Starbucks Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 15, 2020
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You need your coffee before starting work, but what if coffee was your work? If you apply for a job at Starbucks, it may just be.

Starbucks has over 31,100 locations across 76 countries and is always looking for people to fill roles. They have openings for everything from baristas in their retail stores to leaders in their corporate offices. No matter what your skills are, there’s an opportunity that could be the perfect fit.

The most common job available at Starbucks is as a barista who makes their signature drinks. There are also usually opportunities to join their retail management and be a supervisor of a store. You usually need to start as a barista, so we’ll cover the basics of landing your first job at Starbucks in this guide. We’ll give you the most common interview questions and tips on how to answer them, so you’re ready to land the job in no time.

Starbucks Job Perks

Why should you apply for a job at Starbucks? The answers might be different for different people, but there are a few great opportunities and perks that you can gain as an employee of the famous coffee shop.

If you’re looking for an entry-level job, Starbucks should be at the top of your list. They’re known for taking on young employees who might not have tons of work experience and giving great training. Almost anyone can land a barista job with enough preparation.

Starbucks is also a great place to work with amazing employee benefits. As an employee, you’ll have access to healthcare coverage, a retirement plan with company match, stock options, paid time off, parental leave, education opportunities, and partner assistance programs. Known for taking care of its employees, Starbucks can be a great place to start out and eventually grow professionally.

Employees also get great little perks for working in-store. You can get discounts on drinks and merchandise, plus walk away with free tea or coffee each week. The company also offers bonus perks, like subscriptions and support for your personal life.

Don’t forget about the most obvious perk of working for Starbucks – if you’re a coffee-lover, you’ll spend your day around your favorite drink. You can become a master barista with their training program and learn how to make all of their signature drinks. It’s an excellent environment for anyone who loves their morning cup.

15 Starbucks Interview Questions With Answers

So, you’ve decided to go ahead and apply for a job with Starbucks. First, you should take a look at their careers page and get familiar with the opportunities available. It’s a good idea to research what the job entails and how to prep for the interview. Our guide will get you ready for the interview, but if you want more tips for the application, check out the Starbucks page.

We’re going to give you some common questions that Starbucks will ask you in a first interview and some example answers, but our number one tip to you is to make your answers your own. Starbucks prides itself on crafting a company culture and hiring people who can bring that warmth to life.

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Do as much research as you can on how you can align your answers with the company’s goals, but make sure you don’t come off as forced. If it’s a natural fit, you’ll have great responses off the bat; you might just need to fine-tune them a bit. Don’t forget to brush up on your interviewing skills with some interview tips and create a professional impression when you show up to the interview.

  1. Why do you want to work at Starbucks?

    Working at Starbucks will allow me to explore my passion for coffee and align my personal values with my work. Starbucks calls its employees “partners” instead of employees or staff, so I’d love to be part of a culture that empowers employees to take responsibility and ownership in their work.

    I also love coffee, and I can’t leave the house without my morning cup. Knowing that I can work in an environment where I can share my passion and knowledge with other people is a huge perk to the job for me.

  2. What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks?

    I love the Caramel Brulee Latte when the holiday menu is available. It’s the perfect combination of sweetness and warmth with the tasty burnt caramel flavor. When the holiday menu isn’t around, the cold brew with foam is my go-to. It highlights the rich flavors of the coffee with a little bit of creamy sweetness.

    [Note: sometimes this question will be asked after your interviewer tells you to order a complimentary drink, and they’ll ask you why you chose that drink.]

  3. How would you approach an issue where a customer says their drink is wrong?

    I’d start by asking them to explain the problem and tell me what they ordered and what drink they got. If the drinks got mixed up, I’d make a new one right away.

    If there’s something more particular that they don’t like, like sweetness or temperature, I’d ask how they want their drink remade and do it again.

  4. What does customer service mean to you?

    To me, customer service is making sure the customer is satisfied with their experience from the moment they walk in to when they finish their drink or whatever they bought.

    You want to make them happy enough that they’ll return, and that can mean anything from getting their order right on the first try to learning the names of frequent customers. Anything to make the time that they spend in the store feel a bit special.

  5. If we ran out of a product or ingredient, how would you tell the customer?

    I’d let them know that we can’t make exactly what they asked for, then give a few alternatives. For example, if they ordered a blueberry scone, I’d let them know we have vanilla bean scones or cranberry orange scones still available.

    Or if there were an issue with the coffee, like running out of vanilla syrup, I’d offer vanilla syrup alternatives in their coffee. I would go through our menu and provide similar options until they find a product that they like.

  6. How would you describe your teamwork skills?

    I love working with other people and collaborating to get a job done. I know that in this position, I’d need to rely on my coworkers to get orders taken and completed, as well as be a reliable team player.

    I have worked on teams before, like group projects and sports teams, to reach a common goal. I know how to participate and get my tasks done so my teammates can get their work done too.

  7. What skills make you well-equipped for this role?

    I think that I’m a patient and attentive person. I believe that patience can help me as I work with customers and my coworkers to make sure everyone is satisfied with their experience, even if someone is difficult to work with.

    I also pay attention to detail and try to get things right on the first try, which can mean fewer mistakes and happier customers.

  8. Can you work in a fast-paced environment?

    Yes, I think I work well under pressure, and I can meet my goals even if there’s a lot of multitasking involved. In my previous job, I was responsible for the front desk of a doctor’s office, so I needed to manage answering the phone, greeting patients, getting paperwork filled out, and checking patients out or scheduling another appointment after their visit.

    I feel confident in my ability to multitask and work in an environment where there’s always something going on.

  9. What is good customer service to you?

    Great customer service is making sure that the customer is happy from start to finish and making sure their experience is special. It can be something simple like greeting them by name if they’re a regular, knowing what their usual drink is, or finding a way to make them feel unique.

  10. How would you handle a situation with a rude customer?

    I would make sure that I don’t take the confrontation personally and remain calm as I ask why they’re unhappy. I would do everything I can to fix the situation on my own, but bring in a coworker or manager if I need help. It’s important to make sure the customer is happy and put my feelings aside in any confrontation with a customer.

  11. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

    I’d like to be the shift manager of one of your locations after working my way up from barista. I love that Starbucks has opportunities to grow within the company, and I’d love to take advantage of that. I hope to also head to college during that time and take advantage of all of the educational opportunities that the company provides.

  12. Can you explain a time when you made a mistake and how you fixed it?

    In my last job, I missed a big deadline to get paperwork handed over to my boss. When I realized that I had missed it, I let my boss know right away and apologized for the mistake.

    I immediately started pulling all of the paperwork together and got it to my boss within a few hours. After that incident, I made sure to keep a diary with all major deadlines in it, so I didn’t miss another deadline, and I haven’t had any mistakes like that since.

  13. Are you available to work days, nights, weekends, and holidays?

    Yes, I’m happy to take on any shifts that you need me to. The only other commitment I have is my night classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, so I wouldn’t be able to work those shifts.

  14. If you were working the register and the line started to get long, what would you do?

    I would start by apologizing to the customers for the long wait as I take their order. I would see if one of my coworkers could start taking orders on another register and, if not, make sure the customers know that we’re sorry about the wait.

  15. How do you handle conflict with coworkers?

    I like to talk things out if there’s an issue between a coworker and me. I want to see if we can resolve it on our own first, but if we need a friend or manager to mediate, I’m happy to bring other people in.

    I think it’s essential that there’s an opportunity for clear communication between coworkers before bringing other people into the conversation.

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Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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