The coffee shop I help manage will be looking to hire soon, and it always seems like the majority of applications we receive are from high schoolers who are unable to work in the morning when we really need help. Does anyone have a strategy for finding applicants who are maybe older and have morning availability? The owners and I are a little afraid of the stampede of people we might receive if we placed a help wanted ad in the paper.

I feel like I should mention that I'm writing from Ohio. The coffee culture is slowly growing, but, as a state, we're pretty much still coming out of the dark ages of Folgers and percolators.

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Well as it is we as a new start up are about to start the same search. My gut tells me to tell you Nyssa, to make a posting or ad that is very clear and specific as to what you are looking for. At the end of the ad be sure to mention that applicants need not apply if they don't have at least the top 4 requirements, or what ever. Try to narrow your responses by keeping your ad very much to the point. Also choose your newspaper or media carefully.
i agree, posting on barista exchange is a great way to go. we found real top notch applicants responded to the ad posted on here. craigslist is really hit or miss, but its also free!

EspressoFein said:
I find when you get what you pay for. When you are paying more you will get more quality applicants. It is up to the person interviewing to be picky. I look for people who are trainable, not necessarily experienced( sometimes you get both, which is great) Most people interview 2 people and hire at least one of them. Go through application and pre-screen and rule out at that point. I have certain criteria i use to move applicants to my interview process.
If you want quality people, post jobs in quality places, like Barista Exchange. Good luck with your hunting.
In WA state I like using go2worksource.com and it is pretty great. You can search resumes posted there as well as post your job. I dont know what the equivalent is in your area but im pretty sure most states have one.

CL is ok but its so easy to use that you get alot of bottom feeders along with the good applicants and it can be tough to sort.
it's strange to me that you're not overflowing with quality applications in this economy. Our shop is situated between two colleges though, so we get a lot of college-age kids wanting jobs. If there are any colleges or universities around you, that would be a good place to start. I also like the idea of talking to your regulars. the majority of our baristas were connected with the shop before we hired them.
So well put. Thank you for your input on this. I'm a new shop owner and my age is 61. I may not qualifiy as an "old geezers" but I'm knocking on that door and can relate to the bennies of hiring one.

B. R. Lehman said:
I, being a senior, am a bit prejudice. I answered a Craig's list add nearly two years ago. I work about two hours in the morning (gets me out my jammies). If there were a coffee shop job posted, I would have grabbed it. Consider a person in my position (retired early and like people). I call on businesses during the morning. The businesses that have a senior behind the counter are the most efficient, friendly, and cooperative. I watch how young and old interact with customers. There are some young who are very good, but overall the old geezers have a better way with people, even with the younger clientele. Just my observation.
They may be from the dark ages, of Folgers, and percolators, but they can balance a checkbook, read a road map, and add a column of numbers with out using a calculator.
We do have some good looking applications, but the more the better, right?

I didn't mean to imply that we weren't looking for an older (maybe senior) person. I've long thought that an active retiree or empty nester would be great to have on staff. You'd get the benefit of a flexible schedule and years of work experience. What I meant by "coming out of the dark ages" was that we don't have the benefit of coffee college grads or even many home baristas who might bring some previous coffee knowledge to the position. Most of the shops around here are chains (Sbux, Caribou, etc.) and use super automatic machines, so even those with previous experience need intensive retraining. Like most independent shops, we work hard every day to teach our customers about the value of high quality, lovingly made coffee.
Nyssa,
Sounds like a very nice shop. I would love to visit if I get our your way.
Joe

Nyssa said:
We do have some good looking applications, but the more the better, right?

I didn't mean to imply that we weren't looking for an older (maybe senior) person. I've long thought that an active retiree or empty nester would be great to have on staff. You'd get the benefit of a flexible schedule and years of work experience. What I meant by "coming out of the dark ages" was that we don't have the benefit of coffee college grads or even many home baristas who might bring some previous coffee knowledge to the position. Most of the shops around here are chains (Sbux, Caribou, etc.) and use super automatic machines, so even those with previous experience need intensive retraining. Like most independent shops, we work hard every day to teach our customers about the value of high quality, lovingly made coffee.
B. R. Lehman said:
I, being a senior, am a bit prejudice. I answered a Craig's list add nearly two years ago. I work about two hours in the morning (gets me out my jammies). If there were a coffee shop job posted, I would have grabbed it. Consider a person in my position (retired early and like people). I call on businesses during the morning. The businesses that have a senior behind the counter are the most efficient, friendly, and cooperative. I watch how young and old interact with customers. There are some young who are very good, but overall the old geezers have a better way with people, even with the younger clientele. Just my observation.
They may be from the dark ages, of Folgers, and percolators, but they can balance a checkbook, read a road map, and add a column of numbers with out using a calculator.
Or you are just being prejudice. Today I went into VOLUNTARILY fix a grinder for one of our customers (read as no charge on an account that doesn't have a maintenance program). The person working the counter was... I dunno... 60+. He was a pathetic excuse for a barista. There wasn't a single person in the entire business the whole time I was there, which was about 30 minutes. When I came in he was parked in a back room in front of a computer screen (not work related).
I said, "Hello? Have a coffee delivery and also I wanted to look at your decaf grinder. I heard it was acting up."
"Ok...?" And those were the only words he spoke the entire time. Other than a sort of grunt/sigh later when I commented that his work area was kind of disastrous. A doser half full of coffee. Milk caked onto the steam wands. A drip tray covered in espresso. A shot glass that looked like it was last washed sometime in 08. Water spilled all over the counter and dripping onto the floor.
And yet he just sat there on the computer.
I asked if he had been really busy earlier. He didn't reply. Or glance away from his computer screen. Or anything. As I was walking out a customer came in, stood at the counter and started to rattle off on order. I indicated I didn't work there (I looked like I did: towel on my belt, a "Barista" shirt on, covered in coffee) and was just doing some maintenance. The old guy leaned back in his chair so he could peak around the corner he was tucked behind and he asked what they wanted FROM THE BACK ROOM WITHOUT LEAVING HIS CHAIR.

There are bad apples in every age group and I think your generalization is extremely flawed. I'm willing to give you crappy-young kid-hipster-can't do 1+1 without a graphing calculator-can't find the end of my driveway without a GPS-have never written a check in my life-whipper snapper-service whenever you'd like :)

-bry
Agreed. I've seen zero correlation between age and quality of service.

Just because someone is old enough to know better doesn't mean that they do.

(Thanks for sharing that customer-from-hell story, Bry.)

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