Carlson says the biggest way she ensures her operation is bully-free is by testing candidates’ demeanor before she hires them. As part of the interview process, recruits stage for a day. Carlson asks them to cut an onion and waits to see if they ask how she wants it done. If they dice the onion, Carlson will say she actually wanted it chopped, just to see how they will react.
“It’s really great to be able to watch and observe someone’s reaction to a correction,” she says. “I’ve had responses where they say, ‘Well you didn’t tell me.’ That kind of interaction is telling of how they will respond when things are really challenging.”
The exercise also informs potential hires that, unlike the kitchens Carlson came up in, questions are never punished.