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Best interview questions for your hiring process

Bartender Interview questions

Bartenders are skilled cocktail connoisseurs, wine-pouring wizards and pint-pouring professionals who can craft hot and cold beverages to a high quality. They’re excellent communicators, who work swiftly and in a tidy manner. That’s why when hiring one, you’ve got to be sure you’re making the right move.

You should seek these skills in your Bartender: 

  • Great conversational and communication skills.
  • Cleanliness focussed. 
  • Basic mathematical skills.
  • Basic knowledge of food and beverage safety.
  • Experience working both independently and as part of a team.
  • Customer service experience is beneficial.

Interviewing a Bartender

Your Bartender will be one of the most important hires you make. They’ll be in direct contact with your guests and customers and will have the ability to influence how pleasant their stay in your establishment is. Since a huge focus of their role will be their people skills, properly interviewing a Bartender is crucial. 

To help you conduct the perfect interview, we’ve put together some excellent questions to ask a Bartender early in the interview process. Using these, you’ll get a great idea of the candidate’s different skillsets.

How to open the job interview

Even the most relaxed Bartender in the world will get a little nervous during a job interview. But if they’re too nervous to let you see their personality and people skills then making the right hiring decision is hard.

To help combat this, you can put your candidate at ease by asking a few positive opening questions and getting the conversation flowing naturally.

Best interview questions for your hiring process

See our Bartender job description here

For the interview

A positive opener to start

What is one of your proudest moments as a Bartender?

How did you decide on a career in Bartending?

Behavioral Questions

What have your previous working environments been? Which type of environment do you work best in?

Every bar will have a different vibe, whether relaxed or busy. Knowing the types of environment your candidate has worked in before will help you to envision how they will fit into your environment.

When working during a busy night shift, how do you stay motivated and positive?

Depending on your business working hours, night shifts may be a requirement of your role. This will mean keeping motivated until the early hours, so knowing they have some learned behaviours and techniques to do this is great.

If dealing with a rude or antisocial guest at the bar, how do you deal with this situation in a polite and safe manner? 

This is a situation that all Bartenders are bound to find themselves in at some point. Knowing that they can use calm and reassuring behaviour to diffuse the situation, as well as communicate with team members to either cut the guest off from alcoholic beverages or have them removed so as not to disrupt other guests is highly important.

When working during a particularly loud and busy period, how do you ensure you stay organised?

Learning to focus on the task at hand is essential for Bartenders, who will often be working in a busy and noisy environment. Knowing this focused behaviour is something your candidate has mastered is crucial.

Soft Skills

If a customer ordered a beverage which we didn’t stock, how would you deal with this situation?

This will be a frequent occurrence when working behind a bar. Your candidate should have the problem solving and communication skills to recommend a similar beverage to the guest. They should never simply substitute the drink without making the guest aware.

What skills do you think you can personally bring to a Bartending position?

A Bartender requires a certain amount of confidence, this question will both give them a chance to show off this confidence, along with brag about any skills they may have. This could include both soft and hard skills!

If a customer ordered a cocktail that you didn’t know how to prepare, how would you approach this?

No Bartender is perfect, here you’re looking for communication skills. The candidate should be able to tell the customer they aren’t sure on how to proceed with this order, and if possible find a colleague who can make it. Bonus points if they can learn from this experience, and familiarise themselves with the recipe!

If you noticed a colleague preparing orders incorrectly, how would you proceed?

Teamwork is essential here. The candidate should feel comfortable discreetly mentioning the mistake to their colleague and providing constructive feedback.

Hard Skills

Have you received or taken any professional Bartending training or masterclasses? 

Depending on the size and scale of your establishment and its menu, cocktail training may be required. Knowing whether this is something your candidate has already undertaken will help you to understand how much training they may need.

Are you trained in using any food and beverage health and safety techniques?

Again, how necessary this training is will depend on your particular establishment. Although, it is a useful skill to have regardless!

Do you have any bar management experience? 

Depending on the seniority of the role, this will help you to decide whether your candidate will need training before managing the bar or a small team.

What experience do you have using cash registers and card machines?

This will give you an idea of whether your candidate will need training before managing cash or card payments, which will likely be a large part of the role.

Have you received any alcohol safety training?

As Bartenders will nearly always work with alcohol, knowing that they can serve it responsibly is essential for the reputation and stability of your business.

Operational / Situational Questions

Describe your favourite drink to make, and walk me through how you would prepare it.

This is an opportunity to test a candidate’s confidence and get an insight into their drink-making process. Here, you’re looking for confidence and thoroughness, whether it is the type of glass they use to the type of liquor they include.

Describe a time when you have made a mistake when preparing a customer’s cocktail. How did you minimise problems and learn from this for the future?

With complex orders like cocktails, mistakes will happen. Knowing the candidate can own up to this mistake, and create a new beverage for the customer, as well as spend some time practising this recipe is the best-case scenario.

Walk me through your process when cleaning the bar. Which products do you use and how do you ensure the hygiene levels are met?

A clean bar is more than just a reassurance to customers, it is a health and safety must! Your candidate should show enthusiasm for this fact, as well as be able to mention a couple of cleaning steps.

Describe a time when you have had to refuse to serve a customer. Why was this, and how did you deliver the news?

This is a difficult situation that Bartenders can often find themselves in. Whether this is a situation where a customer was too intoxicated or couldn’t provide correct identification, they should deal with it in a polite and respectful way.

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