Updated on June 5th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 31
How do you expect to make a difference at Starbucks?
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The interviewer wants to hear that you are passionate about working at Starbucks and have thought about how you can make a positive impact while working there.
Think about what kind of impact you could make. Possible things that might come to mind are:
- Creating a favorable environment for customers by smiling, asking them how their day is going, and providing them with excellent service.
- Building business relationships with your co-workers, so everyone looks forward to coming to work each day.
- By giving people energy to make it through a challenging day.
Whatever comes to mind that you are passionate about, share it with the interviewer!
"I plan to make a difference at Starbucks by always being a friendly face to your customers, and encouraging teamwork during every shift. Also, I am excellent when it comes to upselling, so I am confident that hiring me will increase sales as well."
Interviewers want to hear about that one unique skill that sets you apart from the other candidates applying for this job. Think of your answer as your 'elevator pitch' or your qualifying statement. If you can't think of ways that you are unique, ask a few friends or family members what they feel sets you apart from other people. Their observations may help you understand how you are perceived.
Perhaps you already know what sets you apart! This skill could include any industry accolades, exceptional achievements, additional industry related training, a second language, or how involved you are in the community. Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a bit. In an interview, you are your most influential advocate.
"You should hire me because I'm qualified and passionate about your cause. I am excited about the idea of delivering value to Starbucks, and will hustle for the opportunity to go above and beyond for your customers."
This one should be easy! Does the thought of a Java Chip Frappuccino make you drool? Does an Iced Mocha make your mouth water? Or, does the idea of a Venti Dark Roast with cream and sugar get you excited? Be prepared to excitedly share what makes your heart pitter-patter on that Starbucks menu! You can ask the interviewer this question in return to starting up a more casual conversation.
"There are so many favorites, it's hard to choose! My favorite breakfast at the moment is the new Eggs Sous Vide bites along with a Venti Americano. Yum! What is your all-time favorite menu item?"
Describe to me your last manager. What did you like and dislike about their leadership style?
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The interviewer wants to hear that you only speak positively about your past manager. Think about the things that you enjoyed about this person and their leadership style. Start off by telling the interviewer some things that you liked about their style. You might talk about how they had regular team huddles to provide ongoing communication about process changes or upcoming events. You might share how they regularly had fun activities going on to keep the team engaged. Keep the focus on the positive things.
"My most recent manager cared a lot about the success of the company. For that reason, she always ensured that we were properly trained and up to date on new happenings within the company. She was sometimes late for work which was a bit frustrating but that aside, she was a great manager."
Begin by telling the interviewer that thankfully the majority of customers are pleasant to work with, and the rude customer situations are typically few and far between. Next, say to the interviewer that you understand customer service means always having a smile on your face, cheerful attitude, and pleasant demeanor. Tell the interviewer that you would continue positively interacting with the customer even when they were challenging. Share that you never know what type of day that customer has had, and you smiling and being pleasant might be just what they need to help them turn their day around!
"Thankfully insulting customers are not an everyday experience in my current place of work. When I do face a rude customer, I kill them with kindness! If I am still smiling, cheerful, and maintain a positive attitude, I will be sure to throw anyone unkind, off of their game!"
6. Tell me about your experience working in the food industry. The interviewer wants to learn more about your background and experience.
If you don't have any experience, it's okay! Tell the interviewer that you do not have any experience in the industry, and you look forward to making the transition and learning everything there is to know!
If you have experience, start off by giving the interviewer a high-level overview of your experience by sharing where you have worked, your job title, and how long you were employed there. Add a sentence or two about what your job duties were in each role as well. Be sure to mention that you really enjoy this industry, and you look forward to continuing to work in food industry roles. Here is an answer example: "I have worked in the food industry, with Company ABC, for the past two years. I have formal training in food safety and other health-related certifications. This role was highly customer facing which I feel has equipped me for this role with Starbucks."7. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for customer service? Talking about a time when you calmed an upset customer can be an excellent example for this question. Explain how you listened to every word the customer had to say. Next, describe how you apologized to the customer with a calm voice and sincere heart. Finally, be sure to tell the interviewer what solution you offered the customer. Perhaps you did not charge them for a meal if it was in a restaurant. Maybe you suggested a new dish for them to try. Be sure to close with how happy the customer was when they left!
