How to Get a Bartending Job: 6 Steps to Get Hired Quickly
If you are looking to get a bartending job, you will need to set certain things in place to make you highly competitive for the position and to easily get it.
This post provides the right information and tips that you need to make your quest of getting a job as a bartender realized, and in good time too.
6 Steps to Get a Job Quickly as a Bartender
1. Prepare for the Bartending Job – Get the Right Qualities and Skills
You cannot just become a bartender without getting prepared first. Preparation involves acquiring the experience, skills, qualities, and knowledge that most jobs require.
Bartending needs experience in making and mixing drinks, as most bars don’t have the time to train someone from the ground up.
Your sales or customer service experience can help you start as a server or bar-back, and then training will help you work your way through.
The experience you have working in hospitality can help you get a better chance even without any professional bartending experience.
The major qualities and skills that employers look for in those seeking bartending jobs include:
- Communication: As a bartender, you need to communicate effectively with customers by speaking loudly and clearly, and maintaining a positive tone. You should also learn to listen attentively to what anybody is saying, especially customers when they are placing orders. You can chat with customers to create a friendly atmosphere, but not all the time.
- Organization: An organized bartender keeps track of orders how they are being made; if there is a customer who is still waiting to be served he/she gets the service done at once. When the bartender is organized, he/she makes sure the bar is clean and well organized. Good organizational skill also helps the bartender to ensure that the bar is always stocked, and makes sure to restock items such as bottles, ice, fruits, etc. when they run low.
- Attention: A well-trained bartender frequently monitors the bar in-and-out and becomes aware of drunk guests, empty glasses, and ashtray that needs replacement, and any guest that needs a little chat to feel better.
- Responsibility: It is the bartender’s responsibility to control the traffic of goods in a restaurant by checking receipt and comparing it with delivered drinks to waiter. Bartenders should perform their tasks quickly and efficiently, so that things can work out perfectly.
- Friendly: The bartender should be kind to customers, especially frustrated ones; taking the time to greet and welcome them with a smile and hello. The bartender should be able to read people’s minds to know whether they want to order a beverage or say something.
- Composure: A good bartender maintains qualities such as memory, communication, organization, and friendliness. These qualities will help him/her to work under pressure or stress serving a lot of customers at once.
- Physical and Mental Strength: Being physically fit is part of the bartending job. It takes physical ability to become an energetic and hardworking bartender.
- Speed: Good bartenders should be fast and not perform sluggishly while on duty. Those cute slow-motion girls and boys are not a good fit for bartending job. Speed is what creates room for efficacy.
- Knowledge of Mathematical Operations: A bartender works as a cashier that requires working with money, measurement, computation and operations. They need computer skills in order to input numbers and work out certain calculations.
- Drink-Mixing and Cocktail-Preparing Abilities: Almost every bartender knows how to prepare most common drinks, but should research further to make new drinks and cocktails. The qualities of preparing various cocktails and mixing new cocktails should not be missing in every bartender.
- Drink-Serving Ability: The way that a bartender serves customers contributes to increase in his/her salary. When customers are satisfied by the services he/she offered them, then the owner of the bar will be happy and may think of a way of increasing the bartender’s salary in appreciation to quality services rendered.
- Hygiene and Cleanliness: The bartender should be neatly dressed just as he keeps the bar and ashtrays, glasses and other accessories clean. The bartender’s hair and nails should be neat, his hands should always be washed, and his uniform also neat.
2. Find a Bartending Job
There are many places you can find a bartending job. They include:
- Bartending Job Advertisement Websites: You can find bartending jobs on websites like Craigslist, Indeed, Seek and Gumtree. Use these sites to apply for jobs by searching for hospitality rules and applying for the jobs that are advertised.
- Knowing People: If you know anybody who already works in the industry, you can reach him or her to help you get a job. You can call up a friend and ask for help. You got a better chance of attending an interview straight ahead or going for a trial. Depending on how lucky you are, you might start work immediately even without an interview.
- Direct Email: You can apply for a bartending job by emailing managers directly and letting them know you have interest in working for them. This strategy is more personal and more effective than responding to advertisements. You got a chance of contacting the person who makes the hiring decision directly using this method. Keep your email simple, short, and specific; and attach your resume or CV.
- Chat with the Bartender While Having a Drink: If you handle this strategy very well, it is one of the effective means of getting a bartender job. Simply visit a bar during cool hours, maybe between 3 and 5 pm and sit at the bar. As you order a drink, make the bartender notice you by tipping them. Bring up a friendly discussion, but don’t talk about work yet. As you keep talking to the bartender about something they’re interested in, you can then mention that you are looking for work. If the bartender isn’t the manager he could bring the manager over for a face-to-face interview.
