25+ Starbucks Interview Questions & Best Sample Answers

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Looking for Starbucks interview questions and answers? Starbucks Corporation is an American multinational coffee company and chain of coffeehouses. Starbucks is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain. And is said to be the main representative of the United State’s second wave of coffee culture.

Starbucks has been defined as one of the best places to work in the world. Starbucks Corporation prides itself on defining its mission and values for its employees. On the Starbucks company culture section of their corporate website, they define their mission as to “inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

Starbucks refers to their baristas as “partners.” It goes on to define their values of the partners as “creating a culture of warmth and belonging, delivering our very best in all we do, acting with courage, and being present and connecting with transparency, dignity, and respect.”

Preparing for a Starbucks Interview

Starbucks is one of the unique companies globally. In addition to their company values and core mission, they help job seekers prepare for job interviews. Under the Starbucks careers portion of the corporate website, a job seeker can find information on tailoring their resume for a Starbucks job application and ways to prepare for interviews with a Starbucks store manager.

Starbucks tips to prepare for an interview:

  • Research company culture by understanding Starbucks’ Mission & Values and reviewing Starbucks News.
  • Familiarize yourself with behavioral-based interviewing. Prepare specific examples reflecting the competencies of the role.
  • Visit a Starbucks® store to observe the operation and familiarize yourself with our products.
  • Engage with Starbucks on our social media channels, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

This portion of the Starbucks website also answers questions regarding the Starbucks interview process, Starbucks hiring process, the job application process, applying for more than one position at a time, and how to apply with no previous barista experience.

When preparing for any job interview, it’s important to review the job description in advance of the interview. Whether it's a phone interview or on-location interview at a Starbucks coffee shop (a Starbucks location), it’s important to speak to the requirements in the job description or job advertisement (sometimes referred to as a “job ad”).

A behavioral interview question may get asked by the hiring manager, shift manager, or store manager. A behavioral interview question will begin with “Tell me about a time.” And provides an opportunity for the candidate to explain an “on the job” work experience that alludes to particular skills or characteristics the employer is looking for. Candidates should use the STAR Method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) when answering a behavioral question.

All interview answers should take no more than 90-seconds to complete. The applicant should practice in advance, performing a mock interview with a friend, having them pretend to be the interviewer, and ask the interview questions below.

Starbucks Interview Questions & Answers

Below are interview questions that a job applicant and job candidate might expect to hear when attending a Starbucks barista interview.

Why do you want to work at Starbucks?

Answer: I firmly believe the Starbucks company culture and the experience of being at a Starbucks has always been something that I’ve cherished. I’ve been able to share coffee drinks with friends, family, and new contacts. It has always been a place of solace for me. And I really want to bring that same opportunity to others.

Why do you want to be a Starbucks barista?

Answer: I love coffee. I’ve enjoyed coffee for almost my entire life. And the art of it is something I appreciate. There are subtle differences in the way that coffee can be prepared. And this is what makes every single cup special.

What part of our core values do you resonate with?

Answer: Nurturing the human spirit. This is certainly what I felt when I first visited a store. It was the smell, the environment, the music, everything that came with the customer experience.

Why do you love coffee?

Answer: I start my day with a cup every morning. I appreciate the art of how every single cup can have an identity of its own. From the foam down to the amount of milk that’s put into the cup. I appreciate how it takes life, and that’s the reason why each cup can be cherished.

What does customer service mean to you?

Answer: Customer service is empathy and active-listening. When dealing with customers, I want to listen to them, try to address their needs, and deliver an incredible experience. I want them to come back, remember me by name, and look for me. I want them to remember the quality of care I can provide to them.

What would you do if you made a customer’s drink incorrectly?

Answer: The first thing we would do is immediately remake the drink and apologize to the customer. If we can, try to have a short conversation with the customer to break the ice. And then apologize once more for the mistake.

How would you coordinate with another Starbucks employee?

