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Barista Interview – Answers to the common questions

Regardless of your education or working experience, you can get a job of a barista–everyone can get it. In most of the cases, only two things matter in an interview for this position:

1. Whether you can show the right attitude, and motivation to do the job. You can show it in your answers to their questions, and it is reflected in your non-verbal communication, in the way present yourself in an interview.

2. Whether you can convince the hiring managers with your interview answers. The interviewers will ask you some behavioral questions, trying to understand your behavior in various work-related situations.

If your answers meet their expectations, and if they see that you have the right attitude, and personality for this job, they will hire you. Let’s have a look at the questions right now:

 

This job is repetitive. What would motivate you to do it well every day?

Hint: You should focus on your preference to routine jobs. Not everyone needs new challenges to be happy each day in work, and some of us actually prefer to do the same things day after day, trying to reach perfection in doing them.

You can also stress that you enjoy a good feeling from a well-done job, and that you like to belong somewhere–to a motivated and  hard-working team of people.

Tell us that all of this motivates you to try your best in work, every single day.

Good answers:

  • To be honest with you, I prefer routine jobs. To try to do my duties a bit better every day motivates me, and I enjoy the process of improving the way I do my job. Friendly working environment matters to me as well, and I really like the environment in your cafeteria, and the vibe of the place.
  • If I see that  customers are satisfied with my work, if I see that they enjoy their time in a bar, it makes me proud, and it motivates me to continue working hard. It gives me the feeling of having purpose, and I really enjoy this feeling. The fact that the job is repetitive does not matter to me at all.

 

What would you do if you were late for a shift?

Hint: Stress that you are rarely late, understanding the problems your absence would bring to your colleagues. And tell us that if it happened, you would notify the shift manager as soon as you knew the delay, and would apologize to your colleagues upon your arrival to work. Your attitude is the most important thing for the interviewers. Try to show the right one.

Good answer:

  • I have never been late to school or work. I understand that my absence would cause problems for other colleagues, and I always prefer to come thirty minutes before my shift starts, counting with a possibility of a traffic jam, or with other unexpected event that may result in a slight delay. However, if something extraordinary happened and I was going to be late, I would notify the shift manager, and I would apologize to my colleagues.

 

Describe a time when a customer was not satisfied with your service.

Hint: Customer is always right, even if they are wrong. Try to speak about a situation from the past, one when you eventually delivered the desired customer service, or use the following formulation: I have not been in such a situation before (since this is my first job application). However, if it happened, I would do the following: …

Good answer:

  • One time I did not notice a customer. He waited for his order for about twenty minutes. When I finally came to his table, he was extremely upset and said he would never ever come to our restaurant. I strongly apologized for my behavior and offered him a free drink. That helped me to win him over, and he eventually ordered a meal, and even apologized for his behavior.

 

Other common barista interview questions

  • Why would you like to work here and not somewhere else? (Try to praise them for something, for their location, reputation, coffee, beer, vibe of the place, anything. Show them that you actually care where you will work, and are not applying for a job in dozens other restaurants.)
  • Describe a conflict you had with one your colleagues. (Focus on a conflict you managed to solve. Try to show your friendly approach to colleagues, and ensure the interviewers that you always try to solve a conflict in a most constructive way.)
  • Give an example of best customer service you provided. (This is your chance–to either show confidence, or humility–both of them are good, and they can win you a job contract. If you apply for a first ever job, try to show us that you understand the importance of a great customer service, and know how to deliver it. And if you already have an experience, try to speak with enthusiasm and love anytime you describe a good service that you delivered.)
  • What would you do if you saw someone stealing from the register drawer?
  • What your teacher/former colleague would say about you? (Reference-check is pretty common in this field. If you get this question in an interview, there is a good chance that they will actually call your former employer, or even a teacher, and ask for a feedback on your work, or on your personality. Try to stay humble, do not exaggerate. Say that you know that there is always a room for improvement, in everything we do.)
  • When can you start? When can you work? (Try to show some flexibility in your answer. Study the shift patterns in the place. Are they open on Sundays? Late in the night? Show them that you did your homework, and understand what it takes to work for them.)
  • What are your salary expectations? (Try to do some research prior to the interview. Learn how much people earn at the place, or at similar places in the city–you can find the information online. Try to be realistic in your expectations, and ensure them that the salary is not the deciding factor for you.
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the other job applicants?

 

Interview at STARBUCKS

If you apply for a job at STARBUCKS, you should have a look at STARBUCKS Interview Guide from Mathew Arnolds. Mathew worked for STARBUCKS, and he knows the ins and outs of their hiring process.

Currently he focuses on helping people to get a job with this famous coffee retailer, offering both free and paid advice.
Check his website here: SB Interview Guide.

 

Continue your interview preparation

If you do not dot apply for a job at STARBUCKS, or prefer to continue your interview preparation with Interview Penguin, have a look at one of the following articles:

  • Get a job with no experience – If you have no previous working experience, you can still land a decent job. You just have to know how to turn your disadvantage (lack of experience) to an advantage in an interview.
  • Body language in an interview – What do your gestures and movements say about you? Can we control our non-verbal communication? Learn more about an interesting subject.
  • How to answer interview questions – It is not only about what you say, but also how you say it in an interview. A thought provoking article about an unorthodox approach to interviews.
  • Follow-up letter after the interview – Advice on how to write a good letter (or email), with sample letters attached. Understand the most important sections on your letter, and make a final push towards a coveted job contract.

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