- Social Media: You can find work through social media platforms. Simply search for bartending groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and join the groups in your area. Whenever someone advertises a position, send them a message with your resume attached to the message, and then wait for their reply. Follow up your application with another message if they don’t get back to you; this is to remind them who you are and that you are still interested in the position.
- Resume Dropping: The strategy of resume dropping involves printing off your resume and dropping it off at different venues. It is best done between 3 and 5 pm because managers and staff have more time during this period; customers do not often come at this period of time, so they have time for you. Submit your resume to as many bars, nightclubs, pubs, cafes and restaurants as you can find, and make sure you see the manager face-to-face. Give the manager a firm hand shake and a warm smile; and then introduce yourself and ask how they’re doing, before making known to them your purpose of coming – which is to seek a bartending job. If there is a vacancy for you, the manager will tell you straight away. Then you should declare your interest to attend an interview with him.
3. Apply for the Job
There are many ways you can effectively apply for bartending jobs. After reading the advert and understanding the request, you need a well written resume to send over to the hiring person.
Your resume should focus on what you can do for the bar, hotel, restaurant, or club, and not why you need the job.
Your resume should contain your contact information, and make sure you check your email everyday for responses.
Most importantly, educate yourself, learn more drinks, and get knowledge of trending bar markets.
Join the competition and strive to make a name for yourself. Read the instructions on job adverts and try to convince someone to hire you by creating an irresistible resume.
You can use a professionally written sample bartender resume to quickly create yours.
4. Prepare for Pre-employment Assessment Tests
Some employers may want you to take an assessment test before hiring you for the position. The test will help them to get acquainted with you. If you don’t put in much effort to this assessment, it might mar your application.
The purpose of an honest test includes, determining if the candidate will not fall into the act of stealing the company’s merchandise in future.
The sales skills tests help the employer to measure the applicant’s personality traits. Sometimes, it might require employees to meet with a psychologist for checking feeling of stability.
The first thing you should do when taking pre-employment assessment tests for a bartender position is to understand what you’re facing with the tests.
The employer uses this test to decide if they are hiring the right candidate, while you use it as a tool to help you find the right job for you. This should be the reason you must not feign to be somebody you are not.
Take the test in the context of who you are at work and not at home; practice before time, check the results, and show a desire to learn from it.
Learn about pre-employment exams and work with practice questions and answers here: preparing for job test.
5. Prepare for Interviews – Major Important Bartending Interview Questions and Answers
If you’ve got an interview with a bar or restaurant, take a look at their website, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms they use. Get a feel of them, understand their rules of employment, and get knowledge of other things that might assist you during the interview.
Know the type of bar you are about to work with – whether it is an English pub, a high class cocktail lounge, or a student bar. Be comfortable with the style of bar you’re applying to and dress properly to the interview.
Practice how to answer possible interview questions beforehand, like the ones given below. Keep smiling and take a moment before answering a question.
If at the end of the interview questions you are asked whether you have a question and you declare an interest, make any question you will ask relevant to the venue you are having the interview.
Make sure you know the date, time, and location of the interview. How and when to get there are also important; know where to park if you own a car, or how to go by public transport.
Dress smartly and be self-confident. You can lean towards the style that the venue takes on, and ensure you arrive on time to cogitate.
Visit the toilet beforehand to avoid any situation that may distract you from the interview. Sit up straight with shoulders pointing towards the interviewer. Always smile and say “please” and “thank you”. And finally, don’t forget to turn your phone off.
Try to enjoy the moment and be excited by the hope of working where you are having the interview. You will be amazed about the experience and the fun this will bring to you.
Here are possible questions you may meet in a bartending interview:
- Tell me about yourself: “I’m 27; I’ve been working as a bartender for four years, in places such as clubs, pubs, restaurants, and more. I’ve been known for loving whiskey, and I’m good at making and serving classic cocktails,” can be your answer.
- How long have you been bartending? “Four years total: I spent one year and six months working at Samuels Cocktail Bar, another one year and six months at JoeSmith’s restaurant, and one full year at Bruce’s Pub.”
- What responsibilities do you think bartending involves? Your interviewer wants to know if you truly know what bartending involves. Think of saying, “Serving drinks to customers, chatting with customers, keeping the bar neat and safe, and helping other bar and serving staff. Bartenders should be able to multitask and work tirelessly for the improvement of the bar.”
