We expect Ristretto baristas to be great with and knowledgeable about coffee; also, punctual, clean, friendly, smart. I also love it when they bring ideas to the table; when they look at what we're doing and feel at liberty to say, "I think we can build a better mousetrap" and then, show the enthusiasm to help build it.
Other cafes in Portland apparently want other things, as detailed in this New York Times piece, which focuses on one cafe, Ladybug, and its requirement of "a five-page job application form that includes 10 essay questions intended to weed out all but the most devoted and cheerful baristas." I'd never heard of Ladybug, and was curious as to why it merited a detailed article in the Times. That said, we know the Times loves Portland; that all manner of coffee culture is currently hot, and the piece is, I guess, as much about getting and keeping a job in a tough economy as one's literary prowess.
Anyway, ten questions of job applicants, in general. What would you ask?