4 Reasons You Can Learn a 'Latte' From Starbuck's Hiring Process

The hiring process can be a long and tedious task. Starbucks have an innovative approach that brightens up the process! Read here to learn more. Enjoy!

June 20, 2023

What interview questions does Starbucks ask?

How do they find perfect new employees?

There’s a lot we can all learn from the American coffee company’s hiring process.

Ever since Starbucks was founded in Seattle back in 1971, it’s gone on to establish itself as the hub of coffee around the world.

Whether you’re just passing through and want your daily caffeine fix or simply need somewhere to relax and do some work, Starbucks is the place to go.

However, it isn’t just their tasty coffee beans that keep customers flocking back in their millions, it’s the experience too.

From day one, CEO Howard Schultz has always prioritised hiring baristas that can provide excellent customer service.

So, what’s their secret recipe to finding the right people?

Here’s everything you need to know about Starbuck’s hiring process.

A thorough hiring process

It’s not uncommon to see retailers, cafés and restaurants rush their recruitment process just to ensure they have an extra member of staff on-hand to help during peak season.

But not Starbucks.

While their interview process is simple enough, the screening process is anything but.

They like to be thorough to make sure candidates are the ideal cultural fit and have the experience to do a top job.

Second stage interviews are very different from the vast majority of competitors too, with them taking place in front of a panel.

The whole hiring process can last up to three weeks, with interviews being held over multiple locations and with different managers.

It’s all about laying the foundations.

Whether you’re hiring a part-time administrator or a senior manager at your business, you should treat every recruitment process with the same attention to detail.

The hiring process is fun

You don’t hear that very often!

Despite the whole process being thorough, Starbucks never forget about the important things.

On their career website, they state to “Be yourself. We want to get to know you” – which is very evident from the way that they treat their candidates.  

At the end of the day, if a candidate is expected to spend up to 37.5 hours a week in their café, it pays to make things fun and exciting.

And this starts with the hiring process.

They pride themselves on creating a vibrant work culture, which is echoed in the warm welcomes employees give them.

On Glassdoor, various reviews from candidates mention how at ease they felt during the interview, as well as the collective enthusiasm from all the employees.

Candidates are even offered a drink when they arrive.

What does your business do to improve the candidate experience?

Do you inform all of your employees before the interviews begin so that they can provide a warm welcome to the candidates?

Are your interviews relaxed and fun?

Personality is everything

When it comes to customer-facing roles, personality is imperative.

There’s nothing worse than being greeted by some grumpy and rude employee when you go to pay for something.

Interestingly, Starbuck’s hiring process doesn’t involve any CVs.

To allow them to get to know the candidates’ personalities, they have a tailored application form for them to fill out.

It allows the candidates to showcase who they are, what qualities they bring and how good their customer service skills are.

This even applies at senior management level too, with ex-CIO of Starbucks, Stephen Gillett once saying: “I’ve seen your resume. Now I want to see you”.

The idea is, experience and skills might get you through the door, but it’s their character and personality that’ll get them the job.

While ditching CVs might not work for your business, it’s definitely worth including some sort of questionnaire as a part of the shortlisting process.

Straightforward competency-based interview questions

If you’re wondering what interview questions Starbucks asks, then you’re in luck.

Instead of spending the whole interview trying to perplex their candidates with a series of brain teasers, they focus on competency-based questions.

For example:

- How would you react to a customer reacting angrily?

- What do you do for fun?

- What is your greatest strength?

- What is your greatest weakness?

Deciding what interview questions to ask solely depends on what kind of job you’re hiring for.

When you’re looking for an IT professional, brain teaser questions are perfectly fine, as they can test their ability to solve complex questions under pressure.

However, if you’re looking for someone with great customer service skills, classic competency-based interview questions are the way forward.

Just remember to combine these with a few light-hearted ice-breaker questions to lighten the mood as well.

Final thoughts

The Starbucks hiring process won’t win any awards for innovation, but it’s a refreshing reminder to us all that personality and fantastic customer service is key.

As a customer, their dedication to creating a fun work culture and environment is evident every time you walk through the door.

Using some of these tips can help your business focus on hiring more loyal candidates who will always give you 100% day in and day out.

Enjoyed reading this?

Then subscribe to our free recruitment blog for more tips.

Coburg Banks - Multi-Sector Recruitment Agency
We help great people get brilliant jobs in top companies.

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Policy for more information.