Learn Tips and Tricks for a Successful Bartending Interview
Are you just getting started in the industry and need support and guidance for interviews? Learn how to best prepare your answers, master the first impression, and discover more tips and tricks for acing interviews.
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
How to Nail Your Answers
It isn’t always possible to know which questions you’ll be asked in an interview, but here are key tips to best prepare:
- Research common interview questions – speak to someone who has experience in the role you’re applying for, or even try a quick Google search on questions that are generally asked in interviews.
- Prepare and craft your answers and conduct mock interviews with friends or family to find out where your answers may need some work.
- Be prepared for both industry-relevant and personal questions. As much as employers want to know if you have the skills and knowledge of the job, most bar managers will also want to get a feel for who you are, as well as what you know about trends or current topics of the industry.
- Know your CV and role – be prepared to answer any questions that relate to the information on your CV and the job description. Vijay Mudaliar, manager of Native Bar, Singapore, gives us a few common interview questions that he usually asks, including, “what previous experience do you have?” and, “what do you enjoy most about bartending?”
Make a Good First Impression
Bring Up Your Experience
The main thing bar managers look for in a potential employee is experience. Wherever you’ve previously worked, your past roles and responsibilities say a lot about your capability. Even if your previous role was not in the bar industry, there is still value in highlighting any transferrable skills that would be relevant to the role you’re interviewing for.
Keep in mind, moving from job to job in a short space of time is a big red flag to potential employers, but promotions at previous jobs generally communicate that you are a trusted and valued employee. Make sure to bring up your experience in every interview, as well as training or achievements such as work-related training certificates or competing in cocktail competitions.
Highlight Training and Achievements
Jesse Vida, manager at Atlas Bar, Singapore, listed as one of the World’s 50 Best Bars, unpacks what managers look for when hiring. Vida says, “When hiring new staff, I look for someone with a great attitude who is humble and motivated to learn, with a constant desire to improve and take advantage of educational opportunities. It’s also important that they are warm and welcoming, as that isn’t necessarily something you can teach.”
Attitude and personality are two of the main things that interviewers will analyse in potential hires, because the atmosphere and success of the bar relies heavily on the character of the staff.
Daniel Warren, a World Class UK Competition winner, outlines tips for competitions, interviews and career growth. He recommends,
“Be confident, be yourself and don’t be afraid to show your true personality. From my experience, that's what a lot of venues look for – everything else can be taught.”
“One of the main things that management look for in a new bartender is a willingness to learn and a good work ethic.”
Don’t be afraid to ask questions before, after and during your interview. In fact, it’s recommended. Asking the right questions can show the interviewer that you’re committed and curious. Asking about the specifics of the role you’re applying for, the team you’ll be working with and other information about the business is a good place to start.
Show Your Reliability
One of the downfalls of the bar industry is that unreliability runs rife. Most bar managers and owners are sceptical to hire just anyone – so make sure you show your trustworthiness through relevant references and testimonials.
Do Your Homework
Bar managers and owners love to see passion and an understanding of their bar from their potential employees. Before your interview, do your research on the company you’re working for, their achievements and awards, and your co-workers.
Also read up about the business’ culture and values so you can decide if you’re a good fit for the bar and company. You may be asked questions like “Why did you choose to apply here?”, so be prepared to respond with knowledge about the business and what appealed to you about its culture and values.
Don’t forget to thoroughly read the job description and be ready to answer any questions regarding the roles you’ll be expected to fulfil. This allows you to tailor your CV and your responses to exactly what the bar is expecting and improve your chances of landing the job.
What Not to Do
- Don’t be late or poorly presented – showing up late, untidy or underdressed can make you seem unprofessional and unreliable.
- Don’t act uninterested – While most people worry that they may seem over eager in an interview, seeming like you aren’t committed or interested will dramatically decrease your chances of landing the job.
- Don’t boast – While it’s recommended that you bring up your experience and achievements, boasting or seeming arrogant can make you seem like a bad fit and less of a team player.
- Research common interview questions and craft your answers.
- Bring up your experience and training during your interview.
- Be sure to bring a positive and hardworking attitude to your interview and remember to be yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Include relevant testimonials and references to show your reliability.
- Do your homework on the company’s culture, values and background.
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