photo credit: the varnish via photopin (license)
Congratulations! You landed an interview for a bartending position, and you want it . . . bad. But, how do you present yourself to a potential employer and nail down that job?

Prepare yourself

Find out the level of service expected.

In the interview, you must showcase your qualifications properly. If you’re applying to a steakhouse, no one’s going to care you can make three hundred different kinds of drinks. (One of which happens to be a pretty mean vodka red bull.)

Print off a fresh resume.

In a busy restaurant or club, it’s easy for resumes get lost. Bring one with you, just in case.

Wear clothing you’d expect to wear if hired.

If the establishment is known for fine dining, dress up. Wherever you’re applying, consider a splurge on a new pair of black shoes. If you’re given a job, you’ll need them anyway.

Walk in the door ten minutes early.

Make small talk with the staff while waiting to be seen. Know that people are going to talk about you after you go, and ensure you leave a good impression with everyone you speak to.

The First Two Minutes

Fact: Most potential employers know whether or not they want to hire you in the first two minutes of an interview. Use those two minutes to your advantage.

Shake hands with a firm grip, eye contact, and a smile.

After your interviewer introduces themselves, repeat their name. “Nice to meet you, Soandso,” “Thank you for seeing me, Mrs. Bosslady.” Addressing your tentative employer properly infuses an element of respect into the conversation.

This isn’t Bar Rescue. You aren’t John Taffer.

Don’t go in and complain about the height of the barstools. Show charisma. Be likeable.

The Interview

The way you answer questions will make or break the deal.

Put a positive spin on every answer. Don’t tell them you left your last job because your boss was an alcoholic and the other staff members were out to get you.

The manager doesn’t care about how amazing you think you are.

He or she wants to see your interest in how their establishment does things. Focus on your desire to be a productive, contributing member of their team.

Present yourself as a problem solver.

Mistakes happen. The kitchen makes mistakes, and you’ll inevitably make mistakes, too. Some customers might be more difficult than Charlie Sheen on a come down from a three day bender. Your potential employer needs to assess how you’ll handle these situations. Just remember: a general rule of thumb in the service industry is to make sure the customer leaves happy.

Keep your scheduling availability as open as possible.

The person interviewing you is often the person responsible for scheduling. Don’t give them a headache before you get your foot in the door.

Speak from the customer’s point of view.

Even if you’ve never worked as a bartender before, you know the kind of service you like to receive when yougo out.

After the interview is over, shake hands again. And, if you’re not called within a week, don’t be afraid to phone your interviewer directly to see if that job is still open.

photo credit: the varnish via photopin (license)

JA Allen

JA Allen is a freelance writer, author, and former star of the service industry. After over a decade working from the dish-pit to management in restaurants, pubs, and night clubs all over the world, she now enjoys wasting time between chapters on the flip side of the bar.