Bring in the experts to help you recruit effectively

Recruiting the right staff is crucial to the smooth running of a kitchen, especially for pivotal positions such as a Chef Manager which require a broad range of skills and attributes. The ISCC team is well versed in putting interview procedures in place to increase the likelihood of successful outcomes. We were recently asked to help recruit a Chef Manager at one of our client schools.

After shortlisting from eighteen applicants to three first interview candidates, one of these three interviewees unfortunately was unable to attend on the day that ISCC consultant, Sue Fraser was conducting the interviews. This meant that the school interviewed that candidate themselves. They came back with glowing reports, and said that they liked the candidate so much, they would be happy to employ them based solely on this interview. Sue says:

“I had reservations. Candidates can often come across well at interview, particularly if they’re good at self-promotion. The real proof is when you put them to the test in the kitchen, and give them some management tasks to complete. I convinced the school to continue the process through to the end.” 

The next stage was a ‘trade test’ where the candidates were given a £10 budget and asked to prepare a menu. At this point one of the candidates dropped out, leaving just two. On the day of the test, the school’s preferred choice turned up dressed carelessly, with a menu produced on a scrap of paper. His heart didn’t seem to be in it, and the other candidate was clearly the better option. He’s now in place, and doing a great job.

ISCC follows a five point plan to select great Chef Managers, including cooking, planning and budgeting, and dealing with an inbox tray exercise containing tricky emails from the Head, Bursar and parents. This gives a thorough overview of their ability to deal with situations that they are likely to come across on a regular basis. 

The ISCC recruitment process is:
> Application
> Interview
> Trade test
> Financial exercise
> Email inbox test 

Sue concludes:

“Our role is to remain impartial, but to point out positives and negatives. Experience shows us what to look for, and this is a complex position. A Chef Manager doesn’t just need cooking skills, but administration and management ability too. Our 5 point plan covers all the bases, and helps to neutralise those initial ‘instant’ impressions.”