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Interview Questions for a Bakery Candidates (Examples)

Jim McCormickAuthor

How to Conduct an Interview at Your Restaurant

Hiring the right staff member for your bakery can be challenging, nevermind the logistics of the hiring process. With early morning hours and retail space, running a business that takes considerable manpower is exhausting and the last thing you want to do is find new staff and hope they work out. 

But, keep in mind that a little more effort in the hiring process can pay dividends in the long-run with a bakery clerk that is conscientious, knowledgeable, and reliable, as well as passionate about your business. Nailing the interview, and that means doing your part on your end, and having a candidate that can confidently and readily answer your bakery interview questions is a recipe for success. 

So you don’t miss a step, here is a step-by-step template to making sure that you have done your due diligence in hiring the right job candidate for your bakery.

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Interview Questions Template

With culture questions, experience questions, and situational questions, this customizable Word doc will guide your interviews with prospective candidates.

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Bakery Interview Tips

To start, you want to begin by making sure the candidate knows who you are within the bakery. Make sure to introduce yourself thoroughly and provide some background information. If you’re the owner, what made you start the bakery? What is your philosophy on baking? How does the bakery align itself with the neighborhood and who are your clientele? It’s also important that the candidate leaves understanding the values of the bakery and what is most important in running the business. This will help you choose the right candidate because you’re giving an accurate portrayal of the business and job, and he or she will be more apt to make the right decisions as to if it is also a good fit for them. 

Explain the Need for the Role

Once you have given the candidate a brief “lay of the land” it’s time to introduce them to the positions. While some people may think being a clerk or cashier at a bakery is self-explanatory, that is not the case. Is the clerk expected to restock any food items? What kind of payment systems do you accept? What is the length of the average shift? Some details on exactly what the job functions and expectations are set you and the candidate up for success because it establishes the ground rules from the onset. Before going into the deep questions, you want to make sure that, generally, you understand the candidates job qualifications and past experience. This means reviewing their resume before they come into the bakery for their interview, and asking any clarifying questions you might have. For example, you might want to decide ahead of time if prior experience working in a bakery is a requirement for the position or if you have more experienced staff that can help them learn on the job. As an aside, this is a great time to find out their knowledge of food safety regulations and precautions, which will be reflective of their prior experience. 

Establish Job Requirements

Once you have that question answered, make sure you know what the candidate for your bakery’s availability and preferred hours are. Are they a student and will need a changing schedule every semester? What is their expectation of time off? Making sure you understand how much you and the candidate expect him or her to be working is a great first step in aligning your expectations. Make sure when you are discussing availability that you make clear the pacing of the bakery. Is it a fast-paced establishment with customers throughout the day? Are there lulls? All of this information will help to color the candidates perception of the job and the hours they expect to work. 

Culture Fit

Even though you’re looking for a staff member specific to your bakery, it is still important to evaluate their leadership potential. Consider asking them when they demonstrated leadership, or how they conveyed leadership ability by dealing with a challenge at one of their previous positions. This will help you gauge whether this person might be a potential future manager or has an interest in being a leader in your establishment. Of course, while having a leader or future management material may come in handy, what ultimately matters when hiring for your bakery is making sure they are passionate about the industry in general, and that talking to customers and interacting with customers about baked goods is something they enjoy and intellectually curious about. 

Next Steps

As you wrap up your interview, make sure to always close with thanking them and letting them know what the next steps are in the process. If you have the ability, let them know when you are hoping to make a hiring decision, when you would hope that person would start, as well as any other pertinent information such as the hourly rate and how many candidates you hope to hire in total. Taking the time to do this shows them that you are a considerate staff member and it demonstrates the level of professionalism of your bakery. 

Having trouble thinking of specific questions? Let’s help you get started. Here are ten questions to consider when hiring your bakery clerk, as well as ten ideal answers to those questions to help you evaluate your candidates.

icon Resource

Interview Questions Template

With culture questions, experience questions, and situational questions, this customizable Word doc will guide your interviews with prospective candidates.

Toast

Bakery Interview Questions


When a customer is making a decision between different types of bread for a meal, what are some questions you might ask them?


First I might ask the customer what they are hoping to serve the bread with, is it going to be for sandwiches? Then I might suggest something sturdy. 


But if it was going to be used for a dip or as a starter before a larger meal I might suggest something more delicate. If the bread is going to be eaten alone or just with oil, I might suggest something that has enough flavor to stand up to that task. 


Overall, I would make a recommendation that pairs the bread best with whatever else they are planning on serving. 



The customer says that they are unfamiliar with sweet bakery items and are lost deciding what to bring to a party. What would you suggest to them?


