So you want to work at Cold Stone Creamery, do you? Well, you're going
to have to sing for your supper.
Most Cold Stone franchise owners, including Clark and Nancy Goehring of
Bakersfield, hold employee auditions instead of standard one-on-one
"We've been doing the audition process for three and a half years. We
find it very valuable," Clark Goehring said.
The Goehrings own Cold Stone ice cream shops in northwest and southwest
Bakersfield, and are preparing to open a third spot in the northeast.
The Goehrings, their son, Trent, who runs the stores, and several other
current employees auditioned 35 job applicants Tuesday at Heritage
Bible Church. They planned to put another 65 applicants -- most of them
high school and college students -- in the hot seat today and Thursday.
They were vying for 30 positions.
One of the applicants, Leah Elliott, a 22-year-old Bakersfield College
student, said when she learned about the auditions, "I was like, well,
OK, that can't be that bad."
At Tuesday's audition, the applicants sat in a semi-circle, where Clark
Goehring tried to break the ice by asking each one a few questions. How
old are they? Where do they go to school? What do they like to do in
their free time?
Then it was show time.
The applicants were asked to do something that showed their
"We just want to see your personality," Nancy Goehring encouraged the
applicants, some of whom looked like they were facing a firing squad.
One applicant sang the Disney song "A Whole New World." Another
performed as Simpleton, a character he said he created.
Still others told embarrassing stories and jokes. One person
demonstrated kung fu moves. Several young ladies performed cheers.
One person even twisted her tongue into the shape of a clover and did a
back stand. Sixteen-year-old Nathan Reddell, who sang a song from
church in Spanish, said later that he was a little nervous before the
audition but that it turned out to be fun.
The contestants -- er, applicants -- were then divided into groups and
taught the official Cold Stone Creamery song.
They were given 10 minutes to choreograph a number, which they would
then perform for the judges.
Clark Goehring said earlier that you don't have to be a good singer or
dancer to work for him. He's not looking for the next Clay Aiken or
Kelly Clarkson. What he's looking for, he said, are employees who are
nice, who are leaders, who are trainable, who can multi-task, who have
outgoing personalities and are willing to work.
He believes auditions do a better job of highlighting applicants with
these qualities than one-on-one interviews.
Holly Culhane, president of PAS Associates, a human resources
consulting firm in Bakersfield, said auditions are valuable to a
company that's looking for employees with an ability to entertain.
People who want to work at Disneyland as Disney characters go through
an audition process.
At the start of Tuesday's audition, Clark Goehring told the applicants
employees are "on the stage all the time." Working behind the counter,
they often break into song -- the happy birthday song and the official
Cold Stone song among the selections.