It’s that time of year again! My trusty summer help is heading off to college, which means I have to restaff my beloved coffee shop!
Here’s a few things to remember, should YOU want to get a job at your local coffee shop:
1. Don’t get baked.
I really, really don’t care what you do in your spare time. As long I NEVER KNOW! So if you come in and apply for a job, don’t smell like weed. I’m not that old, I know what it smells like, your Old Spice isn’t fooling anyone.
2. Don’t have your Mom help you.
If you’re under 18, come in and pick up your own application. If a parent comes in, I give out a certain application, so that when it comes back, I know. You did not have the initiative or the drive to come and get it yourself.
3. Don’t have your STONED Mom come in and help you.
I had a woman come in smelling like weed, dragging her son who was 17 and ALSO smelled like weed, tell me that her son needs to “Get a damn job”.
This may be true, but Mom doesn’t need to tell me that. This tells me that son does not WANT a job. This tells me that son will never be on time, will call in sick constantly, and really won’t give a crap.
Well, that and the smell of weed all over both of them.
4. Pen. Get one.
Something about applications filled out in pencil. I don’t like it. Maybe that’s just me and I’m neurotic.
5. It’s food service, you’re going to work weekends.
You’re better off asking for Monday/Tuesday off than Saturday/Sunday.
6. If you really hate coffee, than working at a coffee shop is probably not for you.
It may seem weird, but we’re passionate about coffee. I’ve got 1 or 2 employees that are tea drinkers, but they still at least LIKE coffee and drink coffee. Every single day, a customer will ask, “What do you recommend?” when purchasing beans, tea, or just picking a drink off the menu. I like my staff to answer honestly. Be it, “I love a good cup of black coffee, so I do the Rage Against the Bean through a french press” or “I love the sweeter drinks, so I really like the White Chocolate Caramel Mocha”. Either way, you should have SOMETHING to say here besides, “I don’t like coffee”.
7. Spell check. You don’t have to be perfect, but if I see lots and lots of spelling errors over and over, it’s not going to be on the top of my call back pile.
8. Be honest.
Look, would I prefer to hire someone with coffee experience? Sure! Is it a MUST? Not necessarily. But here’s the thing. If you fib on your app, maybe make up an out of state shop that doesn’t really exist (saying it closed down) I’m going to know pretty dang quick. Being a barista is a much harder job than everyone assumes it is. If you get on my bar and start pulling 12 second shots and the milk screams bloody murder when you steam it… I’ll know something is up, and your job is toast.
Whereas if you just tell me straight up, “I love coffee, I want to learn, but have no experience” I’m likely to give you a shot, and train you properly.
9. Dress up a little
I’m not saying formal business attire, or even business casual! But clean jeans, clean shirt, hair pulled back… it makes a big difference. We’re not a khakis and button up shirt kind of establishment, but we do have a dress code! (Don’t look like shit, and pull your pants up) If you’re violating that dress code while filling out an application, I’ll remember!
10. Be brave, fly solo
Don’t come in with your friend, your boyfriend, your teacher, your parents, the really nice neighbor next door… come in by yourself. You want me to trust you to run my store? The business that pays my mortgage, puts food on my table, pays my employees, and helps keep a local roaster (and his family) in business? I need to trust you! If you’re nervous just picking up an application and need someone to hold your hand, how can I trust you to RUN A SHOP? It’s a lot harder!
11. Speak up!
Oh darling emo kid. I think your hair is super cute the way it flops in your face. And I get you’re in that shy awkward stage. But if I can’t understand you when you ask for an application, all I’m thinking is: How are you going to speak to my customers???? Speak up! Be confident and cheerful! There is no “quiet” or “shy” with my employees. We’re loud and happy. We talk and joke with the customers and each other! Observe how we act before you decide you want to work here!
12. THINK ABOUT IT
Common sense. Get you some. It’s probably not the best idea to walk into your local coffee shop with your Starbucks coffee and ask for an application. The same way you shouldn’t carry your Happy Meal into a steakhouse and say you want to be a chef. Leave it in your car.
Under the THINK ABOUT IT thing, be smart. Don’t tell me you want to work here because it looks so super easy! Yea you have no experience but “How hard can it be to make coffee?” Seriously? You’re insulting the hell out of me and my staff. I *almost* want to hire you and stick you on bar right away to show you just how hard it can be.
13. The weed thing. I mean it.
I have had no less than 3 applicants today just reek of weed. (We won’t even talk about the 20something year old who, when asked about availability, told me he “Just needed 4:20 off every day”)
Ugh. This is truly my least favorite thing in the world to do. Hire people. Sure it’s entertaining, but it gets a bit depressing after a while. A big part of why I work so many hours is because we’re a small biz and it’s just what you have to do to survive. The smaller part? Because it’s so hard to find good help.
EDIT- Technology. I has it. Know that most employers know what facebook is. FYI. Might wanna take some of those pics off your profile…