Top 15 Starbucks Interview Questions (Example Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

Once upon a time, people balked at the idea of a $5 cup of coffee. “No way will people pay that,” many thought, “especially since you can get a cup of joe for $1 or less.” Well, they may have seemed true, but it turned out it wasn’t. Starbucks took the nation by storm.

If you want to work for the company that proved $5 isn’t too much for a great cup of coffee, you’ll need to nail your Starbucks interview questions. When you do, you can join the 346,000 team members, potentially in about a week.

That’s right. The company that’s powered by java has a speedy (caffeine-powered?) hiring process if they have a current opening. You won’t have a lot of time to prepare once you submit an application. That’s why it’s smart to start preparing for your Starbucks interview now.

But what if you already applied? Are you doomed? No, of course not. We have your back. If you want to make sure you are ready to shine when you answer the Starbucks interview questions, here’s everything you need to know.

How to Answer Starbucks Interview Questions                                                    

Alright, you’re probably wondering, “Where are those Starbucks interview questions I came here for?” We promise; they are coming. The trick is, simply knowing what you might be asked isn’t enough; you need to know how to answer any question you might face.

When you interview for a company, you want to make sure your answers speak their language. You have to align your approach with Starbucks’ priorities. While that may sound challenging, it doesn’t have to be. With the right interview strategy, you can do it.

So, let’s talk about strategy. If you want to be ready to knock the hiring manager’s socks off, research is a must.

Begin by scouring the Starbucks job description for the position you’re trying to land. Pay special attention to the “must-haves list” if they have one. It outlines precisely what the hiring manager is trying to find. If you can show them that you bring all or most of those skills and traits to the table, you’re increasing your odds of being selected.

After that, you want to dig deeper. Starbucks tries to craft a particular culture, so you can stand out if you can showcase that you’d fit in well if you’re chosen for the position. To do that, you need to learn about Starbucks’ culture. On a good note, that isn’t particularly difficult.

Usually, you can learn a ton about a company’s culture by turning to a few resources. Start by heading to the Starbucks website and reviewing the company’s mission and values statements. Those tidbits are reflections of the company’s priorities, which influence their culture.

Next, review the social media accounts. Most businesses use their social media accounts to showcase their employer brand, at least to a degree. Plus, it gives them a place to highlight the company’s accomplishments, community contributions, and more. You’ll learn a surprising amount about Starbucks’ culture if you just spend a little time looking around.

MIKE'S TIP: Starbucks makes it ridiculously easy to prepare for their interviews. On its FAQs page, you’ll find a link to the mission and values statements, another for recent news, and one for each of Starbucks’ social media accounts. Not only does that make finding the details simple, but it also tells you something important; there’s a good chance you’re going to be asked Starbucks interview questions about that information. Seriously, if you don’t take advantage of this, you probably won’t stand out in the eyes of the hiring manager. So, make sure to use every tool they are giving you, allowing you to increase your odds of being selected.

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to put that information to work. How do you do that? By incorporating relevant points into your answers.

In some cases, that’s incredibly easy. When a Starbucks interview question is straightforward – like, “Do you have skill X?” – figuring out what to say is simple. If you have the skill, you confirm that you do. Then, you back that up with an example that proves you aren’t just saying “yes” because that’s what they want to hear.

Even if you don’t have the skills, the right approach isn’t hard to nail. Be honest and say that you don’t, but don’t stop there. Instead, either discuss that you’d like to have the skills, how you would acquire the capabilities, or steps you are currently taking to improve in that area. Any of those approaches show you are willing to learn, so it can be effective.

Alright, we’ve covered how to handle the straightforward questions. But what about those tricky behavioral interview questions? For those, a “yes” or “no” answer won’t work. Plus, in many cases, there technically isn’t a “right” or “wrong” answer. What’s a candidate to do?

Well, first, don’t panic. With the right formula, you can shine when you answer those Starbucks interview questions, too.

And what is that formula? It’s this: STAR Method + Tailoring Method = Success.

When you combine the STAR and Tailoring methods, you can craft highly relevant, engaging, story-driven answers. It’s an excellent way to stand out from the competition, so many sure you spend time reviewing those techniques and putting them to work.

Top 3 Starbucks Interview Questions

Alright, now it’s time for what you’ve been waiting for… some Starbucks interview questions and answers.

While exactly what you’ll be asked is going to vary somewhat from one position or location to the next, many of the questions are very similar, especially for the customer-service roles. With that in mind, here’s a look at the top three Starbucks interview questions you might face.

