Applying for a barista position that is open can be both nerve-wracking and exciting. After all, we’re talking about a job here that can give you plenty of opportunity for making great tips, meeting new people, expanding your skill in a growing industry, and allow you the flexibility in your schedule to go to school or whatever it is that you want to do on your free time.
In spite of your previous experiencing, café owners and café managers in charge of hiring and firing baristas and other support staff are looking for someone they can train. That’s right – you read this right – even though you may have considerable experience, each café or coffee shop may have their own culture that is important for them. Finding not just any barista, but the “right barista” to fit in with the café may be require a qualitative analysis on behalf of the hiring manager.
Questions you should know has a barista job candidate:
How many years of experience do you have with coffee?
If you don’t have any experience, you need to come up with a good response to this question. Have you taken any barista courses? Do you have a food handler’s permit? Have you read any coffee books? Without hesitation your answer should be clear and always leaning to “being willing to learn more” about coffee. If you have a year or two under your belt, then great! Again, your answer should be confident, direct, but that you are always willing to retrain under their manager.
What kind of Espresso machines have you worked with?
As a barista you will be working with an espresso machine. Have you worked with a Slayer machine? La Marzocco? Or any others. Of course it would help if the current espresso machine at the café you are applying to has the same machine – but it may not matter much. The idea is that you have been able to handle the basics of working with the espresso machine and are “willing to learn” how to use the machine the café has!
What Is Your Availability?
Hiring someone who can be available during the hours they need is important. This rings true for every industry and every job. However, you should be able to tell your interviewer the exact days and times you are available. In addition, any other important information may also be helpful, such as sharing that you have classes or another job Mondays and Tuesdays, for example.
Do You Have Three Personal or Professional References?
You should also have a typed piece of paper with the names, titles, emails, and phone numbers of three references. You may include a reason why and how they became your reference. In addition, you should always have your name, phone number on the piece of paper. Having references are important for managers and owners of cafes and coffee shops. This is critical because many managers will try to determine whether you have demonstrated excellent work in the past. Also don’t forget to ask permission of your references. In addition, you might want to contact them and tell them to expect a phone call/email from your perspective employer.
What’s Your Favorite Coffee Drink?
Humanizing yourself with a little humor and sharing a details about your personal tastes when it comes to coffee can be a very good tool during an interview. Sharing what your personal favorite coffee drink should be one. You should have at least three coffee drinks that you would call your favorite ready and at the tip of your tongue. Knowing what you want not only tells the interviewer that you know what you like, but that you have taken the time to explore other types of coffees and arrived at your personal choice with some considerable thought!
Barista Interview: What if you don’t have any coffee experience?
It’s no secret that many employers want baristas with at least one or two years of experience. But what if you don’t have any barista training or experience at all? Well, sometimes that can be a good thing. Why? Because sometimes its easier for a owner or manager to train someone how to “pull shots” and make coffee drinks that doesn’t have any previous experience.
“The worst thing is trying to break bad habits,” said Sam Gilbert, one frustrated cafe owner. “The truth is that you hire for personality and train for skill.”
If you don’t have any coffee making experience – then let your passion for coffee and your personality be the first thing that leads the way in your interview. “A great personality, easy temperament, and charm goes along way in my coffee shop,” she added.
Focus on your passion, your desire to learn, and your personality – along with your reliability too – to emphasize during the hiring process.
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