Barista Interview Questions

When hiring a Barista, look for someone with a friendly personality and a desire to provide great customer service. A good Barista will blend in well with the upbeat environment of a coffee shop, book store, or restaurant, and take pride in making sure each customer enjoys their experience in the establishment. 

A Barista is often required to work at a quick pace, especially during peak hours of the day. Being able to multitask, think quickly, and remain organized under pressure are essential qualifications for the role. Your candidate should demonstrate an aptitude for learning about the menu items, taking orders accurately, and completing transactions at the register.  

General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position. 

Below are Barista interview questions to help you get started: 

A Barista typically performs repetitive tasks. What will motivate you to do a great job every day? 

What you want to hear: Your candidate must have experience with, and even a preference for, performing routine tasks. They should be motivated by a job well done even when they begin to feel a level of mastery of the tasks. Every customer must be treated with the enthusiasm they brought to their first customer. 

Red Flag IconRed flag: A candidate who constantly needs something new and different each day might not be suited for this position. Most successful candidates will likely prefer perfecting the same skills over time. 

What would you do if a customer isn’t satisfied with your service?

What you want to hear: The saying is, “the customer is always right”. Your candidate should be able to actively listen to any complaints and try to win them over. A friendly, understanding barista can help turn an angry customer into a satisfied one. 

Red Flag IconRed flag: A barista cannot take things personally or get frustrated with a customer. Angry customers happen, and a barista who responds in kind will harm your business’ reputation. 

Give an example of the best customer service you’ve ever provided.

What you want to hear: An outstanding candidate doesn’t just check all the boxes, but instead goes out of their way to make each customer feel special. Listen for excitement and passion behind their explanation. Make sure they are truly motivated by satisfying customers.

Red Flag IconRed flag: Any barista who simply goes through the motions won’t provide the quality of service you’re looking for. Your barista is the face of your company to each customer that walks in the door, and they need to present themselves in a manner consistent with your company’s brand and values. 

What would you do if you were late for a shift? 

What you want to hear: It is important that you’re candidate emphasizes that they are rarely late. However, in the unlikely occurrence they were late, they would immediately notify their manager and apologize to their co-workers upon arrival.  

Red Flag IconRed flag: A responsible worker understands how being late interrupts the efficient operations of the store, and inconveniences fellow co-workers. A candidate who is indifferent to these outcomes will not be a good team member. 

Why would you like to work at our company? 

What you want to hear: A great candidate will already be familiar with the staff, drinks, food, and/or services your business provides. If they haven’t experienced your establishment, have they researched your business to learn everything they can? Listen for what they can discuss in reasonable detail, such as the atmosphere, food products, service, reputation, and the like.   

Red Flag IconRed flag: If they are excited about your business and the prospect of being part of the team, they’ll likely bring that energy to their customer service. If they are low energy or see your company as just another place to work, they won’t likely be the type of employee you’re looking for. 

Describe a conflict you’ve had with another employee.

What you want to hear: Make sure your chosen candidate is able to resolve or minimize conflicts. They should also be able to focus on their job and provide excellent customer service even under difficult circumstances. 

Red Flag IconRed flag: A candidate who appears to let personal issues with co-workers interrupt productivity, or negatively impact their attitude with customers, will be a severe detriment to your company’s quality of service and reputation. Choose a mature and professional candidate who knows how to navigate conflict and focus on doing great work. 

Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Barista position.

Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who:

  • Are approachable, friendly, and outgoing
  • Can multitask efficiently under pressure
  • Have experience with providing a high level of customer satisfaction