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Interview at Starbucks? It’s Not Just for Coffee Anymore

January 25, 2012

myJoblinxIf you’re anything like me, your day starts with a trip to a nearby Starbucks (or a local coffee shop) for a fresh brewed cup of coffee.  This has been my daily routine for the last 10 years or so and it has also been a convenient spot for me to briefly connect with colleagues or friends as well.  Lately, I’ve noticed a new trend, more and more employers are meeting with candidates and conducting job interviews at Starbucks rather than at the office.  This is not too hard to miss.  At times, you could even hear the job interview being conducted at the table next to you.

As co-founder of myJoblinx, I find these public places to be excellent settings for startup companies to gather with co-workers or meet up with clients.  I’ve also conducted my own share of initial job interviews with candidates over a cup of coffee.  If you are in a similar situation, here are 5 tips you might find useful when interviewing in a public setting like Starbucks:

  1. Try To Avoid It:  Plain and simple.  If given the option, try to interview at the place of business.  As a candidate, part of the interview process is for you to evaluate the culture, the premises and the people as a potential employer.  You want this experience so that it helps you with your decision-making process.  Honestly, I’d be a little suspicious if they do not allow you the opportunity to come on-site prior to extending an offer.  Are they trying to hide something?  What is it that they don’t want you to see?
  2. Know The Details:  Like all other job interviews, be prepared and confirm the exact time and location.  According to Starbucks store locator, there are more than 50 Starbucks in the City of San Jose so make sure you arrive at the right one.  Also, ask the recruiter or staffing coordinator how you will recognize the interviewer(s).  Most importantly, come early and try to scope out the seating area.  All Starbucks have a different layout so try to sit at a table which seems most comfortable and gives you some level of privacy– preferably away from high-traffic areas such as customer lines, condiment center or rest rooms to minimize noise and distractions.
  3. Don’t Act Too Casual:  Many people enjoy the relaxing ambiance of Starbucks.  They are usually cozy and very inviting, with background music that promotes relaxation.  Recognize that the job interview starts when you first arrive at the location and does not end until you are out the door and on your way home.  Avoid being too casual in an informal environment like chewing on the coffee straw, cracking jokes or even using inappropriate language.  It is important to keep relaxed but also professional.   Be aware that all of these casual behaviors could potentially ruin your interview or the interviewer may develop a bad first impression of you.
  4. Drinking Too Much:  Don’t drink too much coffee!  Caffeine may cause you to feel hyper or ‘jittery’.  It may also cause you to talk too much or affect your overall body language.  It’s important to maintain a balance between talking and listening.  Drinking too much caffeine may cause you to ramble, interrupt the interviewer or start answering even before he/she finishes the question.  You may come across as being a bad listener or an annoying person.  Keep in mind, drinking too much coffee or tea may also cause you to visit the restroom more than normal.
  5. Expect The Unexpected:  There are so many ‘uncontrolled’ variables that could affect the outcome of your job interview.  For instance, you may experience an embarrassing moment like spilling coffee or tea on your favorite shirt or blouse, a crying baby next to you may cause you to lose your concentration or a friend stops by your table and suddenly interrupts the conversation.  Regardless of the circumstances, stay positive and focused.

What are your best job interviewing tips in a public setting like Starbucks?   We’d love to hear your thoughts, comments or experiences.  Like us and join the conversation.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 29, 2012 9:49 am

    I got my new job just broefe the economy tanked. I knew I was qualified for the job, but of course you have to convince the interviewer, in this case, also the owner. Well turns out, they didn’t have any choice, because their first choice changed his mind, the day broefe he was to start. The interview and hiring process went very fast. I didn’t find out until after I was hired, that I was not their first choice. Now is has been more than two years, and everyone is happy. I was lucky to get the job, but hard work helped me keep it.


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