Finding and retaining skilled employees can be one of the biggest business challenges for bakeries. In addition to turnover, competition for top talent can be fierce. While word of mouth among current employees and fellow bakers can help fill open positions, online recruiting platforms can be key to diversifying your talent pool and bringing in unique skills and experience.
In addition to expanding bakery owners’ reach beyond their professional network, recruitment websites, apps and social networks can help make the process of finding prospective employees as efficient and targeted as possible.
For starters, many of these platforms offer resume and cover letter storage, which can help organize and streamline the search. Plus, many offer screening and sorting tools, enabling you to narrow your search based on factors like geography, education level and years of experience.
Meeting candidates in person can take a lot of time, something bakery owners rarely have to spare. These screening tools can help you avoid taking your focus away from other responsibilities to meet candidates who don’t have the necessary qualifications. For example, once you have received a certain number of applications to your opening, you can mass email your first-round candidates with questions designed to filter out unqualified prospects. Then, you can schedule five- to 10-minute video interviews to narrow the final candidate pool. Once candidates have passed these screening steps, you can meet with your top choices face to face.
Which websites and apps are best for finding bakery talent? It depends what you’re looking for.
Marlene O’Connell, membership director for the Retail Bakers of America, says RBA members use a combination of platforms, including larger recruiting sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter and Craigslist; food industry-specific ones like Poached Jobs; tools that specialize in filling short-term positions like Shiftgig; and LinkedIn for management-level positions. Glassdoor is another site bakeries can use.
Some of these platforms work well for finding applicants with skills like baking and decorating, while others are better for filling less specialized roles like customer service, dishwashing and order delivery.
Bakeries can also look into posting on job boards at local colleges and culinary and trade schools.
To avoid an onslaught of applications from unqualified candidates, take the time to identify exactly what kind of employee you’re looking for, from their responsibilities to their personality traits. Be as specific as possible, listing any caveats that could be a deal-breaker.
To create this list, draw inspiration from your current team. Why are top performers doing well in their role? What individual personality traits help your team function as a whole? What is your team missing?
Make sure the job posting title and description include key terms pertaining to your bakery and the position’s duties and responsibilities. According to job site Monster’s “Small Business Hiring Guide,” a good listing should include the following five key elements.
You should also list any physical requirements of the position, such as the amount of time bakers should expect to be on their feet, or the weight they must be able to carry if they’ll have to work with bags of bakery mix or large pails of icing.
Finally, attract candidates by listing any benefits your bakery offers, from insurance coverage and paid leave to smaller perks, like weekly team meals and free products. It’s also important to describe the company culture and how the bakery supports employees’ professional development.
While digital recruiting platforms can eliminate a lot of early back-and-forth, in-person meetings are still crucial for promising candidates.
“Once the bakery owner has sorted through applications, they’ll conduct a face-to-face interview. But the real proof is putting candidates to work and seeing their skills,” says Tony Smith, executive officer, Baking Association of Australia.
O’Connell agrees. “Typically, bakers and decorators are interviewed and asked to demonstrate their skills,” she says. It’s a good idea to ask candidates to bring a portfolio of their past work.
In addition, the face-to-face meeting can answer a lot of questions bakery owners may have about candidates’ personalities and willingness to learn. “The bakeries are looking for people who are skilled, enthusiastic, reliable and pay attention to detail. They like people willing to learn and many will consider hiring attitude over aptitude,” she says.