Or, you may approach the question with something you have done during the ordinary course of the day to go above and beyond for your customers. For example, if you work at a grocery store, you might share that you walk the customers out to their car when customer levels allow and assist them with loading the groceries in their vehicle. Here is an answer example: "I understand that Starbucks puts a lot of effort into their customer experience and I plan to respect that every step of the way. One way I recently went above and beyond for customer service was when I worked at ABC Restaurant. I had a repeat customer who would come in by himself every day, at the same time, and order the same menu item. I quickly learned his pattern and would have his order ready for him when he arrived. I got to know him and would ask him about his day. It was nice to have a connection with him that went beyond the typical quick service in a casual restaurant."8. In your opinion, what makes a great company? Think about a few of your favorite businesses to visit. What makes these places so great? List 1-2 things that you think make a company great.
Some common answers might include:
- Having excellent employees
- Giving back to the community
- Providing a positive experience for customers
- Understanding that it is not all about the money
- Focusing on improving people's lives
- Having outstanding leadership Here is an answer example: "In my opinion, Starbucks is such a great company because you are transparent in your business interactions, have carved out a recognizable space for yourselves in a busy coffee business environment, and have also built a brand that stands on trust. The Starbucks mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit--one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. That's a pretty exciting mission to be a part of."9. Would you like to be a manager at Starbucks? If you aspire to be a manager at Starbucks, that's great! If not, that is okay too. Share with the interviewer what you want to do at Starbucks. If you hope to be a manager someday, tell the interviewer that you look forward to becoming a manager eventually, and you understand it may take several years to achieve these level within the company.
The interviewer would like to know that you feel ready for the responsibility that comes with being a manager. Discuss with the interviewer all of the things you have done to prepare you for this particular opportunity. Here is an answer example: "I have spent the past eight months reading leadership books and have taken two leadership workshops in that time frame. I have never felt more ready to take on the responsibility of leading a team."10. What are some of your weaknesses? We all have things we can improve on, so do not be afraid to share them. The interviewer will likely take note of these things and may even provide you with additional training in these areas to help you excel. The interviewer wants to hear that your weaknesses are not critical to your success at Starbucks.
Think of a couple of things you could improve upon that are not necessary for the job, and openly share them with the interviewer.
Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center. We are all human with our weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours! Here is an answer example: "Everyone has weaknesses. I tend to be too nice sometimes. When my coworkers are not meeting expectations, I tend to jump in to fix the situation. I have to remind myself to not take on to much work and focus more on delivering the best work that I can. Those who are slacking will eventually be weeded out."11. Name your three best qualities. Think about the traits for which people have repeatedly commended you. What are the typical qualities that you have received praise for at work, in school, or within your family? These things make great examples! Just share your three qualities, and tell the interviewer that other people have said they like these qualities in you. Some examples might include your joyful attitude, your kindhearted spirit, your ability to help others, your knack for striking up a conversation, or your patience. Here is an answer example: "I believe that my top three qualities are my willingness to lend a hand, my ability to see the positive side in most situations, and the fact that I am responsible and reliable. These are all qualities that align with your needs here at Starbucks."12. What would you do if a coworker asked you to help them steal? Starbucks employs over 200,000 employees worldwide which means they have seen their share of unethical employee behavior. The interviewer would like to know how you would react if put in an awkward, or potentially harmful situation like being asked by a co-worker to steal with them. Theft can occur in many ways in the workplace and is not necessarily reserved to blatantly taking a product. Ensure that you are aware of the different ways a co-worker may try to pass stealing off as 'no big deal.'
