Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

So You Want to Hire Like Starbucks?

We all love Starbucks, or love to hate Starbucks (HOW DO THEY GET ALL MY MONEY?). What we should be doing is hiring like Starbucks. Starbucks is a global company with thousands of employees: they need to have a great system for hiring top talent. I’m sure we all have our favorite story of a terrible interaction with a Starbucks employee, so get that out of your system right now. Write a nasty letter, tweet, or Facebook status to that terrible employee who spelled your name wrong. Done? Okay. Like any major, and successful, company, Starbucks has a set of interview questions and hiring practices that allow them to keep a consistent workforce of energized and valuable employees. And that system is probably only partially built on constant caffeination.

The Starbucks interview process is a reflection of its overall corporate culture. Interview questions are based around Starbucks’ commitment to 3 main goals: overall excellence, respect for customers and co-workers, and a dedication to corporate social responsibility. The focus on positive relationships with customers and co-workers is especially important, and is reflected even in the hiring terminology. In Starbucks’ paperwork and mission statements, all employees are called “partners.”

Interview questions include not only background questions about retail experience and food safety, but also questions about teamwork and commitment to company goals. In short: Starbucks wants to know if a candidate is going to be a good “partner.”

Sample interview questions might include:

  • Tell me about a time when it was better to be agreeable in a situation rather than continue the argument.
  • How would you deal with an angry customer while you were busy completing tasks?

And, of course, it’s also important to have a few easy interview questions:

  • What would you do if a coworker asked you to help him/her steal? (Hint: DON’T GO STEALIN’ STUFF)

In addition to its focus on teamwork, Starbucks has another quality that makes it head-and-shoulders above many other major hiring powers.

Starbucks has a formidable social media presence — the company boasts Twitter’s fourth highest following, with 3.8 million followers. This social media presence translates to some major firepower when it comes to the hiring process. Starbucks has the number five Facebook hiring page on the site, and also uses “Starbucks Partners” pages designed specifically for current Facebook employees. So you want to hire like Starbucks? Starbucks connects with its fans daily via social media, and so ensures a steady stream (steady pour?) of talent during its hiring season.

So You Want to Hire Like… investigates innovative hiring practices from leaders in talent acquisition. Share your thoughts on this article below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by rudolf_schuba

Kristin Anderson

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.