When you go for a bartender interview, you'll be expected to show off your skills and answer interview questions. One great tip is to dress appropriately for the interview - there's nothing wrong with wearing a bartender uniform to show you're ready for the job.
But you also need to be ready for what you might be asked. So, here are the most common bartender interview questions, along with example answers to help you with your response.
- 1. What Responsibilities Do You Think a Bartender Has?
- 2. Do You Have the Flexibility to Work Evenings and Weekends?
- 3. Do You Have Previous Experience Working as a Bartender?
- 4. Have You Completed Any Bartender Training?
- 5. A Wine Glass Falls on the Floor and Smashes - What Do You Do Next?
- 6. What Type of Seasonal Drinks Would You Recommend?
- 7. What's Your Favourite Drink to Make?
- 8. What Do You Enjoy Most About Being a Bartender?
- 9. How Would You Keep Yourself Busy During a Slow Night?
- 10. A Customer Sends Their Drink Back - How Would You Handle It?
- 11. How Would You Prepare for a Long Shift on Your Feet?
- 12. You’re Given a Complicated Drinks Order and You Forget - What’s Your Next Step?
- 13. Several Customers Are Demanding Your Attention - What’s the Best Way to Handle This?
- 14. Are You Good at Working in a Team?
- 15. How Do You Communicate With Customers?
1. What Responsibilities Do You Think a Bartender Has?
Bartender jobs are popular. Bartending doesn't have to be a temporary or part-time job, it can be an exciting career path. Your interviewer will want to see if you know what bartending involves.
A bartender serves drinks from behind the bar. They're responsible for serving customers, talking to customers, keeping the bar clean and assisting other members of the team. Bartenders are expected to be multi-taskers.
2. Do You Have the Flexibility to Work Evenings and Weekends?
Bartenders are expected to work any day of the week. So, when you're asked this question, it's vital you show your flexibility and willingness to work any shifts.
Along with weekends and evenings, you might be expected to work on holidays, like Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Yes, I'm free to work at any time. When do you notify staff on what shifts they have to work? (There's nothing wrong with asking this, your employer should give you advance notice on your monthly rota.)
3. Do You Have Previous Experience Working as a Bartender?
Some employers will want to hire bar staff with some previous experience. If you're applying for your first bartending job, it's best practice to do some research. This can be done online and if you have any friends who are bartenders, ask them for some tips.
- A. Yes, I worked as a part-time bartender while I attended university. I really enjoyed the role and learnt a lot.
- B. I've never worked as a bartender before, however I have done a lot of research online and I’m eager to work in this industry.
4. Have You Completed Any Bartender Training?
This is a common bartender interview question because bartending is a popular career and your interviewer will want to see you have the appropriate training and skills.
- A. I haven't gone to any bartending schools but when I went travelling last year, I worked in over 10 different bars. I worked with many different bartenders and this opportunity gave me the chance to learn different techniques and skills.
- B. I've attended several bartending training courses and I'm excited to start my career.
5. A Wine Glass Falls on the Floor and Smashes - What Do You Do Next?
Being a bartender can present potential hazards. You're working with glass and floors can get slippery from spilled drinks. It's crucial you pay attention and remove any hazards before they cause an injury.
I would ask customers to move away from the glass and I would either stand next to the hazard while a colleague gets a brush and bucket or I would ask my colleague to guard the area while I went.
The glass would be tidied up and disposed of correctly. If the floor needs to be mopped, I would make sure a yellow warning sign is left out to warn customers.
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6. What Type of Seasonal Drinks Would You Recommend?
Just like the chefs in the kitchen, bartenders are expected to have a creative flair. For seasonal holidays, you'll probably be asked to make something special.
For Christmas, I would make something festive and delicious. Eggnog cocktails are popular and mulled wine is always a popular option. Especially on cold days, customers appreciate a warm festive drink and a mince pie.
7. What's Your Favourite Drink to Make?
This is where many bartenders trip in an interview. They like to show off by saying the most complicated cocktail is their favourite to make. They want to see your creative flair but it’s important to be honest.
The interviewer could ask you to make it for them, or you could always be chosen to make that drink in future. Your favourite drink should be the one you’re comfortable making.
My favourite drink to make would be the Mojito, because even though it's a basic recipe, it's easy to get wrong. It requires concentration to get right and because there are so many variations of this beverage, it's a fun drink to make.
8. What Do You Enjoy Most About Being a Bartender?
This is a popular interview question because it gives your interviewer the chance to get an honest insight into what you like about the profession.
I enjoy working as a bartender because it allows me to interact with different types of people. As a bartender, I understand the importance of being a good host and providing excellent customer service.
9. How Would You Keep Yourself Busy During a Slow Night?
As well as busy times, there will probably be some quieter shifts too. It’s important to show the interviewer you can work on your own initiative.
Sidework. Whether that’s cleaning the bar thoroughly or organising for the next shift. I might not have time to do these things when busy, so a slow shift is the perfect opportunity.
10. A Customer Sends Their Drink Back - How Would You Handle It?
Sometimes a customer might send their drink back. There are various reasons why, but when presented with this situation, it needs to be handled professionally.
I would politely ask the customer why they're sending their drink back and try my best to understand their complaint and handle it accordingly.
11. How Would You Prepare for a Long Shift on Your Feet?
One thing that contributes to bartender success in a major way (and is often forgotten about) is knowing how you can stay safe and comfortable at work.
I know I’ll be on my feet for long periods, so I need the correct bar shoes to get me through my shift. They should be water-resistant and non-slip, so my feet can remain dry and comfortable. When I do get a break, I’ll make sure I’m hydrated. This will mean I’m refreshed and ready to continue with the rest of the shift.
12. You’re Given a Complicated Drinks Order and You Forget - What’s Your Next Step?
At any time, you might be given a big drinks order, one that’s really complicated or even a drink you’ve not heard of before. The interviewer will want to know how you handle this kind of scenario.
I wouldn’t panic. Rather than trying to remember everything, I would make what I did remember and go and ask the customer again. I may even write it down so I won’t need to ask again.
13. Several Customers Are Demanding Your Attention - What’s the Best Way to Handle This?
While dealing with lots of orders and a busy bar, you might find that other customers are frantically waving their hands at you and demanding your attention.
I would try not to lose my flow of thinking, take a deep breath and smile at the other customers to let them know I’m aware and will be over soon to take their order. Patience is a crucial quality to have as a bartender!
14. Are You Good at Working in a Team?
You might not be in a management role but bartenders are expected to work together. This is a vital skill to have because as your career develops, you might end up in a management role where you need to motivate a team behind a bar.
I always want to work as a cohesive unit with my team as I know that increases efficiency and can improve our overall service and speed. We rely on each other to deliver a fantastic experience for customers, so sharing the workload and getting to know each other is essential.
15. How Do You Communicate With Customers?
A significant part of succeeding as a bartender is knowing how to handle each type of customer, as it’s never a one-size-fits-all approach.
Ask about their exciting plans that night, what they did at the weekend or the trouble they’re planning on getting into in a light-hearted way. Keep it fun and memorable so that the conversation is natural.
Although communicating with customers is hugely important to develop my career, I will look to find the right balance between showing enough attention so they don’t feel neglected and not too much that they are annoyed.
Want to Download These Bartender Interview Questions for Yourself?
Prepare for the interview by downloading a copy of the above interview questions. Revise on your smartphone or print off a copy. Good luck with the interview!