As a former staff writer for the Daily Breeze and the San Diego Union-Tribune newspapers -- and a contributor to the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Diana Chapman has covered the issues peoplefind important. In this blog, she focuses on the community programs and resources that benefit children and teens. Also visit her blog: http://www.secretlifeinmybackyard.blogspot.com. You can email her at email@example.com @
A Starbuck's Queen Visits San Pedro High
School to Teach Kids How to Hook Jobs; She Receives Rave Reviews From Students
and the School's College Counselor
By Diana L. Chapman
Starbucks manager Becky Hardin at SP High
How not to get a job at Starbucks or
probably anywhere: One young man turned in an excellent application (Good.)
Stopped in to visit the manager (Very good.) But came in to see the manager pouring
in sweat and wearing gym gear (Bad.)
Very bad. That was one story Becky
Hardin, a Starbuck's manager who represents the25th Street and Western Avenue store, sharedwith juniors and seniors at San Pedro High last
month to teach them job and interviewing skills -- and how to land work at the wildly
successful coffee houses while going to college. That sweating young man did
not land an interview, she said.
For one hour, Becky had nearly two dozen
students mesmerized. No one whispered or talked out of turn. No one
interrupted. The youths peered forward at the animated woman who was training
them how to snatch a Starbuck's job while going to college -- or elsewhere. As
students complained they could not get work because they lacked experience or
had been turned down numerous times, Becky suggested looking at finding jobs in
a different light.
"You should feel empowered to shop
for your own job too," Becky explained and make sure you are a match.
"Know you are valuable and you have a lot to offer. As you are being
interviewed, you should be interviewing them too."
But that's not all the San Pedro Starbuck's
manager told them. She offered up many concepts about interviewing techniques and
added that they needed to include their community experiences in their resumes
and applications "because that paints a picture of you. That is the stuff
we want to see. Are you in clubs? Do you volunteer? Do you babysit? Those are
life skills that will help you.
Don't sell yourself short."
Upfront, Becky told students while she
"loved" her job and that the company has excellent benefits for its
"partners," she added Starbucks comes with intensely hard work
complete with many demanding challenges. That includes the memorization of
87,000 drink combinations, the ability to remain friendly in the often frantic
paced stores and "to sell, sell, sell."
"We like to hire hungry, dedicated
partners," she said, employees who will "take one for the team,"
when a bathroom has been "exploded on" and it becomes a cleanup
project for several partners, including managers.
The manager encouraged students to study
the way a company works and learn how employees dress. That, she said, is the
biggest indicator how one should dress for a job interview. At Starbucks,
"dress the part." Come wearing khaki pants and a nice shirt. Bring a
resume. Ask to see the manager and if it's a bad time, ask when "is a good
time is to come back."
Besides that, think what work matches
"If you hate dressing up and
wearing ties, then don't work in a bank," she said.
For women, she warned, who have long,
manicured nails, that's not possible to have at a Starbuck's job due to health
The tips seemed to resonate with the
youth and the school's college counselor.
"The workshop was fabulous,"
said Valerie Armstrong, the counselor. "Becky is such an engaging speaker,
and the students learned how to present themselves in a positive way when
applying for jobs. This is the type of real-world advice they need and they
heard it from a very credible source."
Other suggestions the manager made was:
-- "Weed out" any sense of
desperation and never take a job because of it. That only leaves both the
employee and the manager unhappy.
--"Scope" out Starbucks or
anywhere else you might be interested in working and see how the store
operates. Each store has its own culture. At Becky's 25th Street and Western
Avenue store, the culture is "loud." Her partners sing, laugh and
tell jokes. But other stores can be more subdued. It is "crucial," to find a match.
--Look for jobs where the staff is treated
well. "If you get a manager with any company who is just rude to you, do
you really want to work for him?"
--Hundreds of email applications pour
constantly in to Starbucks managers from people who are looking to become
baristas, which is why it's so important to make a personal contact.
--Persistence, she added, "often opens
who attended the after school meeting said they were pleased with the speaker
saying her presentation and enthusiasm for her work taught them how to master
the maze of interviewing skills going way beyond just Starbucks.
"This was universal and will help
with any job out there," said soon-to-be-a junior, 15-year-old Ernesto
Hernandez. "I learned so much from this. She was a great speaker and the
story she tells makes it more awesome. She really pushed out there that you
have to be willing to work hard and be trustworthy."
College Bound Christopher Tate, 17, a
junior, said after the workshop: "This was really worth it. It helped me a
lot. I work really hard and I'm pretty good at learning. I also learned you
have to be prepared because you might get an interview on the spot.
"I think it fits me."
In addition, students also said they
were attracted by Starbuck's benefits. Some of those include:
--Hiring people, some without
experience, where they will receive paid training at $8.35 an hour. The pays
remains the same once starting, but will include weekly tips.
--Starbucks encourages and works with college
students schedules and allows baristas to transfer to other locations if
needed. In some cases, Starbucks will pay between $500 to $1,000 in college
tuition fees and for some classes.
--Full health benefits (dental, medical
and vision) with 24 hours or more.
--Partnersreceive free drinks while at work and 30
percent off all store merchandise, including food and beverages.
--Stocks are provided to many eligible
partners to ensure that "partners" have a stake Starbuck's financial
If one gains the opportunity to become a Starbucks barista and go through
the training, mistakes will be made, Becky added. The "training process is
grinding," the manager said, and once completed, "we throw them to
the wolves. It's baptism by fire." But she added, "you've been
trained to deliver successful results."
Don't be afraid of making mistakes. "It
When Becky first started working at a
drive through, she had "12 cars stacked deep." On the counter, she had
all the drinks ready to go but when she turned the drinks flew to the floor. It
"wiped out every single drink."
"My manager said: "Clean it
up."You will do stupid things like
that. It takes about six months for you to feel solid," the manager
Student Rodvidna "Robbin"
Colquitt said she's been trying to get a job at Starbucks but didn't know how.
"This helped me because I've been
trying to work for Starbucks," said student Rodvidna "Robbin"
Colquitt, 16. "I am so glad I came."