THE BARTENDING INTERVIEW
So you got a phone call telling you that you’ve been selected for a bartending position interview. Great! But what will this interview be like? Here is what you can expect from a bartending job interview.
Like most job interviews, you will be interviewing with the manager. He or she will most likely the the General Manager (GM) of the bar or restaurant to which you applied.
Most bartending interviews will start with the manager asking about your experience. Be honest! If you don’t have 5 years experience behind the bar, don’t say that you do. It will quickly become apparent that you over-sold yourself. If you are lacking in experience, make it clear that you are a fast learner and that you are willing to take extra time in order to learn how things are done at this particular establishment (this lack of experience is actually sometimes sought after by management.. so they can mold their employees how they see fit).
GENERAL BARTENDING KNOWLEDGE QUESTIONS
After this, many managers will quickly quiz you. “What is in a cosmopolitan?” “What is in a kamikaze?” “Name 5 types of vodka.” These are all questions that I have been asked in bartending job interviews. Before you go in to the interview, make sure you know the common cocktails in your specific city and be able to quickly name 5 vodkas, gins, rums, whiskeys, and tequilas off the top of your head.
BAR PROMOTION/ CLIENTELE
If you are interviewing at a local bar or nightclub, the manager will likely also ask you what kind of “following” you have. This means, “will you be able to bring customers to this venue?”. Respond with an enthusiastic answer about how you plan on drawing your former clients, friends, and other locals in for business. Managers are always looking to keep their venue busy, so having staff that facilitates this is always preferable.
In addition to the above discussion topics, often times managers will have their interviewee jump behind the bar and make a few drinks. Managers want to see your mechanics, speed, and pour count. Pour count is very important. The amount of liquor you pour in a drink will show your experience level and overall control. Like any business, bars need to keep their costs low, so most managers will look closely to see if you “over-pour”. (Watch my video on pouring here.) Practice, practice, practice if you haven’t bartended in a few months or are new to being behind a bar.
This, of course, is not an all-inclusive, exhaustive list of what will happen during a bartending interview. It is a rough idea, however, of what you can expect.
Go in prepared. This means that you should have your general bartending knowledge fresh in your mind and have recently practiced proper pour technique.
Always remember: As in any job interview, it’s important to be cheerful, friendly, and professional! Dress well; speak well; and sell yourself as a intelligent, hard-working employee!
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