If you've previously worked as a barista, you would know that the role is exceptionally customer-centric. It also requires someone who works quickly, can easily adapt to changing demands, and can consistently produce the same products multiple times a day. And if you’re only starting out as a barista, it is important that during job interviews you demonstrate an understanding of this. But there are a few other things you should focus on too to help you stand out in your next barista interview.
Showcase Your Experience & Knowledge
This isn’t impossible for anyone who has never worked as a barista before. The Barista Coffee Master Class offered in Melbourne by Coffee School will equip you with two nationally recognised Statements of Attainment. Prepare and Serve Espresso Coffee (SITHFAB005) and Use Hygienic Practices for Food Safety (SITXFSA001) show prospective employers that you already have the foundational skill and knowledge to work as a barista. Our Master Class assessment includes both a written assessment and a skill demonstration. And for an entry-level barista position, this will help you stand out against other candidates with no experience.
Highlight a Willingness to Learn
The best baristas don’t assume they know everything about coffee and the role of barista. They understand that–like most hospitality positions–you never stop learning. Customer tastes and expectations change, as do the methods for performing certain tasks. Holding Statements of Attainment for preparing espresso coffees and food safety already show you have a willingness to learn. But you should also find ways of expressing this during your interview.
Emphasise Your Passion for Coffee
Almost anyone can train to be a barista. But the best baristas are truly passionate about coffee. This extends beyond coffee appreciation. Do you know how different beans, roasts, blends, and grind size can influence different coffee drinks? What about how drip, pour-over, espresso, and other coffee-making also affect taste and aroma? Do you understand what drives the focus on fair trade and responsibly sourced coffee, and how to tell if the beans you are using meet the requirements? Being passionate about coffee also pairs well with a willingness to learn. And with Australia’s somewhat unique coffee culture, would also translate into great engagement with customers.
Show Awareness of the Business
This isn’t just about awareness of the coffee business in general, though that is important. You should also know a little bit about the business you are interviewing with. If they have been around for some time, make sure you know a little bit about their history. But also research ahead of time the kind of coffee drinks they offer, along with trying to understand their audience and target market. This also means trying to discern their peak hours and whether they mostly serve coffee to-go or to sit down customers.
Be Prepared for Behavioural Questions
Anyone can claim to be dedicated to customer service, or able to multitask and work under pressure. Which is why many interviewers now ask for examples when assessing soft skills. Providing these on-the-spot can be tricky even to the most experienced people, so prepare by thinking back to real-life examples of you dealing with large, complicated orders, or dealing with an unhappy customer. These don’t have to be from previous barista jobs, they can be from any industry as long as they relate to the behaviour being questioned.
Finally, the best way to stand out in your next barista interview is by being authentic. Your interviewer wants someone who immediately comes across as friendly, outgoing, and dedicated to being the best they can be. But they will also expect to see this continue if you get the job. Don’t pretend to have any soft or hard skills in the interview because this will become obvious once you start working. Leaving your new employer wondering what else you faked.