Starbucks Brews Online Job Sample

By Stephenie Overman Apr 22, 2008
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NASHVILLE, TENN. Linda Glass, director of global talent strategies for Starbucks, calls the company’s new web-based job application process “my baby.”

Glass described Starbucks’ virtual job tryout as “a state-of-the-art assessment tool.” Elements of the company’s jobs are re-created online to provide applicants visiting Starbucks’ employment site with the opportunity to “test drive” that job. At the same time, the company can assess candidates’ performance potential as they participate in the simulations that mirror various elements of the job.

“The two-way exchange is critical for us,” she said, speaking here at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2008 Staffing Management Conference’s closing keynote session on April 16. Starbucks’ customized job tryout was created by Cleveland-based Shaker Consulting Group Inc.

So far, more than 1,000 people have completed the new application process, according to Glass. And more than 85 percent of them said they found the process clear and easy to understand and to navigate. They reported that it helped them gain a better understanding of the job and determine if it was a good fit for them.

Only applicants in the United States and Canada are using the pilot job tryout program now, Glass said, estimating that it will take six months to a year to be able to assess overall results.

Starbucks also focuses on internal talent with its “My Partners Career” site, where employees, called partners, can network, ask questions and share knowledge. So far there have been 130,000 visitors to the site, Glass said, calling it “critical that everybody take personal action in driving their own career.”

The company has about 170,000 employees worldwide, so the recruiting staff keeps “very, very busy,” Glass said. “Growth has been largely focused domestically, but that will be flattening” as the company continues to expand internationally.

When it comes to coffee selection, Starbucks uses words like “quality, excellence and rigor,” she said. “Those are words we want to be used about talent selection” as well, because the company’s philosophy is that “talent selection is as important as coffee selection.”

Stephenie Overman is editor of Staffing Management magazine.

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