10 Interview questions

Hiring for a bar is not that much different than other businesses, but your candidates are.

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Get the Important info.

Here are Some interview question that should get you the information you need when hiring.

Question 1. “Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years”

Answer. “Not there” is what they want to say.

FIRST RULE: Don't ask stupid questions

You don’t care what they are doing in 5 years so don’t ask, you’re just trying to stump them, which creates an awkward moment for everyone.

Make sure your question gets an answer that helps you in the short term not the long term. Even when hiring Managers, we know you want them long term, but if it is a good place to work people will stick around.

Know the answers you want  before asking questions.

There is no point in asking questions which you don’t even know a right answer to. Good example: “Are you really good on computers?” If they are only going to use a simple POS system, you don’t care.  Instead ask if they have used your POS system.

The questions!

The first five are general questions to get a understanding of them and their personality and if they are a good fit for your bar.

1. When can you start? When can you work?

Simple hey,  but if you need someone for night shift this weekend it’s quite important. The answer could be that they still have another job or they look after their kids at night.

This does not mean that interview is over, but you should record this information, you might want to hire them one day.

2. Where have you worked and what experience do you have?

Main things you need to know can be answered with these two questions. If they have worked in a similar bar it might be lot easier for everyone.

But do remember they also might have picked up bad habits and arrogance.

3. Explain the role and ask if they have any problems with the job.

Lots of managers/owners do not explain the job well enough and then wonder why they get complaints and whining. Well if you explain in the start that every Friday night there will be cleaning of toilets every half an hour they can choose if that is really the place they want to work at.

Owners and managers are scared that they might not find someone if they tell them all the dirty job details. Well it is true you’re not going to find as many people. But you will find the right people.

4. Why are you leaving your current job?

This can tell you not only about their history, but it can also give you a good idea about their personality. If they speak bad about the last place you might want to dig deeper to see if they have too high expectations.

The perfect answer would be “You pay better” Why? Because it means they know this is a good gig so they want to keep it.

5. Are you a local and do you live close?

This is the hardest question so far because you need to understand their personality to interpret the answer.  So if they say yes and they are a bright, bubbly person it could be good for business. Problem is when all their mates keep coming in and there is way too much chatting and possibly cheap/free drinks.

You also want to make sure they don’t live too far because that might mean being constantly late.

bartending skills
Photo by Enis Yavuz on Unsplash

Can they do it?

The last 5 questions were more about getting an understanding of who you are dealing with and if they are the right fit for your bar. Now you want to find out if they are capable of doing the job.

What do you need to find out.

You need to find out what they are going to be like when they are working, if they have worked in a bar before. If they fail at any of these questions, you might want to question them a bit more.

Find out what they should know!

You should know by now what their experience is and if they have worked in another bar. If they have you should have an understanding of what they should know. If they have not worked in a bar this is just a test to see what they think. (don’t be too judgemental)

6. What do you know about Cocktails / Bookkeeping / Management

Make this a job specific question. For example if they are going for a bartender job ask them about cocktails like “What’s in a…?”

If they are going for a management job ask if they know how to fill out an incident report form.

If they are new ask them anyway and see if they have done some research.

7. What do you do if you find a underage person in the bar?

The main answer should be get the manger.

If they are going for a manger role this would obviously depend a lot on your laws and policies. We believe a general acceptable answer is  remove the patron from the bar and be sure they are not too intoxicated and are able to get home. Fill out an incident report.

8. What do you do when there is nothing to do?

The winning answer is there is always something to do.

As long as they are aware that cleaning is the second most important thing after customers, you’re all good. Everything can always be cleaner.

It’s a Bar there is always to much to do.

9. Check their script?

More like check their lack of script.  People who do not have personality shouldn’t work in bars and nightclubs. You need to be able to change your personality 100s of times a night.

You shouldn’t talk to the elderly couple having dinner the same way as you talk to the young guys having a beer watching the game.

10. Last of all, Where do they want to be in five years.

JOKE.  Five years is a long time, but you might want to establish some kind of a timeframe. They might be going travelling in 9 months or finishing school in 2 years or so on. Just be prepared that hospitality is not the most stable industry for hiring and people do leave.

Jason Masson

Jason Masson

22 just out of college and love to find new and interesting drinking spots. My favourite bar is the next one I visit.

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2. Where have you worked and what experience do you have?