favorite former supervisors". This gives you alot of insight into someone's work ethic.
Sorry this is so wordy! [/b]
I'm starting my interview checklist and on my list is to ask:
Do they have any problems cutting their nails. Do they smoke (*I* can't tolerate the 'fresh' tobacco smell and don't want the scent mingling with freshly baked goods!) Would they be able to work a longer shift on short notice. Would they have a problem signing a confidentialty agreement.
Do they understand they will be an 'at will' employee, meaning, the work arrangement can be terminated at any time for any reason (I work as a government contractor now and this is standard wording).