Food Management Digizine - Q1 2023


Mike Buzalka

Like many districts, Cobb County Schools faced delays and procedural obstacles in its efforts to hire adequate staff, so it found a way to expedite the process.

Finding that the Cobb County School District’s hiring process was a hurdle for many applicants as the basic application can take over an hour to complete, its Food & Nutrition Services department decided to streamline the process.

FNS team members on hand to help walk the candidate through completing online application starting our usual HR process. The candidates were more willing to invest the time at that point as they had already completed an interview and they knew we were recommending them for hire.”

FM: How were the hiring events promoted and how many were there? Hanlin: “We’ve completed 5 hiring events since July of 2022 at locations around our county. For each event we targeted the schools in the

FM approached the district’s Executive Director of Food & Nutrition Services Emily Hanlin with three questions about the hiring event program… FM: How did the idea originate and what steps did you have to take to schedule the events? Hanlin: “Most of the 2021-22 school year we struggled with hiring enough staff to fill our large number of vacancies using our normal hiring process. To determine what the issue might be we assessed pay and the process. We found that the District’s traditional hiring process was causing most of our issues as our hourly pay was competitive with other similar food service jobs in our community. The first step of the process required an applicant to complete an online application that can take over an hour to complete for someone familiar with the process. We found we had a number of applications in the system that were started and never finished. Of those we ended up hiring, about a third had started and abandoned an application prior to coming to the hiring event. We needed to remove this barrier to entry, so we created a short Google form as a screening tool to use in finding interested candidates. We partnered with our County Library System to have these events at libraries across the county so that we could do them during the school day and in various geographic areas. Instead of managers doing individual interviews at their school they were able to participate in the event and interview multiple candidates and then have other

Hiring events that streamline the hiring process a success

area of the event and sent emails to parents letting them know about the job opportunities in their area schools with details about their upcoming hiring event and a link to the Google form for those interested. The email highlighted the benefits of working in a school nutrition program related to hours, benefits and non-weekend/holiday work schedule. We also included information about sharing the information with their non-parent friends in the community. We also posted information and the link on our social media accounts as well.” FM: What was the general skill level of the individuals hired and what/how much training did they receive? Hanlin: “These events were solely for hiring our Food Service Assistant team members. Manager hiring was handled through our normal process as most of those applicants are internal. All our new team members go through a 10 week on-boarding process which includes hands on and videos training and completion of a 30- hour Orientation for Nutrition Employees (O.N.E.) course provided by our state agency.”


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