The Hiring Process

Why are young people not being taught how to pursue a job and go through the steps from responding to an ad and an offer for an interview to actually getting a decent job offer?  I’s no wonder I see so many applicants with years of lateral movement. Going through the hiring process for a sous chef is mind-blowing

Over the last few weeks I have been placing ads, reaching out to people in the business, and conducting interviews for a sous chef’s position.  I have some good help in the interim so I’m in no hurry.  My hope is that I can sift through applicants carefully without haste in order to find the right fit for our kitchen.  Too often in this business we get caught short-handed and make hires quicker than we’d like; resulting in poor hires.  I’m glad I have the luxury this time since there are a lot of seemingly decent good candidates that as you get further into the process you find out are potentially bad hires and thus bad employees.

My process started out with my standard Craigslist ad that asked for fine dining experience,  a sort note to tell my why you should be considered, and a resumé included in both the body of an email and as an attachment.  I ask for the resumé that way to see who can follow directions.

The bulk of responses I get are from Subway sandwich artists, McDonald’s shift leaders, and guys who want to “get back into the business” but cannot provide a work history. Others think a short note explaining why they should be considered consists of “Where you located at?” and “What’s the pay?”  These are not cover letters.  The first is something you Google, and the second I’ll tell you at the end of the interview if I think you’re a viable candidate.  Of all the responses not one included his or her resume in the body of the email.  At least they know how to attach a document.

As I write this I have an offer out to one young man who I think will be a great fit.  If he accepts I think we’ll be in a great position at The Wine Bar to make some real advances in our kitchen.  If not I’ll keep up the search.  I don’t plan on settling.  Not only have I done that in the hiring process; I have done it in my job selection.  It never works out for the best.  Well, he’ll let me know by the end of the day.

Today I had two interviews lined up, one at 11:00, and one at 1:00.  I knew we were likely to close today but these were important appointments so I left my warm house and ventured out to meet with these young people in hopes that I’d find a good cook to complement what I do.  The first didn’t show, and due to personal circumstances forgot to let me know that he (a good egg otherwise) wasn’t coming.  When I called the second one to confirm our 1:00 interview he told me that he thought it was at 4:00 and that the weather “messed everything up.”  At noon when we spoke it wasn’t snowing and the roads were clear.  He asked if we could reschedule and I told him no, good luck in the future.

As I move forward with my mentoring program I need to make it a point to teach young people that getting ahead includes having your shit together when it comes to job searches.  Yes, I’m frustrated, I should be.  You want to be a chef but you can’t go through the process of looking for employment.  Don’t talk to me about your sous vide experience and how you make truffle oil pearls until you can properly apply for a job.

It’s snowing, I’ve eaten a perfectly roasted chicken with my family and taught my little ones the greatness of Simon and Garfunkel, Queen, and Pink Floyd.  It’s been a great night so I’m not going to worry about the youngsters until tomorrow.  Good night.




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