In customer service, you will sometimes come across customers who are rude, complain, or cannot be pleased. Talk to the hiring manger about your customer service philosophy, and how you go about handling rude customers.
"I realize that not everyone can be pleased, however; I always do my best to keep my composure and treat everyone the same. If a customer is rude, I will ask them how I can make them happy. That will usually calm them down a bit. In some situations, I have suggested to very rude customers that they find another bakery who perhaps could meet their needs better. I am accommodating but also will not tolerate anyone abusing my staff."
Talk to the hiring manager about what you feel makes you the best option for them. Bring up your strong baking skills, but also be sure to include skills that will make you a stand-out candidate.
"I feel that I am the best candidate for the job because aside from my very strong advanced pastry techniques, I am also able to manage the social media marketing side of your business. I would come with very fresh ideas on how to increase your customer base."
Display to the hiring manager that you researched the company prior to your interview. This shows the interviewer that you truly are interested in securing this role, and that you find it important enough that you would take the time to conduct research.
"I took a lot of time getting to know your company through it's online presence. I am aware that you are a long-time family run business which is admirable. I understand, also, that you have very strong customer reviews online. What I enjoy most is that you give back so much to the community."
Your answer will help the hiring manager to see that you understand their business, you have researched the competitive landscape in the area, and that you have taken interest in what they do.
"I believe you stand out from your competitors in a multitude of ways. Looking at your reputation in the community - I see that you are very well known for being accommodating and for using high quality ingredients. In comparison to your competitors, I see that you stand out because you engage with your customers on social media, and you are very active in giving back to the community through donations of food."
How do you go over and above, to help out a customer or to meet a unique request? Give a specific example to the hiring manager.
"I had a customer come to me with 1 days' notice that she needed a wedding cake. Her original baker did not provide her with the cake that she wanted and she was very panicked about it. We worked overtime and went far beyond the call of duty to ensure that her cake was perfect, and ready for her big day."
Tell the hiring manager about your strongest skill when it comes to baking.
"I am strong in multiple areas of baking, however; my primary focus this past year has been on developing my skills in pâtisserie. I am also an expert in frosting techniques."
Do you make a habit of being on time, or even early, for work? Tell the hiring manager about your reliability.
"As a baker, I am aware that early mornings are required. I am always very punctual and take pride in being on time for work. You can most certainly rely on me."
Talk to the hiring manager about how you initially started baking. This will tell the hiring manager something about you that they may not know from reading your resume.
"I have been baking since I was just 6 years old! My professional start came when I joined the Institute of Culinary Education in New York to complete my education in patisserie. It's been a passion of mine since I was young."
Do you follow recipes to a tee, or do you like to wing it a bit? Tell the hiring manager about your preference when it comes to recipes.
"I am absolutely able to follow recipes, and especially love to follow the recipes that are the classics. When it comes to more modern baking, I like to be creative and deviate from the recipe."
Do you want this job? Tell the hiring manager about your desire to be the successful candidate. Talk a bit about why you want to work for them, specifically, and how securing this role will benefit your life.
"I would really love to secure this job. It would make my life so much simpler as this bakery is just down the street from my home. I am passionate about the type of products and quality that comes out of your facility and that would make me very proud to work for you."
Do you struggle in a particular area of baking? What do you find the biggest challenge in your career? Talk to the hiring manager about your biggest challenge in baking.
"In my career, my biggest challenge has been working on my precision techniques with delicacies. I would like to take an additional course in these techniques to really master them."
Everyone has a disaster in the kitchen, and that's totally okay. Discuss with the hiring manager how you were able to recover from a disaster while baking.
"One disaster that comes to mind would be when I was asked to make a grain free/gluten free cake as a special order. I make the cake with almond meal, thinking it would work but it was much too dry. Instead, I turned the batter in small cookies and re-made the cake batter using coconut flour. I gave the cookies to the customer as an add-on for free, which they were really happy about."
Tell the hiring manager about your frosting techniques and the level of expertise you have. You can keep your answer brief.
"I know a variety of frosting techniques and would say the the ones I am an expert level in would be Rosette, Petal, Ribbon and Textured frosting."
As a baker, you will face endless deadlines. Discuss with the hiring manager how you are able to cope with that type of stress.
"I am accustomed to stressful timelines and am able to handle it quite well. I have worked in this type of environment since becoming a baker 7 years ago. I remember to breathe deep, keep focused, and stay organized."
Tell the hiring manager what you most enjoy baking, and why.
"My favorites will change from time to time, because I have always been passionate about change and trying new things. Currently, my favorite things to bake are ornately decorated sugar cookies. They are a timeless treat."
Assure the hiring manager that you are reliable and that you come to work when expected.
"In my last position, I took just 2 days off in one year. Both absences were excused as I had a long weekend planned. I do not take many holidays and do not get sick very often. You can be assured that I will show up for work on time, and when expected."
If you are successful in gaining this position, what other types of skills will you bring to the job? Talk about anything you can do re: marketing, customer service, management, etc.
