A bartender becomes a friend, a confidant, a guard and a loyal server to customers, on many different occasions. If you are planning to hire a bartender, you must be aware that you are going to hire the star player of your business and that person should have very particular skills. Here are some tips and recommendations for interviewing potential bartender candidates.
Being Confident and Cutting of Patrons
Bartending is not just about serving drinks and making cocktails. Bartenders must also be responsible for their patrons and know when to say “no” when a customer gets overly intoxicated. The bartender needs to be able to handle themselves from unexpected anger bursts and even insults when he/she has to stop serving drinks to an overly intoxicated patron. So it is essential that your candidate has self-confidence and authority to put the foot down in certain situations. Bartenders must also be properly trained to check everyone’s ID, even for those who do not appear underage. Exceptions do not apply here; your bartender should obey all regulations, and not "bend" any rules for any customers.
Your candidate may not be a cocktail master, but it is crucial that he/she has good knowledge of cocktails and different kinds of spirits. Your candidate should know how to make classic cocktails like Martinis or an Old Fashioned. During the interview, you can ask the candidate to orally explain how to make a certain cocktail, or you can ask him/her to get behind the bar and prepare a drink. It is also essential to observe how fast your candidate is while making the cocktail; you would not want to hire a slow bartender who would not be able to fulfill all the orders during the rush hours.
Conversation & Social Skills
Sometimes bartending is just about being a good listener who knows how to carry on a delightful conversation. Socializing with patrons should be smooth for your bartender. You can prepare short conversation simulations for the interview and test your candidate’s social skills.
The bartender you choose will be one of the most important highlights of your business, and this person will also be dealing with cash and credit cards. His/her work ethics, manners, patience, and honesty will be the fundamental aspects. You can start by having a security background check, and then the rest can only be observed by you through time.
Interest in Your Business
A bartender should see the bar as a second home and take pride in their craft. So during the interview, when you give your candidate a chance to ask questions, see if he/she is interested in your menu, work style or particular rules. It would be a positive point for the candidate if he/she researched your business beforehand and asked more specific, in-depth questions rather than only asking about the salary and work hours.
Choosing the right bartender is a very critical step for your business. Be straightforward and let the candidate understand your expectations and values. It may not be an easy process and you may need to go through many candidates before you find the right one - but choosing the right bartender will pay off (for both your customers and your business) in the end.