Answer: With clear, polite, considerate, and quality communication between one another. There isn’t much space behind the espresso machine. We need to be working together, coordinating like a football team or like we’re dancing!

How would you deal with an angry customer?

Answer: I would first try to listen to the customer and understand why they are upset. Then address the problem calmly. If I didn’t address the customer correctly, I would ask a shift manager to help with the situation and see if we can resolve it.

How would you practice “great customer service”?

Answer: By trying to learn customers' names and repeat customers’ drink orders. To try to greet them by name as they enter the Starbucks location. I think that’s one simple way to go above and beyond and offer a customized or tailored service.

What customer service skills can you bring to the role?

Answer: I believe active-listening is a highly overlooked skill. It is something that not many people can do. The art of listening is essential and difficult. This is a skill that I can bring to the table.

How would you define “people skills”?

Answer: I would say connecting with others by sharing conversation in something simple. It could be asking about the weather or their job. Simply asking how they are feeling or how their day is going. This is being able to practice people or social skills. It’s just about having a positive mindset and attitude and connecting with customers and people.

Are you willing to complete barista training?

Answer: Absolutely. I would love to learn how to make all the Starbucks coffee drinks and blended drinks. I would love to attend the barista class and training program that’s offered by Starbucks.

What skill do you feel is more important to making great coffee?

Answer: I believe that attention to detail is the most important. Paying attention to how long the shots are taking to pull from the espresso machine. Or looking at the foam to make sure that it's thick enough for the customer. These are details that the customer will appreciate when they take that first sip.

What would you do if your cash register was over by $20 at the end of your shift?

Answer: I would inform the shift supervisor and shift manager at the end of the evening and take instruction from them. I would never consider any sort of theft from the store. I would be looking to follow both company policies and store policies in these types of situations.

When did you know that you wanted to start working with coffee?

Answer: I grew up with coffee in my household. I had an Italian mother, and she always had a coffee brewing cup for guests. It was something that we drank before or after meals. Or in the morning. The smell of it would have a strong presence in the household. And I became attracted to this because it was more of a tradition for us than anything else. When I started to think about where I wanted to begin my career, Starbucks came up. It started to align as both a passion of mine from childhood and a way of being exposed to a healthy working environment.

What's a quality that you can bring with you to the team?

Answer: I've always had a strong level of enthusiasm, even when feeling "down." I can bring this with me to the team. Try to help them have fun when they aren't feeling optimistic. Or try to have a new perspective on matters that are making them feel unmotivated. I'm excellent at this, and it's something I believe can be a value to the team and this store.

What do you feel like you might struggle with when working here?

Answer: Honestly, I might struggle with being able to multitask. I've seen some employees have to manage both the drive-thru window, taking orders, making coffee, and preparing food. This is something I'm concerned about when the team is small. I don't want to present an opportunity for customer service to decline. Or for the quality of the food to go down. But I have a feeling that my communication skills will assist me with this process. And I will be able to ask for help when I need it.

Why is coordination important in the workplace?

Answer: At Starbucks, coordination is everything. Working with our fellow employees and asking them for assistance is what makes wait times short. And what makes the drive-thru lines move quickly. We need to be able to coordinate as a team and dance in the workplace.

What is it about Starbucks that will help you with your career?

Answer: For me, Starbucks is simply the best at what it does. It provides a world-class customer experience while maintaining a high-quality product. This means that I will receive great training, I will work with other happy and positive people, and Starbucks is clearly a place to advance myself if I choose to do so. The atmosphere in Starbucks retail locations is another significant attraction to me and my career development. The staff is all polite, the baristas go out of their way to make sure a high quality-standard is being provided, and the great-tasting coffee and food is always a pleasant experience for me as a customer. In these types of working conditions, there will be a plethora of skills and expertise that I will be able to gain as an associate.

What type of customer service methods do you think are unique to you?

