Skip to main content

Is Your Overly-Complicated Coffee Order Keeping You from Getting the Job?

You like lattes. A lot. You also have an upcoming job interview that will take place at a coffee shop.

Yay! To you, it seems like the best of both worlds: you get to interview for a job while enjoying your favorite, personalized hot beverage! But could your coffee order keep you from getting the job?

Consider this tip brewed up today in Canada's Globe and Mail:

Coffee is the new lunch: Lunch takes a long time and is a hassle. These days, set up coffee meetings. You can fit four or five in during a day (compared to one lunch) and all around you will be other people doing deals and other important business. But be careful what you order. [An interviewer] was at a Starbucks interviewing somebody who ordered such a complicated drink – it seemed to have 10 parts – that he wondered if she would be too high maintenance. In the end, he didn’t hire her. Order simply – and with lunch freed, use the time to get real work done.

Is it true? Could your coffee order help blow your chances of getting hired? Let's explore this glass-half-empty type of thinking together.

Coffee Status: It's Complicated
For hiring managers, interviewing candidates at a coffee shop achieves at least two goals: (1) Getting out of the office; and (2) having another cup of coffee! Now you two have made it to the top of the line, and it's your turn to order. The interviewer kindly asks you to go first. What will you order?

Well, you will order what you always order! You tell the crazy-busy barista struggling through heavy roast rush hour that you would like a "Venti half whole milk, one-quarter one-percent milk, one-quarter non-fat milk, split the quads, extra hot, two decaf, one shot caffeinated with a sprinkle of cinnamon and whipped cream." Come again? Even the barista looks confused.

But what is the interviewer thinking as the barista asks for a recap? Here's the working theory: If your coffee order is overly-complicated, then you must be overly-complicated, too! You might turn out to be the type of picky employee who questions everything at work. The interviewer is suddenly thinking: do we want to hire somebody like this?

If the barista seems to glaze over as you place your order, then it might be time to simplify things. Save your large double half-caf scalded almond milk latte -- four pumps vanilla and one pump cinnamon -- with an extra half shot sweetened with agave nectar heated at 167 degrees with room for cream for later!

Pfft! No interviewer would turn away a job applicant because of their coffee order! What a load of beans. But this whole thing just might add up to a hill of beans. Hiring managers are looking at the full picture when they meet an applicant, and the small things make a big difference. The little things, for better and for worse, inform the interviewer's decision-making process because they don't know you very well. So keep it simple.

The Business Coffee "Lunch"
The working coffee "lunch" is a thing now. If you're meeting colleagues at a coffee shop to work, then keep your order fairly simple -- especially if you're meeting a client. The same goes for office coffee runs. Writing your coffee order on a Post-It note (or texting it) so your co-worker can recite it to the barista at the counter is a neon sign that your coffee drink is too high-maintenance. Pick a simpler drink.

Does this slimmed-down coffee order theory actually work? Test it out the next time you find yourself doing a coffee shop interview. Strategically order a simple cup of tea**, a basic skim hazelnut latte, or a medium black coffee rather than your order with ten moving parts. See what happens. If you make it to subsequent interview rounds and you think it's due in part to simplifying your coffee grounds, please let me know.

** Don't add packets of honey to your tea, unless you want sticky hands for the rest of the interview.


Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…