Standing out to secure the best Barista jobs

I’ve been recruiting for Barista’s this week and I wanted to pass on the secrets to securing a job.

Most cafe owners don’t have time to train you, and are looking for someone with a minimum of  3-5 years experience. So how do you secure “experienced” barista jobs if you don’t have much experience under your belt? What is the owner looking for? How do you stand out?

I interviewed 50 applicants who all called themselves “experienced Barista’s” and only 2 were remotely close to the standard that is expected of a “Barista”. Most had Service IQ certificates,some had under taken ” professional barista training ” for a couple of hours, one had been professionally trained by a National Barista Champion and disappointingly several had been full time Barista’s for over 4 years, none of  them made the cut – so what didn’t they do right?

This is my checklist when recruiting  – Nail these and it won’t matter how many years you have under your belt, because it all boils down to competency.

How do I stand out at an interview to secure the best jobs.

10 Tips for securing the best jobs

  1. Don’t rush in  – get centered so you dont lose your cool in a new environment. Ask some scoping questions below to help you relax and to help you gather intel.
  2. Ask about the machinery, chances are you haven’t worked with machine or grinder before, find out if it has any quirks or …..
  3. Ask how they serve their beverages, every cafe serves coffee their own way these days so ask how they like it served
  4. Ask about the blend of beans and brand they use, and how they are working with it to get the best out of it.
  5. Ask how busy they are, how many kg per day, per week and what the busy times are – how many cups or kgs need making in the rush?
  6. Look around, find out where everything is placed before you start – milk, dump pipe, cupping up area, sink, cloths etc.
  7. Check the machine is clean  – while you ask all your questions take out the portafilter and check how clean the machine is, if its dirty clean it before you make your cup of coffee – its your reputation at stake here so dont throw it away by using a dirty machine. ( you could ask when it was last cleaned but in this instance it’s better to check against your own standards than rely on someones word.)
  8. Have a play, get to know the machine and tamp pressure, do a few test shots without milk and see what is produced. What are their buttons programmed for and what  are their volumetrics set as. Chances are they won’t appreciate you adjusting their grinder, just to be sure, always ask ” can I adjust the grinder if I need to?” after your test shots you should know what you have to work with and can adjust your tamp pressure to compensate.
  9. Make a few cups of coffee simultaneously, you should be relaxed enough now and have a good sense of what is expected of you. Ease into your own workflow now and make a few beverages to serve. Always make a range of 3-4 different beverages to demonstrate your knowledge and ability.
  10. Be Humble, ask for feedback and accept it graciously. Owners want to employ people who can fit in with the existing team and will be easy to manage so demonstrate to them that you are easy going but competent.


Leave us a Comment…

If you are job hunting let us know if you have been knocked back  for jobs lately and didn’t understand why. Sometimes, there is no amount of professional barista training can compensate for nerves and it can be how you perform on the day…

If you are an owner who is looking for quality staff add to our top ten list with your own recruitment criteria.

Good luck & happy job hunting

Nic Berry


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