2023‘s 17 Most Challenging Starbucks Interview Questions + Answers [Free Guide]
Looking to join the Starbucks team? If so, knowing the common Starbucks interview questions will help you be prepared and reply with confidence during the interview.
Below, you will find a wide range of questions that are likely to be asked during a Starbucks interview for beginner and intermediate positions.
Best of all, I have also created some sample answers plus some additional tips and tricks to know to crush the interview. Let’s get started!
17 Starbucks Interview Questions + Answers
1. Why do you want to work for Starbucks?
First on my list is by far one of the most common interview questions you will be asked, so this is one you should be prepared for.
I have always felt that the values that Starbucks expresses, in terms of respect and accountability, align with my own personal values.
I love that you even call your employees ‘partners’ rather than workers, and that feels like a harmonious space to be in and come to work each day.
Additionally, I love drinking coffee from Starbucks and sitting in the stores and absorbing the atmosphere.
2. What is your favorite drink at Starbucks?
This may seem like an odd question, but what you are really being assessed here is your Starbucks product knowledge
- My favorite drink would be the mocha whip, in cold months, as I love the taste and warming feeling.
- I love, in warmer times, the vanilla cold brew, as it feels like a great energy boost, as well as a sweet treat.
3. How do you define amazing customer service?
Of course, as a hospitality employee, you must have strong customer service skills. The hiring manager will most definitely want to get a sense of your command of customer service.
- Customer service is about going beyond what is expected to ensure that customers leave feeling fulfilled in having their needs and desires met through our products and service, as well as being delighted by the entire experience.
- Great customer service is about being fast and responsive, personable, and friendly, especially in remembering people’s names and listening to the customer in their orders, requests, and feedback.
4. What personal skills would help you excel in this role with us?
Everyone has innate skills that will help them through life. This is about expressing what your ‘superpowers’ are, in referencing the role of a Starbucks employee.
I am super friendly and sociable. It’s natural for me to talk to people and make friends easily, so this allows me to really provide a level of customer service that is extremely high, without much effort on my part to put on a happy face, since I am genuinely happy to be working with and serving people every day.
5. How much hospitality experience do you have?
For this question, share any past experience you have in hospitality or a cafe environment.
Tips for answering this question:
- Share how many years/months of experience you have, naming the places you worked and the responsibilities you had.
- Focus on the roles you loved the most as the interviewer will feel your enthusiasm.
- If you have no experience, share that you are looking for your first hospitality experience in this role. Additionally, you can share a past experience where you may have been hospitable to a friend or family member.
6. How would you describe your teamwork skills?
Working in any hospitality role, Starbucks requires partners to work well within a team in a stressful environment.
My clear and direct communication makes teamwork smooth as we are all able to stay on the same page as to what needs to be done, and my value of harmony within environments also allows me to be sure that we are all communicating with respect and positivity.
Additionally, I am more than happy to receive feedback from other team members on how I can improve my skills.
7. How well do you work in a fast-paced environment?
Starbucks is definitely fast-paced! If you can’t handle a morning rush, then you won’t be suited for this role.
- I thrive in fast-paced environments. I personally love working in dynamic environments where I can move fast, juggle multiple tasks at once, and be on my feet moving about every day.
- I get bored when things are slow, so even if it’s not so busy with customers, I’ll find another job to busy myself with.
8. What are some of your strengths?
You can refer to your character traits or core skills you have learned in your hospitality training/experience.
I know that making complex drinks and great coffee is one of my strengths, now that I have mastered the espresso machine. I particularly enjoy milk frothing and help others on the team with their skills. I feel that my memory is very strong, allowing me to remember multiple orders and customers’ names with ease.
9. What are some of your weaknesses?
This is important to share how you are working towards strengthening parts of you that may be a little weaker in your skills or traits.
- I would say that actually my sociable personality, which is a strength, can also be a weakness, at times, as I love chatting to customers so much, that I need to remember that the most important thing is to serve them in an efficient way.
