August 10, 2015 Sustainability

Connection is Key When Interviewing With Starbucks

Job interviews can be intimidating for even the most confident person.

To help future applicants, Starbucks has a concise collection of interview and resume tips. Heading into the first Opportunity Fair & Forum in Chicago on August 13, John Phillips, Starbucks vice president of Global Staffing, also suggests concentrating on interview fundamentals and bringing a winning mindset to meetings.

The Opportunity Fair & Forum, a national initiative that includes 29 companies spanning a number of industries, is committed to collectively hiring and engaging at least 100,000 Opportunity Youth – 16- to 24-year-olds who face systemic barriers to jobs and education – by 2018 through apprenticeships, internships, training programs and both part-time and full-time jobs. The coalition will work with community-based organizations and civic leaders to help deliver the local skills training and hiring opportunities young people need, ensuring that this truly cross-sector effort is sustained in the long-term.  

Phillips will be attending the event along with some 60 Starbucks store managers who will be conducting the actual interviews. With Opportunity Youth applicants in mind, he emphasized making a connection with interviewers.

“We’ll train you how to be a great barista,” said Phillips. “We’ll train you how to provide customer service. But we need to know who you are.”

Here are some other tips to keep in mind:

Be ready to answer questions on how you’d address scenarios you witness every day at Starbucks stores

“We’re looking for someone who starts to go down the right path and has the right instincts,” said Phillips. “We can train them on what the right answer is in the moment. We’re looking for people who lean in on solving problems.”

Take time to visit Starbucks locations to get a sense of the environment, culture and workflow

“Go grab a cup of coffee and sit in our stores for 30 minutes,” Phillips advised. “Watch the cadence. See the pace. See the interactions with customers and think of how you would react in those moments. The great news about us is we have a footprint where people can go and sit in our stores.”

Practice in advance to fend off nervousness

“Find someone to ask you questions you don’t know are coming,” suggested Phillips. “Practice having eye-contact and making a connection that’s the same you’d have with someone you’re comfortable with. In interviews, try to be comfortable and be yourself.”

Share experiences that have shaped you

Phillips offered specific advice for applicants who are on the hunt for their first job. “Resumes are a reflection of who you are,” said Phillips. “There’s nothing wrong with including in a resume a period of time when maybe you were a primary caregiver to a sibling or you were doing babysitting jobs. If you don’t have a lot of experience, there’s a blank page to show who you are.”


For more information on this story, contact Starbucks Newsroom