Starbucks Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
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Assistant Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Starbucks in March 2014.
Interview Details – I submitted an application online. Received a call from a recruiter about a week later for an initial phone screen. During this brief 15 minute conversation, I was asked about my current responsibilities at my job and how it relates to the ASM position, and how my education (BA in Business) has prepared me for the role. Of course, you will also be asked "Why Starbucks?". It's good to answer that question with a story of a great experience you've had at Starbucks and why that has shown you that you want to be a part of the culture. Be prepared to answer what the highlights of your career have been so far, and if you have experience with profit and loss statements (trust me, they will ask this). If you have no P&L experience, be up front about that, but tell them about what financial documents you do have access to (I have no P&L responsibility in my current role, but I have access to sales numbers and guest survey scores. I also mentioned that I took three accounting classes in college and am very familiar with P&Ls as a result). It was all informal, not technically an interview, but you do need to make a good impression to get asked for the real phone interview.
The next step is a more in depth phone interview, about 45 mins, with the same recruiter. All behavioral questions, STAR format. They will go over the "hows" of your resume more than the "whats". Be prepared with specific examples. Feel free to use names of co workers to help make your stories more real and personal. The questions I was asked:
-Tell me about a time when you had an uncooperative coworker or a coworker you didn't get along with. What was the situation, why were they uncooperative, what was the result?
-Tell me about a time you had to plan out a project. What was your role, etc.
-Tell me about a time you had to have a tough conversation with someone at work.
-Tell me about a time you had to bring a co-workers performance up.
They will ask probing questions about additional actions you took, why you think coworkers were acting in a particular way, etc. Make sure you're able to get as specific as possible about these situations and your actions in them. I passed and was immediately asked for possible dates for a final interview.
The next interview is in-person with two District Managers at a local Starbucks. It will take place on the floor within earshot of customers, so be prepared to that. Be sure to accept the offer of a free drink, because you want to show that you love coffee. Obviously, don't ask for a caramel Frappucino or something ridiculous. I kept it simple and got a Venti Pike Place blend.
The two DMs will probably both have an interview packet, but it will be mostly one asking the questions and one writing your answers (for me it was a little bit of both). These questions are largely the same as the phone interview questions. My questions were:
-Tell me about a time when you had a communication breakdown with a co worker or with your team.
-Tell me about a time you had to have a tough conversation with a co worker (exact question from the phone interview)
-What are your strengths? Give an example of a time you displayed this.
-What are your weaknesses? What are you doing to work on this?
-What are you doing for your personal and professional development?
-Tell me about a time when you didn't have all the answers or didn't know what to do next (this may be the most important question, because they told me they usually never get good answers to this. Luckily, mine was high scope and relevant)
-Tell me about a time when you had to plan out a project. (Same as phone interview question. Make sure you give a high scope answer)
They'll ask you if you have any questions and if you have anything to add. Ask about community projects at Starbucks and how you can get involved, how much autonomy ASMs have to make decisions, why the DMs themselves chose Starbucks, etc.
I interviewed on a Friday and got the offer Monday afternoon. I'm incredibly excited for this opportunity. I want to make sure everyone can prepare for these interviews as well as I did, so I wanted to make this as detailed as possible.
Interview Question – "Tell me about a time you didn't have all the answers" and "Tell me about a time when you had to plan out a project". Make sure these answers are very high scope and show critical thinking, talent management, inspiration, etc. View Answer
Negotiation Details – Minimal negotiation room. I was hired at one of the highest pay grades for ASMs at 37k because of my experience and my BA in Business. The benefits are excellent and are really what sets Starbucks apart. I accepted this offer over a potential $43k offer from a different company because of the culture and benefits here.
Barista Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Starbucks
Interview Details – I had experience in coffee shops, learned the dress code, shirts with collars.....bought the book on CD, listen to it over and over, applied for the job, I had no tattoos, the assistant manager, had tattoos from her finger to her elbow! I no longer go to Starbucks.
Interview Question – Availability is the biggest issue. I said I was avail, 24 X7, including holidays, and I wouldbe happy to work any shift. I did not get a call back......they are looking for reasons NOT to hire you. Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
Barista - Starbucks Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied in-person and the process took a day - interviewed at Starbucks in January 2012.
Interview Details – Just give the usual " hard working, punctual, honest" worker line. Regardless, it is all up to the store manager to hire. First impression is key. But if the store manager likes your personality, you have the job rather or not you answered correctly or not.
Interview Question – Really it is dummy proof Answer Question
Negotiation Details – There is no negotiation. It is take it or leave it.
Barista Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Starbucks in August 2013.
Interview Details – Received a call from the store manager about a interview. Went in for my interview was asked the usual questions, how well do you work under pressure? what if questions.
Interview Question – Name a time where you solved a problem? View Answer
Very Difficult Interview
Retail Store Manager Interview (Negative Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through other source and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Starbucks in December 2013.
