Starbucks Interview Questions and Answer with Tips

Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of Starbucks? Starbucks is the world’s biggest coffeehouse chain but it is also considered as one of the best employers in the U.S. for the young people who are just entering the labour market. Starbucks offers many entry-level jobs, like barista or cashier and in this article, we will explain to you how to prepare for such interview, what the typical Starbucks Interview Questions are, how to stand out from other candidates and increase your chances for success.

Starbucks was founded in 1971 in Seattle, Washington (U.S.) by Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker. Currently, Starbucks operates in around 80 countries and hires over 340’000 employees. In their menu, you can find different types of hot and cold coffee, tea, juices, pastries, sandwiches, salads, various snacks and drinkware (mugs, tumblers etc.).

Starbucks Interview Questions Answers

When it comes to the hiring process, it is usually quite fast and takes usually up to a week. Unfortunately, there are always many candidates and a lot of competition at the early stage of the process. It’s not possible anymore to submit a CV directly in Starbucks stores. The candidates need to apply through the Starbucks website, fill-in a dedicated application form and follow the procedure on the website.

The easiest and the fastest way to get an invitation for a job interview is to search for the current openings and apply directly to these positions. You can of course always try your luck and submit your CV directly in one of the stores but don’t be surprised if you will be asked to apply online.

Read the article to discover the most popular Starbucks Interview Questions and our tips on answering them. The questions which we selected for your today are quite generic and will work for different job positions, from a famous barista to a store manager.

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Starbucks Interview Questions

What does Starbucks represent to you?

This is one of the first Starbucks Interview Questions to expect. Continuously since 1971, Starbucks ambition is to offer a high-quality coffee, a friendly atmosphere but also, to always try to “make the world a little better” (source: the Starbucks website). You can base on that your answer but you should be also ready to explain what Starbucks represents to you personally: what is your experience with Starbucks, what comes to your mind first when you think about Starbucks brand etc.

Where does the Starbucks name come from?

There are many stories about the origins of this name, but according to the official Starbucks website, it is inspired by one of Herman Melville’s novel hero named Starbuck. The novel title is “Moby-Dick” and it was chosen because it makes think about “the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders”.

What is the most famous Starbucks coffee?

It is another commonly asked Starbucks Interview Question and it is rather tricky. Starbucks does not publish any official coffee rankings. We may only guess that it might be one of the Frappuccinos, Mochas or Lattes. During the fall season, very willingly ordered is a Pumpkin Spice Latte. However, don’t worry if the answer to this question seems to you a little vague. The real intention behind this question is in fact to check your knowledge about the different types of coffee offered at Starbucks. Feel free to propose several coffee drinks which you suspect to be the most popular – naming top 3 or even top 5 of them will be perfect.

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Are you a coffee drinker?

This is a very valid interview question, especially if you apply for a barista position. If your answer will be a yes, your future employer will understand that you share the company’s passion for a coffee and that your enthusiasm and motivation are real. If you are a coffee-lover, it will be also easier for you to advise the clients, handle special orders etc. You will know from experience the difference in taste between the different coffee beans, types of milk, syrups, sugar and its substitutes etc.

What is your favourite Starbucks beverage?

Another typical Starbucks Interview Question. It may not look like but this question is very similar to the question about the most popular Starbucks coffee. There are no official rankings, there is no good or wrong answer but you should take this question as a chance to show that you are familiar with the current menu offer. And again, do not limit yourself to one drink only but name at least 3 of them.

Do you have experience in customer service?

It’s a very important question, especially for the positions requiring direct contact with the guests, like cashier or barista. Starbucks offer many entry-level positions for which no specific skills or experience is required. If you don’t have any experience in customer service, don’t be scared to say it but at the same time, provide some examples, maybe from your school or university life, which will confirm that by nature you are customer-oriented, enjoying working with others, willing to help and taking satisfaction from satisfying the others.

