Later this week I will be interviewing people to work in our cafe, so I am looking for your interview tips.. Anything I really need to ask? (or not)

Eve

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You'd be suprised how many people that have applied that respond to my question of "Do you like coffee?" to "Well sorta."
I'm thinking then, well why do you want to work here?
I don't know, I guess I see it as if you don't like coffee, then how are you going to be able to taste/pick apart bean characteristics, and such.
It sounds like the simplest question ever, however it's a very good one.
amen to that. To be a great barista you need to be obsessed. To be a good barista you need to love coffee. To be a barista you need hands. You don't just want hands do you?

Also IMO, if they say they have experience have them make you a drink. If they do a good job then there you go. I have found that people who have "experience" often don't. They think they already know things and are very hard to teach, much harder than a person who knows nothing but is ready to learn.
I like to hold group interviews for the first interview. I'll have a table set up and just send everyone over and "finish" something up as I watch how everyone interacts. Then the first question I ask is who can introduce me to the other people at the table.
I generally do group interviews to help each person feel more comfortable. Then I can get a feel for how they interact with someone they haven't met before. I ask them what observations they have about our store, and how they would improve it.

The main thing I try to do in an interview is listen to how they are answering my questions. I've found that a potential employee will "say" a lot of things to get a job (especially right now), but that doesn't always mean they come through on their promises. Are they comfortable talking to you, are they nervous, do they maintain eye contact the whole time, are they confident in themselves.

The most important thing for me though is the first impression. They will have about 1-3 minutes to leave a lasting impression with the customer, and I'm giving them about 20-30 minutes. If they haven't captured my attention in the first 5 minutes, that's the impression the customer will get.

Hire slow. Fire fast.
Wow, great advice here.

Barat Smith said:
I generally do group interviews to help each person feel more comfortable. Then I can get a feel for how they interact with someone they haven't met before. I ask them what observations they have about our store, and how they would improve it.

The main thing I try to do in an interview is listen to how they are answering my questions. I've found that a potential employee will "say" a lot of things to get a job (especially right now), but that doesn't always mean they come through on their promises. Are they comfortable talking to you, are they nervous, do they maintain eye contact the whole time, are they confident in themselves.

The most important thing for me though is the first impression. They will have about 1-3 minutes to leave a lasting impression with the customer, and I'm giving them about 20-30 minutes. If they haven't captured my attention in the first 5 minutes, that's the impression the customer will get.

Hire slow. Fire fast.
my boss use to ask people two questions in their interview, and only two:
1. what's your zodiac sign?
2. what's your favorite color?

obviously, you should ask more than this. but you may wanna include them :)
I had a boss that would ask the person to role play an interaction with a customer. Whether they eagerly jump in or they shift uncomfortably and say "do I have to?" can tell you a lot about their personality and the type of person you are interviewing.
Wow awesome! Thanks for all your great replies, they are definately not the answers I expected but I guess we are more looking for a person with a certain character than an enormous amount of knowledge.

I love the idea for a group interview :-)
The usual things like, "Do you have a car? How many customer service jobs have you worked at in the past? Are you a morning person or a night person? Introvert or extrovert?" I usually wrap up with "Have you worked in the industry before?" If they say yes, I'll ask them where. If it's commercial chain crap, then I ask them if they are ready to forget everything they have ever learned about coffee up until this point. If it's an independent I haven't heard of I do exactly what Jesse said, I ask them to make me a drink. If they have solid technique that needs a little tweaking then I'll say so. If they have horrible technique I usually don't hire them. Bad habits are very hard to break. I also ask what they think a reasonable amount of training time is. Also, instead of asking, "Do you like coffee" (to which any applicant with half a brain would reply 'yes' even if it was a lie) I ask, "What is your favorite thing about coffee as a drink?" After that I usually ask what their favorite things about coffee shops are. Finally I ask them what's in their back seat and trunk of their car (if they have one). If they can't clean up after themselves outside these walls, I don't suspect they will do so inside these walls either.

-bry

Black Sheep Coffee North said:
You'd be suprised how many people that have applied that respond to my question of "Do you like coffee?" to "Well sorta."
I'm thinking then, well why do you want to work here?
I don't know, I guess I see it as if you don't like coffee, then how are you going to be able to taste/pick apart bean characteristics, and such.
It sounds like the simplest question ever, however it's a very good one.
Hiring a Barista that doesn't like coffee would be the equivalent of hiring a chef who doesn't really like food...

Black Sheep Coffee North said:
You'd be suprised how many people that have applied that respond to my question of "Do you like coffee?" to "Well sorta."
I'm thinking then, well why do you want to work here?
I don't know, I guess I see it as if you don't like coffee, then how are you going to be able to taste/pick apart bean characteristics, and such.
It sounds like the simplest question ever, however it's a very good one.
They may be a wonderful employee in all other aspects of the job, but they are never going to be a great barista, nor will they ever truly understand and participate in the coffee culture.

Jonathan Meadows said:
Hiring a Barista that doesn't like coffee would be the equivalent of hiring a chef who doesn't really like food...

Black Sheep Coffee North said:
You'd be suprised how many people that have applied that respond to my question of "Do you like coffee?" to "Well sorta."
I'm thinking then, well why do you want to work here?
I don't know, I guess I see it as if you don't like coffee, then how are you going to be able to taste/pick apart bean characteristics, and such.
It sounds like the simplest question ever, however it's a very good one.
The last question I always ask is "Why should I hire you? What are you going to bring to us that no one else will?" Always a fun question to ask in a group setting.

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