- Timecard fabrication, also known as 'buddy punching' where you punch in for a coworker who is not present
- 'Borrowing' money from the cash register
- Taking items from the lost and found
- Stealing data or documents containing trade secrets
- Taking expensive office supplies like ink, or adding personal items to supply orders
Of course, you already know how to answer this question! Express that you would never engage in this type of behavior and discuss how you would go about reporting this type of situation. If this has happened to you in the past, you can talk about the case. Here is an answer example: "Stealing is wrong, no matter which way you slice it. I have zero tolerance for unethical behavior and would report the situation immediately."13. Tell me about a time when you did not have enough time to complete all assigned tasks. How did you prioritize? Start off by telling the interviewer that you are typically an organized person and achieve everything on time. Share how you usually organize your work. You might share that you keep a to-do list of all the objectives that you must complete, keep your electronic calendar up-to-date and that you spend 5-10 minutes at the beginning of your day reviewing your schedule for the day as well as prioritizing your to-do list for that day. Next, share a time when you failed to get an assigned task done on time due to something outside of your control. Perhaps you were sick, an emergency arose, or someone else called in sick for the day changing your priorities. Share how you prioritized your time with the goal of achieving the deadline, and share why you were not able to reach it on time. Finally, be sure to wrap it up by reiterating that you are usually a deadline driven person, and you almost always complete everything on time. Here is an answer example: "I am always diligent when it comes to deadlines. However, once I remember having an abnormally large order from a big table when I was working in a restaurant. I was a little stressed about making sure it was perfect, that my delivery was a bit slower than normal. I can better handle larger volumes now that I am more experienced."14. What would you do to help the community if you could do anything you wanted? The interviewer wants to learn more about who you are as a person. Starbucks dramatically values serving their communities, and they want to hear that you think about how to make your community an even more significant place! Discuss your areas of interest and passion by sharing how you would help the community. Perhaps you are passionate about elementary education, and you would implement a program to assist at-risk youth. Maybe you would start an outreach program, so every senior in the nursing home had someone visiting them at least two times per week. You might focus on the homeless, single moms, teen pregnancy, recognizing the local police force or medical professionals, or teaching English to non-native speakers. Maybe you would help create a tourism revenue in your area by opening a waterpark or theme park. Whatever your passionate area of focus is, now is the time to share it! Here is an answer example: "I currently volunteer a the local animal shelter and would love to do more to help animals who are mistreated, and abandoned. I have always had a huge heart for animals and truly appreciate that Starbucks implements animal welfare-friendly practices."15. How can I trust you not to steal? This one should be easy! Share with the interviewer that you had never stolen before and had a proven work record with an excellent reputation. Be sure to mention that you respect others and that you wouldn't take from them.
The interviewer would like to know about a time when you have shown high levels of integrity on the job. Integrity is best displayed through honesty and consistent moral values. Talk to the interviewer about the ways that you show your integrity in the workplace. Here is an answer example: "In my last position, I was responsible for the cash deposit on a daily basis. There was never a discrepancy, in the four years that I worked there. I best show my integrity by being a consistently reliable employee."16. Why should we not hire you? The interviewer is hoping to hear that there is no reason not to hire you! Just tell the interviewer that you would be a great employee, and confidently share that there is no reason not to hire you! You might wrap it up by sharing that you are customer focused, have a proven employment record, and you love Starbucks! Here is an answer example: "I do not see any reason not to hire me! I know how to upsell, deliver excellent customer service, and have been taking the time to learn more about customer dispute resolution as well."17. Would you say you are a sociable person? Starbucks is best known for their friendly atmosphere! The interviewer wants to hear that you are comfortable conversing with other people. As a customer service person, you are a sociable person. Explain to the interviewer that you enjoy getting to know your co-workers, work hard to build relationships with your regular customers through simple interactions, and look forward coming to work each day in customer service. You might work best in a large group setting, or one-on-one interactions might be your thing. Either way, express how you are a sociable person. Here is an answer example: "Yes, I am most certainly a sociable person. I can quickly get to know people and can make meaningful conversation with nearly any type of person. If given the opportunity to work at Starbucks, you can be assured that I would be a sociable team member."18. What is your best personal trait? The interviewer wants to learn more about who you are, and what Starbucks can expect from you, personality-wise. Think about the traits in which people repeatedly commend you. Try using more unique keywords that will make you a memorable candidate.
