How not to work at Starbucks (or anywhere, for that matter).

I walked into my neighborhood Starbucks this morning. The store manager was having coffee with a young man, who was obviously in for an interview.

As I waited in line, I listened to the exchange between the two of them.

It was downright painful. This kid was absolutely bombing it every which way and there was not one thing I could do to help.

A sampling of the exchange:

Manager: Why did you apply to work here?

Interviewee: Well, I like coffee and I think this place is cool.


Manager: What are your goals for your career, what are you hoping to do?

Interviewee: Uhhh, I don't really know. For now, I just want a job.


Manager: What kind of work environment do you thrive in?

Interviewee: < Blank look >


Manager: What do you know about our history? What do you know about the company?

Interviewee: Ummmm, I know you have a lot of stores.


At this point, it was my turn to order. I turned my attention to the business of procuring a Chonga bagel and tall Pike Place Roast. And by the time I put my change into the tip jar? The interview was over.

Shortly thereafter, I saw the manager glance over to his staff with that sort of, "Ummm, no way" look. He was absolutely professional enough not to say a word in front of the other customers, but it was very clear from his body language that there would not be another conversation with this particular candidate.

I'm sure the candidate knew it, too. At least, I sure as hell hope he did.

People, here's the thing ...

If you're going after a job, any job, make it worth your while.

Make it worth their while.

Or don't bother. Seriously, just don't bother.

Don't waste your time, and don't waste theirs.

People are not stupid.

Companies are in the business of making money. To achieve this, they need to hire exceptional, engaged and enthusiastic people.

I don't care if you truly aren't falling-over-yourself excited about working as a part-time barista. Maybe you applied simply because you need a job, any job. But if your potential employer can't see hints of preparedness, passion and desire in you?

You're done. You're just done.

If you want to work at Starbucks ... if you want to work ANYWHERE ... you absolutely must walk through those doors with something more than "Coffee is tasty" as your core conversation point.

You not only owe it to the manager who has agreed to drop everything and meet with you ...

You owe it to yourself.