How to Make Your Next Cook Hire

Get data-driven information to help guide you through the hiring process. Then, when you’re ready, post your job to SimplyHired and reach top candidates from all across the web.

Post a Job
Looking for a job? Search jobs.

Last updated at 09-15-2020 10:25:43



More than 45,054 companies advertise 337,436 Cook jobs on SimplyHired and its partner sites each year. After analyzing job postings and salary information from these companies, as well as direct job seeker feedback, we’ve compiled a list of insights to show you how to attract and hire your next Cook most efficiently.

Hiring Process

In the past quarter, we’ve seen 100,024 job posts from 17,738 employers in the United States. This is a increase of 19.9% compared to the previous quarter. On average, there are 12 Cook job seekers for every active Cook job, which shows that it is a job seeker's market.

Writing a Job Description

In the past quarter, Cook, Warehouse Worker, Line Cook, Customer Service Representative, Delivery Driver, Retail Sales Associate, Line Cook/Prep Cook, Crew Member, Laborer, and Cashier seem to be the most sought after jobs amongst the Cook candidates in the United States. This differs from the last six quarters, where the most popular titles were: Cook, Warehouse Worker, Line Cook, Customer Service Representative, Retail Sales Associate, Delivery Driver, Line Cook/Prep Cook, Crew Member, Cashier, and Team Member. If you use one of these currently popular titles in the job description, you'll likely be able to attract a lot more candidates to apply.

For the Cook candidates who are actively applying to jobs in this same period, we see that 35.0% of the active Cook candidates have less than 3 years of experience, 23.7% have between 3-5 years of experience, 22.3% have 6-10 years of experience, and 19.0% have over 10 years of experience. The average years of experience has shifted from an estimated 7.7 years to 7.8 years. If you're posting a job in today's market, expect candidates with about the same experience level to apply to your job compared to the last 2 quarters.

In the previous quarter, the most popular skills that employers are looking for include cooking, communication skills, restaurant experience, basic math, culinary experience, English, food preparation, sanitation, serving, and customer service. Demand for production planning, baking, sanitation, knife skills, English, epic, experience with children, childcare, writing skills, and bartending has significantly increased. If you are looking for a Cook with a similar skill set, be sure to follow industry best practices in skill requirements.

Job posts with salary information received about 1.2 as many applies as those without it. In the past quarter, less than 21.7% of the job posts displayed salary information. By adding salary information to your job posting, you could potentially increase the number of applicants by approximately 20.0%.

Example Cook responsibilities

  • Prepare food that meets the needs of individual customers
  • Prepare vegetable cuts to weigh a specific number of pounds or kilos
  • Prepare ingredients by cleaning vegetables or pre-washing fruits
  • Prepare food to order, as ordered by the customer or according to the menu and recipe guideline
  • Cook over a stove, grill or other heat appliance for braising, frying, roasting, simmering, boiling or steaming


Active Recruiting

When reaching out to candidates, it’s best to understand where to look. We’ve identified hiring trends in states as well as companies regularly hiring for Cook positions. This should provide a good place to start looking for qualified candidates. According to our data in the last quarter: Texas, Florida, California, North Carolina, and New York are the states that have the highest demand for Cooks. California, Florida, Texas, New York, and North Carolina are where most job seekers are searching for Cook jobs. If we look at the Cook to job ratio, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and New Mexico have the lowest number of Cook applicants per job. Louisiana, Alaska, New York, Nevada, and California have the most active Cook job seekers per job.

Passive Recruiting

While actively recruiting candidates for your role, you should also post your job to SimplyHired. By posting for free and paying only for the qualified applicants you want, your post will automatically go to a network of job boards to reach millions of qualified candidates. With SimplyHired, it doesn’t end with the post. You can track your applicants throughout the hiring process with our simple and easy to use Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Review Candidates

In the last quarter, we estimate there are 1,137,061 job seekers interested in Cook opportunities in the United States. That’s a 23.2% increase compared to the previous quarter with 955,256 active job seekers. Around 35.0% of the active Cook candidates have less than 3 years of experience, over 23.7% have between 3-5 years of experience, 22.3% have 6-10 years of experience, and 19.0% have over 10 years of experience. The average experience level of the available Cook candidates is 7.8 years. Active candidates in the Cook profession most commonly have high school diplomas, followed by associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees. When setting education requirements for your position, aligning with the industry standard makes it easier to find potential candidates. Application rates indicate that Cook candidates are likely experiencing a market in which applicants have less negotiating power. From an employer perspective, you'll have a greater selection of candidates to choose from and may want to invest in automated screening tools.

Interviewing Candidates

Interview Process

*Self-reported data collected from 56,395 Cooks from 1/1/2020 to 6/30/2020, via online employer reviews for companies including McDonald's, Sonic Drive-In, Burger King, Zaxby's, KFC, Pizza Hut, The Wendy's Company, Popeye's Restaurants, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Applebee's.

After analyzing post-interview data from Cook candidates in the last 6 months, we see more than 63.4% of the candidates self-reported being hired within 1 to 2 days. Around 93.6% of the candidates for this job reported being hired within 2 weeks. If your process takes longer than 2 weeks in the recent market, you'll likely lose these candidates to other employers. Most of the Cook candidates are expecting a on-site interview, background check, and phone call/screening. Most employers do not require a drug test, problem solving exercises, or written test. If you are trying to hire your next Cook quickly, consider simplifying and streamlining the hiring process. As for the interview experience, more than 70.1% of the candidates had a good or great interview experience, and more than 54% of the candidates thought that the interview leaned more towards easy.

Example Interview Questions

  • How do you handle stress?
  • How would your previous job performance reflect on you in this position?
  • What kind of position were you in before?
  • What management style do you prefer?
  • Do you like to work as part of a team, or prefer working by yourself?

Final Review and Offer

Reference Check

Checking references is a quick and easy way to check for any red flags that didn’t arise to this point in the hiring process. Great insights can be provided by former colleagues and employers.

Crafting an Offer: Salary and Benefits

The average Cook salary offered by employers increased for 3 out of 6 consecutive quarters in the United States. In the last quarter, we see a decrease of 10% from $30,938.23 to $27,799.98 compared to the quarter before, which is the biggest decrease in the past 6 quarters. For Cook positions, the most common benefits job seekers reported being offered by employers include: discounts by 62.2%, healthcare insurance by 40.6%, paid time off by 36.1%, dental insurance by 32.8%, vision insurance by 29.0%, a 401k plan by 28.2%, and stock options/grants by 5.9%. While still relatively rare, more and more employers now offer flexibility benefits, including somewhat remote, maternity leave, paternity leave, mostly remote, sabbaticals, fully remote, flexible working hours, and location variety, to attract and retain Cook candidates to their organization.

Background Check and Drug Test

According to self-reported job seeker feedback, 21.4% of the employers conducted a background check, and 9.6% of the employers conducted a drug test prior to the hiring of their Cook candidates.


When you’re ready to hire a Cook, SimplyHired is here to help with your next steps. Our Human Resources Information System (HRIS) provides onboarding tools and other essential HR tools. From document signing to time off tracking, our HRIS will help you seamlessly move a Cook candidate through the hiring and onboarding process.

Ready to find your next hire?

Post a Job