Answer: First, I think that Starbucks has always been known for its efficiency. This means that I want to provide a high-quality experience, but I also want to quickly serve our customers. This includes drive-thru lines and making sure customers are being handled according to store policy. I would try to answer questions that any customer has. This includes questions about gift cards or purchases. As well as try to provide customers an answer on what type of coffee grinding needs they have for coffee purchases.

Tell me about a time you demonstrated great teamwork.

Answer: I was working in a previous retail setting. And there was a customer who had asked me a question that I wasn't familiar with. I wanted to answer the question for the customer. But noticed that all associates were busy occupied with other customers. At that time, I decided it was best if I could ask for help. I asked our store manager, who was occupied, but I mentioned this would be an important skill for me to learn. And he/she understood and moved forward with helping me. This is an example of great teamwork because I wanted to learn and was aware of my surroundings, and wanted to make sure every associate was working efficiently.

What does great teamwork mean to you?

Answer: I'd like to tell a small story of great teamwork. A store manager previously asked our team to stay with the store later in the working hours to make sure that store stock was properly ordered and managed. Our inventory was simply out of control. During this time, job titles went away. And it was up to each person to decide how they might help with the process. I decided to assist with counting and checking stock before it was put into the ordering system. I asked the rest of the team if this would be helpful. And it seemed to inspire other workers to want to define how they might be able to help with the process as it got started. Working as a team, supporting each other, and maintaining positive communication is key to achieving goals for the business and operating quickly with a high standard of work.

How would you describe your working style?

Answer: I would take pride in my job at Starbucks. I want to be adaptable, comfortable, and serving customers at all times. In my last job, it became clear how important it is to develop meaningful relationships with customers.

Questions to Ask the Interviewer

Below are questions to ask the interviewer or recruiter at the end of the interview.

Top questions to ask

  • Can you tell me more about the hiring process and future interview process?
  • Will there be a second interview before the position is offered to me?
  • Is there any assessment test that needs to be taken to receive a job here?
  • What’s it like to be a Target employee?
  • What’s the training process like at Target?
  • Are there any benefits for seasonal employees?
  • What advice would you give to an interviewee who wants to work at Target?
  • Can you tell me what you personally value about the company culture here?

More questions to ask

  • What are the short-term goals for the role?
  • What are the long-term goals for the role?
  • How would I be able to apply my problem-solving skills in this role?
  • Can you tell me more about what the onboarding process is like for this role?
  • What do you think the work-life balance will look like for this role?
  • When looking at me as a candidate, what do you think the team will value the most?
  • What're you most concerned about when it comes to myself as a candidate?
  • What skills do you feel every candidate should have in this role?
  • What is your personal management style?
  • Can you tell me more about what the hiring process has been like for this role?
  • What follow-up questions would you ask if you were trying to get hired in this role?
  • What're the competencies you feel the team will value the most?
  • What are the long-term plans for the department or team I'm going to be working with?
  • What're the strengths and weaknesses you feel this role should have more of?
  • What common interview questions would you advise someone to stop asking?
  • Give me a one-word answer of how you would describe the company's culture.
  • What goals should I have as a candidate in this role?
  • What're your goals for this role?
  • What are the goals the team has for this role?
  • What’s the biggest challenge you could see me getting enthusiastic about in this position?
  • What career advice do you think the previous employee in this role would want to provide me?

When asking questions to an interviewer, this should be done at the end of the interview. Interviewers will provide ample time at the end of the interview to ask questions. Having these questions prepared in advance is beneficial.

If the interviewer answers one of the prepared questions, skip that question and move onto the next one. Try to ask at least three to five questions to the interviewer. This will show a healthy amount of engagement in the interview.

Starbucks Interview Outfit

Those interviewing for a barista or store manager position should wear a business casual outfit. For men, this consists of pants (not jeans) in darker colors along with a button-up shirt, with an accompanying sweater, cardigan, or casual jacket. This consists of a long skirt or pants, with a button-up shirt, and comfortable shoes rather than high-heels for women.

Find out more information on what to wear to a Starbucks interview here.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, Dice.com, WorkWise, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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