"Asides from baking, I bring many skills such as social media marketing, scheduling, inventory management and customer dispute resolution. Are there any specific skills that you are looking to bring on in this role?"
This question should be fun and easy to answer! How do you stay on top of the latest trends in cakes, and bakery goods?
"I watch a lot of great baking shows, and also subscribe to various magazines such as Martha Stewart and Bake Mag. I subscribe to a variety of blogs, and am often on Pinterest, searching for fresh and creative ideas."
Talk to the hiring manager about anyone who has acted as a mentor to you in this industry. What have they provided to you, to help you in your career? If you do not have a personal mentor - perhaps there is a famous baker that inspires you.
"My mentor, in baking and cake decorating, is my first employer from the bakery I worked at in 2008. The owner of the bakery, Jane Doe, is very passionate about what she does and I learned such a great deal from her. We still meet a few times per year to discuss new trends in baking."
Where did you attend culinary school? What was your focus during your post-secondary experience? Talk to the hiring manager about your experience and focus.
"I attended culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. My primary focus was on developing my skills in pâtisserie. My courses range from advanced pastry techniques to boutique style desserts, world delicacies and precise techniques."
If you have a photo portfolio of your work, be sure to bring that with you to the interview. Talk to the hiring manager about the level of projects that you have completed, and highlight the one project that you feel best showcases your work.
"The most complicated wedding cake that I have ever created was a 4 tier, delicately decorated, wedding cake for a very large Italian wedding. I have photo's available if you would to see my portfolio."
Tell the hiring manager about your ability to stay organized with your bakery ingredients. What steps do you take, or what processes have you put in place, to ensure that very little waste happens?
"Last year, in our bakery, we implemented a new program that would help with inventory and also track close to expiring ingredients. This new system has decreased our waste by 22%, which is incredible!"
Talk to the hiring manager a bit about your math and conversion skills. You can answer this briefly, and to the point.
"I have been a baker for many years, and this particular skill has been well-honed through those years. Yes, I am able to quickly convert and calculate measurements in Metric, Imperial and US Customary."
The hiring manager would like to know something about you that would not be on your resume. This question is also intended to show the interviewer your level of passion when it comes to food.
"If I could choose my last meal on earth it would be ravioli with lobster, langoustine, salmon and wood sorrel. I love the creamy decadence of this pasta dish. Yet, its deliciously simple."
The hiring manager is looking for an idea re: your longevity in this position, should you be the successful candidate. If you are wishing to own your own bakery one day: "I have always had a dream to own my own bakery, however; that would be many years down the road for me. If given this opportunity with your bakery, I plan to stay long term. If you are not wishing to own your own bakery one day: "I do not have plans to open my own bakery one day. I am quite content with having a strong employer and remaining in a position as an employee."
"I have always had a dream to own my own bakery, however; that would be many years down the road for me. If given this opportunity with your bakery, I plan to stay long term. If you are not wishing to own your own bakery one day: "
Talk to the hiring manager about your work history, and tenure, in your previous positions. Assure the hiring manager that you plan to stay in this position for the long term.
"As you can see in my resume, I have a strong history of remaining loyal to my employers. The last position I left was simply because the bakery closed down. If I am successful in securing this position, I plan to stay here for the long term."
Assure the hiring manger that you are flexible and able to meet the needs of the customers, no matter how odd the request may be.
"I have had a few odd baking requests. The one I recall the most was a customer who wanted a 3-tier birthday cake, in just 4 hours' time. I explained to the customer that these types of cakes take a bit of time and simply could not be baked, cooled, and decorated in such a short time. The customer agreed after some convincing and chose a different design."
Often times, as the expert, we will feel that our way is better. Talk to the hiring manager about your ability to overcome that thinking, and follow instructions that you've been given, despite your desire to do your own thing.
"If I were given a recipe to follow, but felt that my method was better, I would still follow the recipe that I was given. It is important to be flexible. If I felt comfortable enough, I would probably make the recipe using my own method and ask my boss for feedback on the end result. Perhaps they would like my way in the end, as well!"
In professional kitchens, bakers are responsible for baking a wide range of savory and sweet baked items, from bread, pies, and rolls to cakes, cookies, and pastries. Their tasks include measuring and combining the ingredients, and setting up and operating the baking equipment. They also inspect the quality of the raw ingredients, develop new recipes, and oversee the finished product. They are responsible for all baking related activities from start to finish.
A high school diploma is the minimum educational qualification required for this role, though more established outfits may require applicants to have some kind of formal culinary training with a focus on baking. Bakers must have excellent critical thinking, decision making, active learning and time-management skills. They must also be creative and have good aesthetic sense.
Prospective employers will ask you why you chose to become a professional baker and what is your experience in this field. They will want to know if you specialize in baking savory or sweet items or both and if you see yourself doing this for the next few years. What about your long term career goals? Being prepared with your replies can help you come across as more confident and compelling during your interview. To be better prepared for your interview, practice your answers to the questions listed at Mock Questions.