First, I would quickly break down the larger genres of sweet bakery items. I might talk about common items like cupcakes and cakes, but I would also talk about sweet bread loaves, as well as traditional Danish pastries, and more one-off items that are more complicated like fruit tarts. 


But to help them narrow it down, I would ask them to consider how sweet they want the item to be, and if they want it to be fruity or more traditional like cinnamon or chocolate. I would also ask them how many people they are serving and when the event is. 



This is a modern bakery and our customers love the convenience of paying in many different ways. What are some of the different payment methods you are familiar with?


In my prior experience working at a bakery we accepted cash, credit, debit, and mobile pay. Additionally, we accepted gift cards which operated like credit cards and could be swiped at the point of sale, and then the customer would receive a receipt with whatever remaining balance they have left on the card after their purchase. 


We also accepted coupons and rewards points for purchases, which were integrated into the point of sale system and could be applied to any transaction, except for gift cards. 



Are you a morning person or do you work better in the evenings or nights? Why? 


Working in a bakery, you have to be ready and prepared for customers early in the morning, when the most loyal customers arrive for fresh baked items as soon as they are ready. 


While initially I had to adjust to being with a rush of customers early in the morning, I now find it exciting. While most of my experience has been working in the mornings, I was happy to cover afternoon and early evening shifts until the bakery I previously worked at closed for the day. 


When I did, I made sure to have a large coffee in the early afternoon to beat any afternoon slump in my energy, but then I was good to go. 



How do you prefer to work with your coworkers? Do you like having shifts with the same people, and how do you split up division of labor? 


Whenever I’m new at a position, I like to learn what the other people like to do and what they are best at, and then make sure to observe them and learn from them on the job. 


While I have worked at a bakery, every business is run a little bit differently, and so learning how other people do things that have more experience is helpful in helping me learn on the job. When I’m new, I also try to not have any preferences on how we divide work since I want to learn how to do everything. 


I’m happy to take on new tasks and get experience with every part of the bakery. While I love working with people that I know and have an established working relationship with, it is always fun to get to know other staff members, see how they interact with customers, and gain some of their knowledge about baked goods as well as their passion for the bakery. 



What is your favorite bakery item and why? 


I love chocolate croissants! I love them because they are tender and warm and fresh but also have chocolate inside. They are good cold, but they are also amazing warm. 


They are the perfect pairing with a hot coffee on a cold day. I like trying them everywhere I go and comparing to find my favorites and learn more about how they are made. 



How would you explain your favorite bakery item to a customer? 


A chocolate croissant is a traditional croissant with the addition of a chocolate center. A croissant is a French flaky pastry, usually shaped like a horn. Croissants have lots of air inside them and get their flavor from lots of butter that causes separation between the layers of dough, called lamination. 


They are a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a toasted bottom. Chocolate croissants are just like traditional croissants but with chocolate in the center, which is perfect if you need chocolate in all of your desserts like I do. 



Tell me a little bit about how you handle baked goods as a cashier and keep the working space tidy. 


When handling food and money, it’s important to keep things as clean as possible. I make sure to use tissues or tongs when selecting the baked goods from the shelf, and make frequent trips to the restroom or use hand sanitizer after handling cash or returning change to a customer. 


Additionally, I make sure that baked goods always go directly into the bag and don’t land on another surface in transit. Of course if something is touched or dropped it is thrown away. I also consider the freshness of bakery items. 


If we sell day-old items, I make sure to separate those out at the end of the night and have them tightly sealed as well so customers can receive the items as fresh as possible the next day for a discount. 



Why are you passionate about working at a bakery? 


I like to consider myself an ambitious amateur baker! Whether watching baking shows or baking on my own in my spare time, I’m passionate about baked goods and I like to make them myself as well. 


I think that this makes it easier for me to engage and provide a high quality customer experience for anyone that walks in the door, whether they know about what the bakery offers or are coming in for the first time. 



What are your long-term career goals and how does working as a cashier at this bakery help you achieve them? 


My long-term plan is to go to culinary school and learn how to bake or work in the food and beverage hospitality industry. I feel like working at a bakery you learn about how the business is run, you observe the bakers at work, and you start to develop a holistic understanding of the business. 


It’s something I’m passionate about so I think no matter what working at a bakery will help me learn more about the industry and potentially owning my own small business someday.

Final Thoughts

While hiring new staff always takes time and energy, make sure to remember that in the long-run who you hire will represent your business to your customers. If you make the effort to hire the right candidates, who are a good fit for the position, you will retain wonderful staff who like their jobs, and have to do less hiring. It’s more up-front work but the payoff is a win-win for everyone.

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