So you want to work at Cold Stone Creamery, do you? Well, you're going

to have to sing for your supper.

Seriously.

Most Cold Stone franchise owners, including Clark and Nancy Goehring of

Bakersfield, hold employee auditions instead of standard one-on-one

interviews.

"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

individuality.

"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.

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