See also: First job interview tips & checklist

How would you handle a rude customer?

This is also one of the most commonly asked Starbucks Interview Question. If you face a rude customer, firstly determine the reason for his behaviour. He might be unsatisfied with his order or might have already come in this mood to the store (and be for example be under the influence of alcohol or drugs).

In the second scenario, the best would be to ask a guest to leave the store so that his behaviour does not impact the others. In the first scenario, we should calm the situation down, listen to what a customer has to say, try to understand the reason of his frustration and focus on the solution (maybe a new, free coffee prepared according to his wish would make him happy?).

How would you handle a customer who is not happy with his drink?

An open and sincere discussion is usually a good starting point. You should try to understand why he is unhappy and what his expectations are. Most of the people will get satisfied with a new, free coffee but sometime a customer may expect something completely different. He may want to get advice about what coffee to order the next time or simply to share his feedback about the product’s quality (sweetness or flavour of a new syrup, size of drinks etc.). In such situations, give the customer the time and the attention, show understanding and inform what you will do next, for example: “I will share this feedback with our store manager”.

A customer ordered a product which cannot be prepared because one of the ingredients is over. How will you handle such a situation?

Laying doesn’t pay. The best solution is, to tell the truth, apologize, ensure that this is a temporary situation, that the missing ingredient is on the way and finally propose some alternatives. Do not leave the customer with the problem and do not force him to search for an alternative by himself, on the spot, at a counter. Show solidarity and give a helping hand.

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How do you work in a team?

This is also a typical Starbucks Interview Question. At Starbucks, teamwork is a key. Many tasks you will be doing by yourself (for example drinks preparation) but at the same time, you will be also depended on others and will need to work in sync with the rest of your team. See and describe teamwork as the force. For example, if we get an order for 3 coffees and we ask 2 of our colleagues-baristas to prepare everyone 1 coffee for us, our customer can get 3 equally hot coffees in a time required for the preparation of only 1 coffee. And customers’ satisfaction is the measure of our and the company’s success.

Why did you apply for Starbucks?

One more popular Starbucks Interview Question. Even if this is going to be your first job and you applied for it just to get an experience required for the work of your dreams, do not share such motivation during the job interview. Explain your motivation in a way to show that you are a perfect candidate. Starbucks is looking for dynamic and motivated employees who will fit the company’s culture and share their passion for coffee. You can also refer to some of the values which distinguish Starbucks from the other coffee stores, like care for the environment, supporting the local food collection initiatives and global coffee and tea fair trade.

See also: Chick-Fil-A Interview Questions

Why should we hire you?

As we have already mentioned, most of the job positions at Starbucks (barista, cashier…) do not require any specific experience or skills. If you already have some job experience, it will be a plus. If not, think about your strengths and how they can be useful in your future job. Maybe you are fast learning, communicative, efficient, accurate…?

What is your availability?

Starbucks stores are often open until late evening, at night, on weekends and holidays and this is why your availability is crucial. Prepare in advance your typical schedule, let’s say for a week, and come prepared for a job interview. Think about your bus schedule, school schedule, taking care of siblings etc.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

Many employers would like to hear that in 5 years you hope to still work in their company. If you get this question during the interview, it means that most probably your future employer is looking for a long-term employee. If you have proper skills, 5 years can be enough to become for example a store manager. Think about this perspective and about the possible ways how to get there.

Do you have any questions for us?

Take a chance to show that you treat your future job seriously and show your interest in your future responsibilities. You can ask for example about the shift duration, breaks, tips policy, growth and education opportunities, other benefits also how your performance will be measured or if there is anything else that you should be aware of about this job position.

Starbucks job positions and salary rates

According to indeed.com, the average Starbucks hourly rates in the U.S. are as follows:

  • Barista: around $11/hour
  • Cashier: around $12/hour
  • Shift Manager: between $13 and $14/hour
  • Supervisor: around $16/hour

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