- I am learning how to serve and chat, and politely move away from the conversation to make sure all the tasks are being done.
10. How would you handle a customer who tells you their order is wrong?
This will likely be a scenario that you will deal with multiple times, and you’ll probably experience a whole spectrum of responses – from calm and polite, to frustrated and shouting.
This is also a very common Starbucks interview question, so paying extra attention to this can be advantageous.
- I would ask first what their order was, and what they received/what is wrong. I would make them a new drink immediately if it were an entire drink that was wrong.
- If it were that there was something in the drink that was not correct, I would ask why they are not enjoying their drink as expected. I may need to then make adjustments to the temperature, flavoring, topping, or simply remake their drink again if need be.
11. What mistakes have you made in a past role, and how did you fix them?
The interviewer will appreciate seeing your humility and your maturity in handling the fact that you will make mistakes. What’s important for them to sense is that you are geared towards growth and solving issues like mistakes, along the way.
In my previous role working for a local coffee shop, when I was first learning to steam milk for coffee and pour properly, I would have difficulty making latte art.
I asked my coworker for help to let me know if the amount was correct and the steaming was right, and with their help, I quickly fixed the mistake that I was making (steaming for too long and pouring too little froth into the cup).
12. If we ran out of a product or an ingredient, how would you communicate this to a customer?
The importance of communicating with customers is extremely high for any foodservice role. You need to be able to share information, take orders, and listen effectively as a Starbucks employee.
- I would first apologize and state that we do not have a particular ingredient for their item, and if there is a solution to replace it with something else, ask them if they would like that.
- If it were an entire item that we couldn’t make, I would suggest other items similar to them and also ask about what they are looking for to point them to other menu items to consider.
13. What would you do if a customer was shouting at you?
Hopefully, this never has to happen – but if you’ve worked in hospitality for a few years, you know this will eventually happen (even more so if someone hasn’t had their morning coffee). In any case, be prepared to answer this question if it comes up.
- I would stay calm and make sure I was in a space where I was non-reactive, and not taking it personally. I would ask them to step aside with me, to be away from the public space, if possible.
- I would try to express my understanding, and ask that they please lower their voice. If this does not work, I would call on my supervisor to take on this situation, staying present to answer any questions that might come up if a conversation ensues.
You may even want to do deeper prep with our how did you deal with a stressful situation interview question guide.
14. What is the biggest challenge working in hospitality?
Hopefully, you have some hospitality experience going into this interview, so you can answer this question from your personal understanding. If not, then remember this example answer.
I would say that the pace of work is probably the biggest challenge. For some, it may be customer service – keeping friendly with disgruntled customers – but for me, I feel that staying accurate and graceful in multiple tasks is what can be challenging in hospitality.
15. What is your availability?
One of the many common Starbucks interview questions will be your availability for the role. Ideally, HR managers are looking for more flexibility, but you also have to be upfront about any prior commitments.
Tips for answering this question:
- If you have flexible availability, share that there are no times off-limit in your schedule.
- If you have days/times where you definitely can’t work, share the details as clearly as possible and be sure to tell them why you can’t work.
16. What is your ideal work schedule at Starbucks?
This question is about preferences in terms of when you work and how you’d like your schedule to look.
Tips for answering this question:
- If you have preferences for workdays, share them, while also expressing that consistent work is most important and you aren’t attached to having your preferences met, if it isn’t possible.
- Ideally, you’d have no preference and are happy to work whenever needed. If that’s the case, share this with the interviewer.
17. Do you have any questions for me?
Show your enthusiasm and interest in the role by asking questions.
- What defines a successful Starbucks employee, in your eyes?
- What does a typical day in this Starbucks store look like?
- How do you describe the unique company culture of this store?
To further increase your skills and the likelihood of getting a job at Starbucks, you can also see my other posts on online barista training classes and also barista interview questions.