Everyone knows Starbucks — they are well loved for their coffee the world over, but did you know they are also loved by their employees? The coffee giant has been named in the top 5 best employers by Fortune, Forbes and other award lists multiple times, and is known for offering great employee benefits, fair pay and equity benefits, as well as a commitment to work-life balance, with flexible working and routes for progression.
Given its reputation for looking after its staff, Starbucks receives a large volume of applications. Every year, Starbucks receives over a million job applications and hires just 10% of these. That makes the odds of being selected competitive, but far from impossible. The volume of applicants also varies with position and level, with the majority of applications being for retail level.
In order to stand out from the crowd and to maximize your chances of getting hired by Starbucks, we have put together some step-by-step instructions to follow, from improving your résumé to learning about past interview questions, to matching your skills and experience to the role.
So, let’s dive in!
Step 1: Do your research
We know Starbucks positions are competitive, so you need the edge so you can tailor your application to show you meet all their criteria and that you are a match for the team. It’s not enough to drink their coffee. Go to the Starbucks website, read their mission statement, read staff reviews, and get the lowdown on what they value and what they look for in an employee.
Step 2: Consider your level and interest
As with any company this size, the number of roles they recruit for is vast and varied. Are you looking for an entry-level retail position? Or a senior management role? Figure this out, because the requirements will be very different, and you need to understand what is expected of you. Starbucks group their retail careers into four categories: retail, retail management, corporate, and manufacturing and distribution. Think about the type of position and the job level you’re interested in, and make sure you meet the criteria before applying.
Step 3: Make sure your résumé and cover letter are on point
Starbucks applications center around a résumé and cover letter. For your résumé, Starbucks is looking for a strong summary and objective, so work on this thoroughly, as this is the first thing that they’ll read and will determine whether they consider the rest of your application. Focus on who you are, your most relevant skills and experience, and what you are looking to achieve. This should be no more than three to four sentences.
Your résumé needs to include all relevant experience that demonstrates you are a good match for the role. In each experience description, think about specific achievements that are in line with the role at Starbucks.
Tailor your résumé to the role and include only relevant information rather than being tempted to include everything you’ve ever done, and use the job description to find appropriate keywords. This will also help your résumé to pass applicant screening software.
Step 4: Complete the online application form
All applications must go in via the Starbucks website, although Starbucks list positions on other job search sites and job apps, with links to apply directed to the Starbucks website. Gone are the days where you can drop your résumé into a store. That said, getting to know the staff and management in your local store if you are looking for a retail position is a great way to get some insight into the role and what is required, and you may get some tips for your application.
Step 5: Match your skills to the role
When writing your résumé and cover letter, it’s vital that you match your skills to the role you’re applying for. A retail role is going to require excellent customer service skills, communication and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment. Include these skills and others and give examples. Simply listing skills isn’t enough, Starbucks wants to see evidence of these skills in action. Your résumé can include a skills section, but make sure evidence of your skills is embedded into the summary and experience section, too. Your cover letter is where you can really elaborate with your examples.
Step 6: Prepare for a talk with a Starbucks recruiter
If your application does well, you will most likely speak to a Starbucks recruiter before you get to be interviewed by a hiring manager. This is like an additional screening stage and you need to make sure you’re prepared to demonstrate your credibility. At this stage, the recruiter is considering whether you are a good fit for the team and the company brand. Be yourself, be passionate and enthusiastic and show that you have done your research and know the Starbucks mission.
Step 7: Research common Starbucks interview questions
If you reach the interview stage, it’s a great idea to have done some research on the common types of questions you might be asked. Starbucks pride themselves on being fun and want their recruitment efforts to be no different. In this vein, interviews are light and conversational.
Whilst there are screening processes and interviews to get through consist of several stages, the interview questions are not designed to trip you up. Rather, they are meant to get to know people on a personal level, whilst ensuring the relevant skills are there, and are set in an environment to make candidates feel at ease. Personality and teamworking abilities are a high priority and questions are a simple competency based style.
Past questions include:
- How do you handle a rude customer?
- What would you do if a customer seemed unhappy with their drink, but didn’t come back to you to talk about it?
- What is your favorite Starbucks drink?
Step 8: Show your passion
Experience is important, but personality and skills play a vital role in the Starbucks recruiting process. They are looking for people who are happy to be doing their job, work well in a team and engage with customers in a positive manner. If you can demonstrate your passion for the role and company, this will get you far. Experience in a retail role, but with a lack of passion and excitement, isn’t what Starbucks is looking for. They hire a certain kind of person and if you can make yourself fit this persona, whilst giving examples of how you would create a great customer experience, you are at a big advantage.
Step 9: Practice
You’ve done your research, you know what Starbucks is looking for in an employee and you know their mission and values. Best of all, you’ve found previous interview questions and done your research on how current employees found the interview. Now you need to spend some time pulling everything together and practicing. Write yourself some sample questions and answer them out loud. This might seem alien, but it’s the best way to get hired by Starbucks, as you’ll hear what you sound like to an interviewer. You might even consider asking a friend or relative to give you a mock interview.
Step 10: Apply for multiple positions
Starbucks actively encourages applicants to apply for multiple positions, so when you are completing an application form, save the details and use them to apply for other similar roles in your area, making any necessary tweaks as you go. Applying for multiple positions maximizes your chances of getting an interview. Remember, if you are not successful, Starbucks hires 100,000 members of staff per year, so there is always another chance.
Starbucks corporation is committed to offering reasonable accommodation to job applicants with disabilities, so don’t be put if applying if you have any form of disability. It’s one of the reasons why Starbucks is such a popular company to work for.
Starbucks positions are popular, so there is competition for a role, but there are also a great deal of Starbucks roles on offer, so don’t be disheartened by the volume of applications the company receives. Doing your research on the company and understanding what they are looking for in a candidate is vital and a key factor in supporting you to tailor your résumé and cover letter to the position you are applying for.
Certain traits, such as teamwork, communication and positivity, are important to Starbucks, so these need to be highlighted throughout your application and interview. This should be combined with demonstrating your experience in similar positions.
Remember, practice makes perfect, so research past interview questions, check out reviews from current and previous employees and do some mock interviews. This will help you to feel confident and more at ease in the real interview, allowing you to quickly bring examples to mind. And, if you’re wondering how long it takes to get hired by Starbucks, the process can take between 2–3 weeks, so remember to be patient.
Starbucks is a popular employer for a reason, but they are not the only option, so if you are not successful, try again, but always consider other options in your job search and don’t allow yourself to get disheartened.
Are you wanting to get hired by Starbucks? How far along in the process are you? Let us know in the comments below!
Originally published on 11 July 2014.