Further than knowing you can trust your employees, you have to be sure that they can perform the job the way you expect it to be performed. A barista has to be someone who is dedicated to his profession, somebody who cares about coffee culture.
What makes a good Barista? Well, it’s all about who you ask. But we have thought about what are the most important things we would like to know before we work with a Barista.
Let’s jump right into some sample questions to work with for your upcoming interviews!
1. What’s your favorite thing about making coffee?
The purpose of this question is to see if the person is passionate about their job. Ideally, you want someone who cares a lot about the process, someone you know will take the time and dedication to deliver consistent quality in their coffee.
Bad responses: “Drinking a sip of someone’s coffee when no one’s looking”, or “The part when I get paid”.
2. Do you make your own coffee at home?
You want to know whether the person is still enamored with the art of making coffee or if they don’t really care about it anymore. There are some baristas who are happy to just drink espresso all day, but what we want is someone with a variety of tastes, someone who can recommend you a different drink each day of the week.
Bad responses: “I don’t drink coffee at home”.
3. How many times a day do you drink coffee?
Coffee addiction is very regular among Baristas. A barista should drink coffee every day, as it is important that someone that makes coffee also enjoys coffee. This questions will let you get to know the person a little more, and get an insight on what kind of person they might be.
Bad responses: “I don’t drink coffee”, or “I prefer RedBull™”
4. Convince me to try a coffee drink that I’ve never had before.
To test both the selling abilities and the coffee knowledge of the potential barista, an employer will ask this or similar “sell me X” questions.
Bad responses: “Try some tea”, “Espresso”.
5. Have you worked as a Barista before? How long?
A barista is a busy person, and you should know whether they can keep up with the amount of work you need them to, or whether they can hold the fort on their own. The more experience they have, the better.
An experienced barista might be a better option, but choose passion over experience. A person that loves coffee and is constantly reading about it and participating in coffee culture is more valuable than a bitter barista.
Bad responses: “I make my dad’s coffee” or “I worked at a place for some time, but it burned down. I was the only one who survived.”
6. Can you strike up a conversation with strangers?
People skills are arguably the most important thing for a barista. Coffee- brewing, grinding- all of this can be taught. But a good personality, an affinity with people cannot be taught so easily. Find out just how good your potential employee is at interacting with people they don’t know.
Bad responses: “I’m not comfortable around strangers”, “I’m not really a people person”
7. What tasks do you expect to be performing as a barista?
Above all, you want someone to work at your shop: not just a coffee maker. You need to know whether they are experienced –and willing- to wash dishes, clean toilets, the whole package that comes with maintaining a clean workspace. If not experienced, this can easily be taught, but it’s important to sense their willingness to go beyond simple tasks, and be prepared to do things that might be out of their comfort zone.
Bad responses: “I don’t like cleaning”, “Doesn’t someone else take care of that?”
8. Do you work well under pressure?
Coffee shops can be really busy. There’s always at least one day of the week where you won’t even have time to think between orders. Baristas need to thrive under these conditions: Letting pressure affect you negatively can make you screw up an order, which will affect your whole workflow. Look for signs, experiences, or stories about times they’ve overcome really stressful days. You want someone who can come out on top of difficult situations, not crumble under them.
Bad responses: “I like to take frequent bathroom breaks”, or “I get nervous really easily”