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. First, 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.

And second, 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.


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 their everyday chores.

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 a lot, 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.
  • You can check 7 sample answers to this question here.


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 upon my arrival.

Bartender tries her very best in work, she is successful

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 to win him over, and he eventually ordered a meal, and even apologized for his former reaction.

Do not forget to check: Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer – 7 sample answers.

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 about your future place of 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 would your teacher/former colleague say about you? (Reference-check is pretty common in this field of work. 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? What is your availability? (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?

May also interest you: How to overcome interview nerves – stress can kill your chances of succeeding. Learn how to get rid of it.


Interview at STARBUCKS

If you apply for a job of a Barista with STARBUCKS, you should definitely 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. In his excellent eBook, he analyzes 18 common interview questions for baristas at STARBUCKS, offers multiple great answers to each question, and teaches you how to overcome all challenges in this interview (there are many).

Check the sample from the eBook here: SB Interview Guide (sample answers to some of the questions). * At the time of writing this article, Mathew is running a special discount for students, and you can get the eBook for less than $10. Enjoy 😉

Woman drinking coffee at her favorite retailer

Continue your preparation with Interview Penguin

If you do not dot apply for a job at STARBUCKS, or prefer to continue your preparation with – Your best job interview coach since 2011, we recommend one of the following articles:

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