Looking to apply for a corporate role with the most recognized coffee company in the world – Starbucks? The company has well-paid positions in tech, HR, finance, strategy, and more. Starbucks interview questions vary greatly, but you can expect a range of typical interview questions in addition to questions specific to the company’s culture and strategy. In this article, we’ll help prepare you for the Starbucks interview process. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
- Starbucks History & Culture
- Life At Starbucks
- Starbucks Interview Tips
- Starbucks Behavioral Interview Questions
Starbucks History & Culture
To effectively answer Starbucks’ interview questions, give yourself an advantage by grounding yourself in the history and culture of the firm. Starbucks first opened in 1971 as a single store in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. Even at that time, it offered some of the world’s best whole bean coffees.
In 1983, Howard Schultz traveled to Italy and fell in love with the Italian coffee experience. He sought to bring the Italian coffeehouse tradition – a “third place” between work and home, and where community could be fostered – back to the United States. In 1987, Schultz, aided by local investors, purchased Starbucks. His aim was to build a coffee company that celebrated not just coffee and its traditions but engendered a sense of community connection.
The company has grown exponentially since those early beginnings – the global brand now generates over $20B in annual revenue and boasts 3,000 retail locations – yet, for the most part, the original tenets of its culture remain. The Starbucks culture focuses on customer service, quality, and commitment to the local and global community. Its values include fostering a culture of belonging, delivering the very best every day, challenging the status quo, and finding new ways to grow.
At Starbucks, you’ll have ample training and development opportunities. The corporate offices are built to support the company’s retail stores and positively impact local communities. Because Starbucks’ mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one of the roles of management is to identify opportunities that positively impact not only the company, but the communities in which it operates. This isn’t a purely altruistic mission, however. More prosperous communities lead to better performance for local stores.
Life At Starbucks
A high-level understanding of life at Starbucks will help you answer Starbucks interview questions with more precision.
The ability to foresee and meet customer needs while fostering an inclusive environment – from the barista level all the way up to senior management – is what Starbucks seeks in its people.
Employees have access to healthcare coverage, a retirement plan with company match, stock options, paid time off, parental leave, education opportunities, and partner assistance programs. Starbucks can be a great place to start out, but also a great place to grow professionally in the ranks of middle management and beyond. When Starbucks has an opening, it tends to hire faster than other major brands. Some candidates have reported having been hired for managerial roles at Starbucks within 1 week.
Starbucks Interview Tips
In the Starbucks interview process, you can expect to be regularly challenged to identify and solve problems. Starbucks places a high value on applicants who understand the company culture and mission. But beyond that, familiarize yourself with recent news. If Starbucks has recently entered a new country, made an acquisition, launched a new product or store type, or re-designed its customer loyalty program, you are going to want to know that going into an interview. We recommend following and interacting with the company on social media. And finally, make it a point to visit a Starbucks and take careful note of how it operates and the products it sells. This context will inform your answers to Starbucks interview questions.
The Starbucks interview process will feature a variety of behavioral interview questions. You will need to prepare specific examples that reflect the core competencies required to excel in any given role. You should prepare by scouring the Starbucks job description for which you are applying. This job description will outline the majority of what the hiring manager is seeking. If you can show, through your previous experiences and answers to Starbucks interview questions, that you have the skills and experience to do the job, you put yourself in a favorable position to land it.
Starbucks Behavioral Interview Questions
Let’s start by making sure we are clear on the definition of a behavioral-based interview and why it’s used. Behavioral interviewing focuses on a candidate’s past experiences. An employer asks you to provide concrete examples of how you’ve demonstrated certain behaviors, knowledge, and skills. Behavioral interview questions require the applicant to share stories of how they’ve previously demonstrated those skills. Below you’ll find several Starbucks interview questions that you should prepare stories for:
- Can you describe a time where you went above and beyond for a customer or client? Why did you go the extra mile?
- Tell me about a time you made a major mistake. How did you fix it?
- Tell me about a time you helped a team change its collective mind about a decision.
- Which of your traits makes you best equipped to excel in this role?
- When was a time that you felt you expressed the best in your abilities as a team player?
- How do you define amazing customer service?
- Are you comfortable working in a fast-paced environment?
Interview questions at Starbucks are likely to be a combination of traditional questions (“describe your strengths and weaknesses”) and behavioral questions, requiring you to leverage concrete examples from your past. In either case, you’ll need to have a strong foundational knowledge of Starbucks company and culture to perform well. With some quality preparation, you can walk into the interview confident in your ability to knock it out of the park! If you seek Starbucks interview prep help – we are here for you. Reach out today.
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