Some great traits to mention are:
- Tech Savvy
- Flexible in Schedule/Availability
- Persistent and Determined
- Eager for Knowledge/New Skills Here is an answer example: "My best trait is my ability to relate to people. My co-workers often mention that they admire this trait. I enjoy getting to know my customers."19. Describe a time when you disliked company rules in your last job? The interviewer wants to hear that you are not a rule breaker, and you support the rules the company has put into place. Start off by telling the interviewer that you follow all of the company rules and are supportive of the leadership decisions the company makes regarding regulations. After all, there had to be some logic to their professional decision! Next, think of an 'outside the box' rule your current or previous employer had established. Show the interviewer that you respect decisions regardless of how well you agree. Here is an answer example: "I did not like my previous company's return policy. I felt that it was too stringent and I see the value in being more flexible with your valued customers. I stood by the policy, regardless, but did request a couple of times to present some ideas for change."20. How often do you give an A plus effort while working? The interviewer wants to hear that you always put your best foot forward at work. Share with the interviewer that you respect your employer and understand that they trust you to be working hard while at work. Tell the interviewer that you want to do a great job every time you are at work to show your employer respect and help create a positive image for the company. Here is an answer example: "I know that Starbucks values are delivering the best to their customers. I give my best effort at work, from the time I start, to when I walk out the door. It's important to me that I deliver excellent work on a daily basis."21. Why do you think you will like working at Starbucks? The interviewer wants to hear that you are passionate about working at Starbucks. Starbucks is about being connected and being a part of something great. Tell the interviewer why you look forward to being a part of Starbucks. Recognize that you would be helping create an environment where friends, family, and business colleagues come to spend time together. Here is an answer example: "I believe that Starbucks offers a feeling of community, and family, that you don't find in a coffee shop type of environment very often. I like how fast-paced the work environment seems to be as well. You mention on your website that amazing possibilities lie ahead--to grow as a person and as a leader in both your career and in your community. That is a thrilling thought. Even down to your benefits package, which you call, 'Your Special Blend, you truly have thought of all the ways to make your employees feel like they are a part of something."22. Have you ever helped someone else achieve their goal or helped to better themselves, if so, how? Think about the times you have helped a friend achieve their goal. You may have run a few miles with them each day in preparation for a 10k. You might have stayed up late at night reviewing flashcards for a big test with your best friend. Or, maybe you watched a family members' child for a couple of days to allow the parents to work on their goal of opening a new business. These types of scenarios work great to answer this question. If you have a specific work-related example, even better. Just tell the interviewer an overview of your situation, and share how thankful the individual was for your contribution. Here is an answer example: "I recently helped one of our newest employees when I noticed she was falling behind a bit after the new-hire training was complete. After speaking with her, I learned that this was her very first job and she did not understand a lot of the nuances associated with our work-flow. I took her under my wing for her first 30 days or so, and she flourished!"23. What do you know about Starbucks? With any job interview, it is crucial to understand the organization to which you are applying. Before your meeting, review the Starbucks' website to learn critical information such as current seasonal promotions and ongoing events. Watch the videos on their website, and take note of the information on their Working at Starbucks page. Be sure to mention that you know Starbucks is an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and they strive for their organization to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Tell the interviewer that you know Starbucks sells not only coffee, but other things such as pastries, breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, wraps, and those yummy desserts! Here is an answer example: "I know that Starbucks has a solid reputation for community involvement, and takes a strong stance when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Since the 1970's, Starbucks has been a community staple, and now a global giant. Your products keep getting better, and your menu vaster. I am so excited about the idea of working with such an established organization that is concerned regarding ethical sourcing."24. When was the last time you contributed to a team effort and what was your role? The interviewer wants to hear that you enjoy being a part of a team and that you contribute to the success of the team. Start off by sharing the last time you added to a team effort. Perhaps it was a massive project at work. Maybe it was on a basketball team. Or, you might have led a Girl Scout troop. All of these make great examples! Discuss how you made efforts to contribute to the team and be sure to mention how successful the team was! Here is an answer example: "In my current position, we work as a team when receiving new stock. We have one person unpacking the stock, another yelling out SKU numbers, another member cross-checking those SKU's with our online inventory system. It's fun to work as a helpful team member, and I look forward to the collaborative team environment that Starbucks fosters."25. Where do you see yourself in five years? Interviewing, hiring, and onboarding is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor for any company. The interviewer wants to know that, if engaged, you will see this as a longer-term fit. Discuss your career plans, goals, and how those fit with what Starbucks is offering. Describe your passion for this opportunity, and what you like about Starbucks and the role for which you are applying.