- Why do you like bartending? You may answer, “Because I have the motive of serving people who come to the bar to relax after their day’s job stress to drink away their sorrows. I feel like rendering the services to such people who are ready to spend their money for quality hospitality, drinks and entertainment.” The employer wants to know why you are applying for a bartending job, and whether you will be a good employee in the long run.
- Are you flexible enough to work evenings and weekends? Bartenders should be able to work any day of the week, so it’s important that you let them know your flexibility and willingness to work any shifts. You could answer this question like this, “Yes, I’m free to work any time. When do you give notice to staff on what shifts they have to work?”
- Why did you leave your last job? “Learning more about Craft Beer was the reason I wanted to work at Bruce’s Pub, but I still stuck to the policy of working at a bar like this. It was after two years I decided it was time to chase a job in a bar like this.”
- Have you got previous experience working as a bartender? Some employers would like to hire someone with some experience. If it is your first time applying for a bartending job, it’s necessary that you conduct some research. You can either ask friends who are bartenders or go online. “Yes, I worked as a bartender when my brother opened a mini pub near our house, and I really enjoyed the work and learned a lot from it.”
- Why do you want to work here? “Because this is exactly the type of place I frequent as a customer. I enjoy working at bars I actually enjoy drinking at. Customers who come around here are the kinds of people I like to hang around with, and your staff are the types of people I normally like to serve me.”
- What do you do when a drunken customer has come to order another drink, and you’ve noticed their state of drunkenness? “I will never allow a drunken customer to have another alcoholic drink, but I can offer them something non-alcoholic. If they become insistent on having alcohol, then I would politely tell them I can’t serve them and inform the manager if the need arises. I will also notify my co-workers, just in case the customer tries to approach them instead.”
- What is your favorite drink to make? You should know the recipe in detail in order to answer this question. You should know even all necessary prep work and how to prepare it. Add your own style into the mix; meaning you should know which specific brand of alcohol you prefer to use, your accurate procedure, including garnishes, and why you chose what you did.
- How do you cut someone off? Someone who is over-intoxicated may start misbehaving in the bar and your attention is required. This is common with bartending jobs. To answer the question, explain that you always do your best to ensure your customers never reach this point, and if at all it happens, demonstrate that you never embarrass or lash out at a customer. Let co-workers and management know if a problem arises so everyone gets aware and comprehends the issue. They will then begin to talk to the person’s friends to help resolve the issue. If the customer wants to order another drink, tell them politely and directly that you cannot serve them any more alcohol except non-alcoholic drink.
- How do you make a White Russian? As a bartender, you should not limit your services to only serving of drinks, but making of various cocktails including the White Russian. Think of saying, “I will fill the cup with ice and pour in about 1 1/2 ounces of Vodka. I then add ¾ ounces of Kahlua or coffee liquor; add ¾ ounces of milk or cream using a spoon to create layers. Depending on the customer, sometimes I garnish it with a cherry.”
- Do you have any questions for us? You are making a mistake if you don’t have a question to ask someone you want to work for. You could say, “How many bartenders work at the same time? What are your bar brands? Or how long before service do your bartenders come in?”
6. Follow up
You should never be ashamed of following up on a bartending job. You need to call up and inquire about the employment situation. They will never forget you if you remind them why you are the best candidate for the position.
As soon as you get home from the interview, send a ‘thank you” email to thank them for the opportunity and their time. Also remind them why you want to work there. You can say something like, “I look forward to seeing you again and working with you and your staff. “
If you have followed the interview tips and have sent a follow up email after the interview and your phone doesn’t ring after 3 days, then you need to contact the prospective employer once more.
Be persistent, but not annoying; write another email, telling them you understand they are very busy and you just want to know if they have filled the position or not.
Mention how much you enjoyed the atmosphere in their venue and think you could be a great fit with their staff.
Every time you go for a job interview, try to get as many business cards from people as you can. This will help you to know their real names and titles, so you can send a proper ‘thank you’ note.
The reason why most people say an email is the best way to follow up after an interview is because it’s fast and friendly, and it doesn’t impose pressure on the employer to stop whatever they’re doing, unlike a phone call.
If you have been communicating with the hiring manager on phone, it doesn’t matter if you continue the trend with a phone call. If answering a phone call is interviewer’s most preferred method, then there’s nothing wrong if you continue with phone conversation.
Are you in search of a bartending job? The ideas presented in this post can greatly help to increase your chances of getting it, easily and fast too.
You need to get the right skills, knowledge, and experience for the role so employers can find you valuable for the job and get your ready for the tasks ahead.