Interview Details – It took me 3 years to be promoted to Assistant manager. failed 3 interviews by 6 different district managers who don't know your worth ethic or you. very nerve wracking. Once i got to assistant the training is short and horrible. I did not get to finish training i don't think. I was a manager with my own store for over a year and got a DM who failed my on my last interview and had to come back and tell me I was promoted after a "round table discussion". After this she had a vendetta. Never had write ups before this and she gave me 3 over a 6 month period and was terminated. I wrote howard shultz a letter and partner resources contacted me back. not Howard. I tried to fight for my job but even though I was there 7 years and believe I was wrongfully terminated they didn't care. I now have to find a new career at age 37. The interview process is ridiculous. Good luck if you want anything quickly.
Interview Question – All of the interview questions they make difficult. They want to hear how you got out of a tough situation. You may not have had one so you have to make up a situation just to answer the question. My store manager had to coach me on how to answer the questions with the "Starbuck's Lingo". Pretty ridiculous. If you thought you answered the questions perfectly. you didn't! You probably failed. They do not pass anyone on their first interview! remember "It's JUST coffee!" View Answer
Barista - Starbucks Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Starbucks in July 2014.
Interview Details – The interview was held at a local Starbucks where there were several area managers meeting with prospective employees. The atmosphere was relaxed, but professional. There were several specific questions asked that required me to describe in detail how I solved a customer service issue in one of my past work environments. I described the issue, what actions I took to solve the issue, and the subsequent outcome of my actions (how the issue was resolved).
Interview Question – The toughest question I was asked had to do with how I handled a situation where a customer was not happy. Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
Barista Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Starbucks in July 2013.
Interview Details – Starbucks requires that you submit an online application, rather than applying in person. You apply via their site and can list up to 10 preferred stores. Your application is sent to the managers of those store first, then made available to other managers at a later date. In my experience, it was highly beneficial to go to the stores you applied to an ask to see the manager prior to being contacted about an interview. It helped to put a face to the name. If the stores are hiring, you will be contacted about an interview by the interested store manager. Mine took place in the back of the store and was fairly informal. My manager and I had a brief conversation (a get to know you sort of thing) then moved on to a series of situational questions. These are provided by the corporate office and I didn't get the impression that they varied among stores. They included: Tell us about a time you were late to work, what did you do? What is something you had to do for a job that you did not want to do? How did you handle it? etc. I was contacted with and offer within two weeks of interviewing.
Interview Question – All the questions were fairly straight forward. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – There was not any negotiation. I began at local minimum wage ($8.25) and received a raise based on the regional profile after six months. After that, baristas receive a performance based raise every six months.
Very Easy Interview
Barista On UK Campus Starbucks Interview (Positive Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Starbucks in August 2010.
Interview Details – The questions I was asked in my interview 4 years ago are the same questions I use now that I am a manager. As a manager, I would ask people typical questions like tell me about yourself, strengths/ weaknesses and such. One of the most important questions I would ask was "what does excellent customer service mean to you/ give me an example of what it is". I also would ask about a time the person provided excellent customer service to someone.
Interview Question – If you cannot provide a good answer about excellent customer service, I cannot see the interview going well for you. That is everything to Starbucks! Customers are everything. Everything else in the interview like availability and hours is pretty straight forward questions. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – When I did my phone interview, I was called back an hour later with an offer. I accept and was told when my training was scheduled and what to wear (dress code standards). Remember: this was a licensed store Starbucks on the University of Kentucky's campus. Although it is similar to other store procedures, this could vary depending on location.
Barista - Starbucks Interview (Negative Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied in-person and the process took a day - interviewed at Starbucks in May 2014.
Interview Details – There were two managers there that I had previously talked to about an interview. When I first arrived they didn't have my resumes that I sent them a week before, but I did bring extras so I handed them each one. Began with the basic questions "Tell me about yourself" and "why starbucks" Now I graduated with an ME degree but Im working on a startup in my spare time so I wasnt looking for an engineering job, but they seemed to be very skeptical about this. I tried to talk heavily about my customer service experience and communication skills and the fact I love Starbucks. Those two questions took about 3 minutes to answer.
Next came the "situational questions" read straight from a piece of paper. There were around 5 and I cant remember all of them...
"Tell me about a time where something went wrong at your previous job and the boss wasn't there-what did you do"
"Give me a specific example of when you encountered unfairness amongst your co-workers and how you handled it"
These took about 1-2 minutes each to answer.
Then she said "well thats it" this was about 10 minutes in and there hadn't been any questions about previous skills, customer service experience, or anything. I didn't even get any questions during my situational responses. If I knew that was going to happen I would have talked more in the introduction. But I feel like they weren't even taking my application seriously since they didnt even have my resume. I was just very disappointed over all on my way out.
Interview Question – "Give me a specific example of when you encountered unfairness amongst your co-workers and how you handled it" View Answer
Barista Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Starbucks
Interview Details – Easy hire, easy interview. Met one on one and discussed your position and when to start. Most employees are very nice and overall this process was smooth. Once hired, you are trained but as to how well, it depends on location.
Interview Question – There were no difficult questions. Answer Question
Interviews for Top Jobs at Starbucks