1. How would you handle a customer who claims their drink order is wrong?

Every now and then, a customer is going to say that their drink is wrong; it’s simply a fact of working at Starbucks. In some cases, they’ll be metered about it. In others, they’ll go from zero to shouting in no time flat.

Since the situation is bound to arise, the hiring manager wants to know you can handle it. This question lets them assess whether you’d naturally take the right approach.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“If a customer said that their drink was wrong, I would first ask them to tell me about the issue. I’d need to know what they ordered originally as well as what is wrong with the beverage. If the drink was different from what they ordered, I would proceed with making the right one immediately. If the problem was more nuanced, I’d ask them to describe what they aren’t enjoying about the beverage. That way, if a specific kind of correction needed to be made, like an adjustment to the temperature, amount of flavoring, or something a bit nuanced, I could remake their drink to their satisfaction.”

2. If a customer picked up their drink, took a sip, and became visibly unhappy, but didn’t approach an employee about it, what would you do?

While some customers will confront employees immediately if they don’t think their beverage is perfect, many won’t. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be fallout. In the days of Yelp reviews and social media rants, you can’t guarantee that a customer won’t voice a complaint simply because they didn’t ask for a new drink.

Plus, businesses thrive when customers come back. A single bad experience might be enough to chase some people away, at least from that location.

With this question, the hiring manager is trying to figure out if you’ll be proactive if you spot a potential problem.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“If a customer didn’t seem happy with their drink, I would reach out and ask if they weren’t enjoying their beverage. My hope would be that they could describe what was wrong, giving me insight into what may have gone awry. Once I had that information, I would offer to remake their beverage right away, using their input as a guide for the next drink. That way, they could have a beverage they enjoy. It’s a simple step that could significantly improve their experience, so it’s one worth taking.”

3. What is your favorite drink at Starbucks?

There’s a decent chance the hiring manager is going to want to know what your typical Starbucks order looks like. Why? Well, it gives them a few insights.

First, it is an off-handed test of your product knowledge. Second, it lets them gauge your enthusiasm for your choice. Since hiring managers are going to prefer candidates that are passionate about the brand and well-informed about many of the options, this question is a simple way to separate good candidates from great ones.

It is important to note that this question can also take another form. During the interview, you may be given a free drink of your choosing. Then, you may be asked, “Why did you pick that drink?” It serves a similar purpose but uses a different approach.

Which drink (or drinks) you pick doesn’t matter; it’s all about describing why you enjoy it.

EXAMPLE ANSWER:

“My favorite Starbucks drink during the cooler months is the white chocolate mocha with whip. It gives me a pleasant pick-me-up but also feels like a treat. That makes it functional and indulgent, especially on a cold day. But, if it’s warmer, I enjoy the vanilla sweet cream cold brew. It’s rich, decadent, and gives me a great energy boost.”

12 More Starbucks Interview Questions

Here are 12 more Starbucks interview questions you might encounter when you meet with the hiring manager.

    1. Why do you want to work at Starbucks?
    2. How would you handle a rude customer?
    3. Tell me about a time you made a mistake. How did you fix it?
    4. If we run out of a product or ingredient, how would you explain the situation to a customer?
    5. Are you available during the early mornings, nights, weekends, and holidays?
    6. If you saw a coworker take $1 out of the register and put it in their pocket, what would you do?
    7. Can you describe a time where you went above and beyond for a customer? Why did you go the extra mile?
    8. How would you define excellent customer service?
    9. Which of your traits makes you best equipped to excel in this role?
    10. How would you describe your teamwork skills?
    11. Are you comfortable working in a fast-paced environment?
    12. If the customer line began to get long, and you were the only cashier, what steps would you take to get or keep the situation under control?

5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of a Starbucks Interview

When your interview begins to draw to a close, there’s a decent shot you’ll get to ask the hiring manager a few questions. You want to have a handful at the ready.

Why?

Because asking questions makes you seem engaged and enthusiastic about the job.

Plus, it’s a chance to find out critical details. Making sure the position is the right one for you is just as important as showing the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job. If you don’t know what to ask, here are five good questions to ask at the end of a Starbucks interview.

    1. What is the biggest challenge baristas here face on a daily basis?
    2. How would you describe an average day in this position? What about the most extreme day in this role?
    3. What skills or traits do all of your best employees have in common?
    4. Is there anything about working for Starbucks that surprised you when you were first hired?
    5. What training do new employees receive once they are hired?

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, all of the tips above can help you shine during your Starbucks interview. Embrace them! That way, you can showcase yourself as the amazing candidate you are, increasing your chances of landing the job.

Good luck!

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Check out our other articles in our Company Specific Interview Series:

About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.