A bartender interview, like every other job interview, is generally challenging and a lot goes into acing the tests and giving the right answers thrown at you.
What is even more daunting for bartenders is that you may be required to show off your skills on the spot, as well as ace the questions you will be asked.
While writing a good CV and researching the position will go a long way in acing a bartender interview, just like most interviews, the key is to prepare ahead for the questions that you’ll likely be asked.
For your benefit, here are a few tips on how to get that bartender job you applied for.
Your personality matters
Bars, clubs, lounges, restaurants and everywhere else there is a bar and drinks to be served is a hospitality business – that is one crucial fact about the industry. As such, your employer will only look forward to hiring someone with a likeable personality. You must prove to him that you can be comfortable and cheerful around customers and colleagues as this is important to the nature of the business. As you settle into the chair offered you by your interviewer(s), ensure to look relaxed, positive, composed with a welcoming smile spread across your face.
Look keen for the job
Showing up for an interview without a printed copy of your CV shows a lack of desire for the job. Always bring a copy of your CV, cover letter and letters of recommendation (if required). Also, carry a small jotter and a pen with you to take down notes. This tells your employer that you are keen on the job and eager to learn.
Know your recipe
What kind of bartender will your employer think you are if you do not have a good knowledge of some popular cocktail recipes? A good knowledge of the most common recipe in your area will get you ahead in your interview. You also have to be prepared to make one or two cocktails as your interviewer may want to test your skill and speed in shaking up a cocktail.
As a bartender, one chief responsibility is to determine when a customer has had enough to drink and the ability to handle such situations. No bar, lounge or club wants to be hooked on the story of a customer being involved in an alcohol-related accident after leaving their establishment. So you see, this particular skill is life-saving per say.
To cut someone who has drank enough off, you can either
- Appeal to their friends (people are more likely to listen to their friend).
- Tell the customer honestly, but nicely, that you think they’ve had enough
Being a public place with booze going around, there is always the tendency for a crisis to occur. Proving to your potential employer that you can get on top such situations without smearing the integrity of the bar will surely get you closer to your job.
On chaotic bar night
Some nights sales are slow, other nights, customers throng in and everything becomes chaotic. Your ability to take multiple orders on a crowded night will put you in good light with your interviewer. So be ready to tell them the best way to take orders without mixing it up, and at the same time getting the drinks ready speedily. Chipping in previous experiences where you excelled in such situations is highly advisable here.
There are a lot more that comes into nailing a bartender interview, but the basic is simply self-presentation and smart answers to questions asked.
Below are some questions that you might likely be asked during a bartender interview:
- Tell us about yourself – Always be prepared for this question in all interviews.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses – Brag about your strengths, but always make sure your weaknesses do not flaw you totally, but comes with a bit of an advantage.
- Tell me about a difficult customer you had to handle and what you did to resolve the situation? – Your ability to handle a crisis is what your interviewer wants to know here.
If you caught another bartender stealing, what would you do? – Bar owners do not want people who steal from them. This is a test of your character and honesty.
If a customer said his drink wasn’t strong enough, what would you do? – Brag about your ability to relate well to customers, even when they have a complaint.
What is the best way to make a Sex on the Beach (or any other cocktail)? – This is a test of your mixologist skills and most especially your attention to hygiene.