If you have good bar staff, you have treasure. Front of house employees make your business what it is, and that goes two ways: they can harm your profits, or add to them. Which is why it’s so essential to choose the right people in this setting. Similarly, the hospitality job seeker will be carefully selecting their employer.
In this article, we look at 10 essential interview questions to ask bar candidates to run a successful hospitality interview and to, ultimately, unearth whether they’re truly the best fit for your venue.
Essential Skills to Look For
Barbacks and bouncers and other bar staff play essential roles in your venue, and require their own set of certain skills. However, it’s the bartenders and waitstaff that make or break your hospitality business, so there are key traits to look for when you start interviewing them:
- Friendliness - they must be people who are approachable, with open faces and a ready smile.
- Listener - chatterboxes are not a good idea, because the experience for customers must be about them, not the staff.
- Memory - they need to retain information that’s given by customers on the fly.
- Communication - they need to be exceptional communicators, because they are dealing with your guests.
- Organised - bartenders and waiters/waitresses need to multitask, so if they are not organised in addition to multitasking, it can spell chaos.
- Composed - they need to remain composed at all times, not allowing complaining or even abusive guests to rattle them and impact their performance.
Interview Questions to Ask Bar Staff
#1: What tasks does this role entail?
The answer to this question will show you whether the candidate understands what the position is about.
#2: Is your time flexible?
You need to make sure they understand that the position requires flexibility, and their lifestyle and circumstances need to allow for this.
#3: What is your experience with regards to this position?
The answer to this determines how much training the candidate requires, or whether they are experienced in similar areas.
#4: How would you handle a drunk customer who asks for more?
Bartenders and venues can get into serious trouble for continuing to serve patrons who have had too much. Getting an answer to this question shows 1) the knowledge of the candidate, and 2) how well he or she acts in difficult situations.
#5: What would be your response to an underaged person showing a fake ID?
Again, the answer the candidate provides to this question indicates 1) previous experience and 2) the ability of a person to handle a tough situation.
#6: There’s a fight and glass breaks on the floor. What do you do?
Find out how your prospective candidate thinks - ideally, their answer would indicate their understanding to remove all hazardous objects before someone gets hurt, and again, you’ll be able to see how they handle a situation that requires quick thinking.
#7: If someone asked for a special drink mix, what would you serve?
Bartenders need to be creative, and this question attempts to find out if they are, by hearing what drink mixes they would concoct for a special occasion.
#8: What training do you have that is relevant to this position?
There will be many who would like a bar staff position (often students who are looking to make some money while they study). It’s your job to find out - from their actions - if they are serious about this avenue as a career. If they’ve been for training, chances are they’re serious about developing their skills and not just there for the paycheque.
#9: What do you think you’ll enjoy about this position?
The answer to this will give insight into the candidate’s personality and you should be able to see a glimpse of why the person would like the position, if not just for the wage.
#10: A customer going through a divorce begins telling you about it. What do you do?
By asking this question, you’ll find out 1) if the candidate really is a good listener (an essential trait for bartenders), or not, and 2) how he or she would handle sensitive situations.
To discover how you can tap into a professional network of some of Sydney’s most in-demand bar staff, get in touch with us today.