Baristas Back into Work

Dear Barista, 

So you’ve got a trial shift or an interview coming up and you’re feeling a bit nervous. That’s okay!  We’ve all felt butterflies in our stomachs the moment before we begin a conversation with a potential employer or hop behind the bar for a trial shift. It’s totally normal to feel a bit anxious before an interview. 

But what you shouldn’t feel is unprepared. 

That’s why we’ve created this little guide to help you plan and prepare for your next interview or trial shift so you go in and blow their minds with your coffee knowledge and technical ability. Think of it as a step-by-step guide to help you feel more confident and comfortable the next time you have an interview. 

The Four R’s: Research, Remember, Get Ready, Reach Out

So you’ve gotten an interview or a trial shift scheduled – hopefully the employer has given you at least a day’s notice. Follow the Four R’s and you’ll be feeling cool, calm, and confident in no time.

  • Research – Find the coffee shop or coffee brand on social media and start following them. Take a look through some of their posts and make note of anything that interests you. If you do not have a social media account, be sure to research the coffee shop online. They probably have a website or maybe a Facebook page, and you can read all about their business there. 

Why? Doing your research will help you look like an informed Barista in the interview who is interested in their business, and this is really important to employers. You can ask questions like   “I noticed you started serving hot chocolate recently, was that due to customer demand? ” or “I see you use guest roasters for your filter selection – how do you choose which roasters to highlight?”  

  • Remember Your Training – Look through your handbook and/or notes from training to remind yourself everything you learned in your course. It’s a great tool that many Baristas do not have access to, and can be really helpful to refresh your memory of how to dial in, steam milk, or pour a heart. You’ve got at your fingertips information about extraction theory, coffee origins, and milk steaming techniques – and these are all things you can discuss in your interview and show the employer how knowledgeable you are.

Why? Many Baristas and even employers do not have SCA training. It is super important to talk as much as possible about what you learned at Well Grounded because you may know things that even your employer doesn’t know. This will make you an incredibly valuable employee, and show the employer that they don’t need to spend too much time training you – you are totally work ready!

  • Get Ready – Prepare your interview outfit. We recommend long trousers, closed-toe or covered shoes (something comfortable like trainers), and a dark top that covers your shoulders. Remember, you might get coffee on it, so don’t wear your favourite white t-shirt! Tie back your hair if it’s long and don’t wear any bracelets, for health and safety reasons. Wearing a watch is fine. Email or call your employer before the interview and ask them if you should bring a mask or gloves or if the employer will provide that on site. 

Why? Showing up to the interview dressed like a Barista will show the employer that you are so work ready, you could jump behind the bar right now! It also shows you’ve taken the time to prepare yourself for their shop’s environment and that will get you bonus points for being thoughtful and prepared.

  • Reach Out – Still feeling nervous after completing the 3 previous steps? That’s okay. We’re here to help. Schedule a call with Kieran, Aashifa, and/or Claire to talk through anything you’d like. We can give you advice on your CV,  tips on the employer (if it’s one of our partners), talk through your concerns, and answer any questions you may have. 

Why? Because the team believes in you and wants to give you the tools, tips, and support to succeed. Aashifa has loads of experience as both a Barista and Head Barista and can give you lots of practical advice for what to expect from a trial shift. Claire has worked with dozens of our partners and gotten inside tips for how to perform well in an interview. Kieran can talk through your CV and advise on how to highlight your soft skills. We also love giving pep talks! 

Feeling like all your nerves and jitters have disappeared? Us too. Reading this back we can’t help but feel that we can conquer anything, be it an interview or a trial. So what’re you waiting for? Respond to that trial email, say yes to that interview, go forth and conquer that opportunity. We hope that by reading this you feel prepared to take on every opportunity that comes your way. 


Claire and Aashifa