Tips for Interviewing Bartender Candidates

June 14, 2023

Hiring and maintaining employees in the hospitality industry can often be a big stress point. Your bartenders will essentially serve as the face of your business, and for that reason, their traits must align exactly with what you’re looking for. No need to stress! We have come up with some of the key qualities that a bartender should hold, as well as some important questions to ask them during an interview.


Math and Reasoning

Bartenders must be able to quickly make transactions and do some math in their head, whether it’s during the cash-out or measuring ingredients for a cocktail. A smart strategy to test this during an interview is to give them a simple math exam and time it to see how quickly they can think. To test their memory and reasoning, have them read back to you a tricky or long order. They will need this skill to be able to retain information from many customers at a time.

Good Communications Skills

You want your ideal bartender to be friendly and able to carry good conversations with all types of guests. They will need to be good listeners so that they can learn about the customers and remember key details.

Drink Knowledge

To assess their level of expertise with drink knowledge, ask them to demonstrate how to make a common drink. This will allow you to see how timely and precise they are as well as how much they know about making cocktails.

Calm & Collected

Bartenders will often be faced with large crowds and busy nights, so it’s essential that they can stay organized and calm while multitasking. They must also have the ability to stay calm if any complaints or tough situations arise from customers.

Questions to Ask

The first questions you should ask your prospective bartender are revolving around their experience in order for you to see how much training they will need and how prepared they already are. You may ask, “Where have you previously worked?” or “What was the last bar environment like that you worked in?” to get a good idea of what crowds they have handled. They will also likely tell you how many years they have worked in the industry, giving you a good sense of how experienced they are. You may also want to ask for a list of references and use them to see how well they worked in past roles.

Another category of necessary questions would be situational so that you can see how they would handle common issues that arise at the bar. For example, “How would you cut off a drunk customer?”, “What would you do if a customer was using a fake ID?”, or “How would you respond to a customer who has complained about the establishment?” These situational questions give you the ability to assess the knowledge of the candidate and how well they handle hard situations.

Any time you hire someone, you want to be confident that they can add value to your business. Ask questions to see how creative they are or if they have any ideas that you have not thought of yet. For example, you may say, “What are your impressions of our bar? What could make it better?” or “How would you get more people to come to our bar if hired?”. The answers to these will let you see if they have ideas to improve your business, separate yourself from the competition, and help you grow in the industry.

Finally, you want to pose some fun and relaxed questions, too, to discover their personality and hobbies. Some examples are, “What is your favorite drink?” or “What music do you listen to?” This will help to lighten up the sometimes daunting interview process and allow them to talk so that you can see their true character shine through.

Now that you have all of your questions and goals put together, you need a platform that can organize your bartenders and the remainder of your staff. TablelistPro not only does this, but the venue management platform also helps to drive sales, track consumer data, streamline operations, and so much more. Schedule a free demo to learn more by visiting our website.

Give your guests a better night out 🎉