If you are a student, tell the interviewer that you plan to stay at Starbucks through graduation, and then share what career or further education you hope to be pursuing at that five-year mark. If Starbucks offers jobs in your field, such as management, be sure to mention that you would be open to considering a career in your area at Starbucks if one is available upon graduating. Here is an answer example: "In five years I would like to be working my way into a management role. I greatly appreciate that Starbucks offers growth opportunities for their eager and high-performing employees. Your tuition reimbursement program will make my dream of management that much more a reality. I hope to be considered for that type of growth opportunity in the future."26. Tell me about a time when you had to be a leader. How was the outcome? The interviewer wants to hear about a positive experience you have had with leadership. Think about a time when you led a sports team, led a college project, managed a store, or coached a little league team. These are all great examples! Start off by giving the interviewer an overview of what, and who, you were leading, and share that you enjoyed the experience. Discuss the positive outcome that the group had, and explain that you would gladly lead again! Here is an answer example: "I would certainly consider myself a leader, though I'm not currently in a management role. In my previous life, I managed a small team of hostesses and servers. I lead a team by showing respect, setting high but reasonable expectations, and encouraging a collaborative environment where all ideas are encouraged. The beauty of being a true leader is that you don't need to be in a position of management to exude leadership qualities."27. How often are you late for your responsibilities, such as school or work? Your only answer should be, 'Never!' The interviewer needs to know that they can count on you to be at work at your assigned time every day. Tell the interviewer that you are a punctual person, and you are always a couple of minutes early when arriving at work. Be sure to mention that you plan for traffic, and if you live somewhere with snow, be sure to say that you watch the weather ensuring you leave enough time to clean off your car and drive a little more cautiously when necessary. If you have children, be sure to mention that you have backup plans in place for childcare should something fall through with your typical plans. Lastly, back your answer with a solid example or stats from your previous role. Here is an answer example: "In the three years that I worked for my previous employer, I was late just once, due to a small car accident on my way to work! I called my boss to fill her in on the situation immediately. I take every precaution possible to ensure I am on time, and present, when expected."28. How would your references describe you? The interviewer wants to hear that your references will positively describe you. Think about the positive things your references have said about you in the past. Your example could be from a formal employee review or even comments in passing. These concrete examples will be sure to impress the interviewer! Here is an answer example: "I have provided you with three solid references. I believe they will all describe me as a hard worker who enjoys being at work, staying productive, and helping others. I have had excellent performance reviews which I can share with you also."29. How well do you handle customer complaints? Addressing customer complaints is an essential part of customer service, and the interviewer wants to hear that you are okay talking through a customer's complaint. Start off by telling the interviewer that you do not mind addressing customer complaints, and you recognize that most customers have good intentions when coming forth with a complaint.
Tell the interviewer that you take time to listen to everything the customer has to say first to ensure you truly understand what they are upset about. Next, share that you make eye contact with the customer and sincerely apologize to them. Finally, be sure to mention that you offer to correct any mistakes that were made or take the appropriate action to rectify the situation such as creating a new beverage for a customer who tried something new today and didn't care for it. Here is an answer example: "I have some training in dispute resolution, from my previous retail job. I know that Starbucks works double-time to make customers happy and I am confident in my ability to carry that torch. If a customer is unhappy, I will be attentive, apologize, and offer to fix the situation in a way that abides by the Starbucks policies."30. Do you prefer working in a team environment or alone? Starbucks is very much a team environment, and the interviewer needs to know that you will be able to fit in. This question is not a trick one! The interviewer is trying to get a feel for your personality and how you interact with others.
You may work well without the need for much management or direction, or perhaps you are better driven by a collaborative and team led environment. Either way, be honest with the interviewer about your preferences without leaning negatively, either way. Here is an answer example: "Whether I am doing an independent project, or working in a team environment, I always give my best. I enjoy the camaraderie of working in a team, but I can be successful working autonomously as well."31. How would you deal with an angry customer while you were busy completing tasks? The interviewer wants to hear that customers are your priority. Tell the interviewer that you would graciously stop what you were doing and start by genuinely listening to the customer. Next, share that you would apologize to the customer and take whatever corrective action was necessary. Be sure to mention that most challenging customers do not take much time, and they just want to know that their opinion is being heard. Finally, be sure to say that once you have the customer on their way, you would go back to working on your task. Here is an answer example: "If I had an angry customer, but were working on a task, I would ask a co-worker to help by completing the task, while I dealt with the customer. It's important that the customer feel heard and that they have my undivided attention. I would work with the customer until a resolution was made and then continue with my tasks."
Writers for Starbucks Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 02/28/2012 Last modified on: 06/05/2019
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