When looking for a bartending job, it’s important to nail the job interview part. Believe it or not, what you wear is one of the most important things to consider before your bartending interview.
When deciding what to wear to a bartending interview, remember your outfit will give the bar owner or hiring manager a good sense of who you are and how you will present yourself to their customers. Although this might sound trivial, it matters, and the right impression can set you apart from the competition and showcase your commitment to the job.
While dressing smart casual is usually a good guideline, picking out the right outfit for a successful interview can be tricky because you might feel unsure if you should go for a more professional or casual look. In the rest of this article, we will give you our best tips for preparing a winning outfit for your next bartending interview.
How Do I Prepare for a Bartending Interview?
Preparing for a bartending interview is not much different than preparing for any other interview. Don’t make the mistake of showing up without any background information because it will show, and you may lose your shot at the bartending job you really want.
You should research the bar or restaurant you are hoping to work at so that you feel confident that it’s the right place for you and figure out some good questions to ask during your interview.
Here are three ways we recommend preparing for a bartending interview:
Do Some Social Media Sleuthing
An establishment’s social media presence will tell you a lot about the restaurant’s overall vibe. You can learn a lot about the common specials, see pictures of customers and employees, and see what kinds of events or daily things happen there.
This information will be helpful during your interview so you can ask good questions and be aware of what the interviewer is discussing.
Audit Your Online Presence
Before you hit the follow button on the bar or restaurant’s social media pages, look through your own page. Make sure everything on your page is appropriate for a potential employer to see.
The degree to which you need to delete, untag, or edit will vary greatly depending on whether you apply at a fine-dining restaurant or a local pub, but it’s essential to consider. When in doubt, clean it up. They won’t dock you points for being “too” professional.
Research the Dress Code of the Establishment You’re Interviewing For
Your interview outfit says everything about you before you sit down or speak. It will give the interviewer a glimpse into your personal style, grooming habits, and how seriously you take the job.
You first want to find out if the establishment you’re applying for has a dress code. This may be posted on their website or can be found by stopping by and observing the workers or asking a friend who works there.
There’s no one way how to dress as a bartender, but dress appropriately and professionally and try to emulate the look of the bartenders and servers at the restaurant in your interview look. You’ll probably notice that black pants is a bar industry standard for both men and women.
There is a wide range of what is considered acceptable interview attire in the food and beverage industry, but it’s best to err on the side of being more professional than not. Always strive for clean lines, simple colours, and clothes that fit you well.
How To Prepare for a Bartending Interview With No Experience
If you’ve never bartended before, don’t let that deter you from applying for a bartending job. Everyone has to start somewhere. The important thing to do is to understand where you are more likely to be welcomed and trained as a newbie bartender.
Set Your Sights on Smaller, Local Establishments
Usually, small family-owned pubs and sports bars will be more likely to take on a brand-new bartender than a busy, popular one. They tend to have more regulars who are more patient with staff learning the ropes and may generally have a slower pace, making learning easier.
Be honest with the interviewer about your experience (or lack thereof), but show that you are prepared and willing to do what it takes to learn.
Check Out the Food and Bar Menu
The menu at the bar or restaurant that you will be working at will tell you a lot about what to expect if you get hired as a bartender.
You should familiarize yourself with their cocktails and food offerings to know whether you are experienced enough to work there or if you need to brush up on some skills before your interview to get hired.
Craft 3-5 Questions for Your Interviewer
Based on your research on the menu, website, and social media accounts, try to come up with 3-5 questions you want to ask during your interview with the hiring manager. Having good questions shows that you are prepared and that you are genuinely interested in and curious about the job opportunity.
Men and Women Bartender Dress and Accessories and Details
Here is a quick rundown of what we recommend wearing to a bartender interview if you have very little information but want to ensure you impress. Usually, “Smart casual” is a good starting point. If you’re unfamiliar with the term Smart casual, it’s dressing similar to an outfit you’d wear to dine with a colleague or in-laws – not too casual, like track pants and slippers or too formal.
“Business Casual” and “Smart Casual” are often used interchangeably, but they have subtle differences. The first is more formal. Think ties, leather shoes and sports jackets for men and close-toed black shoes or heels and possibly a blazer for women.
- Solid colour button-down collared shirt
- Tailored black dress pants with a coordinating belt
- Either wearing dress pants or khakis is usually a good choice too
- Clean dress shoes or similar
- Cover tattoos and remove visible piercings if possible unless you know the establishment is comfortable with them.
- If you have facial hair, keep it trimmed or a beard well-kept
- Solid colour top or blouse with an appropriate neckline or a collared shirt
- Tailored pants in a neutral colour, preferably black.
- Closed-toe shoes
- Freshly styled hair
- Tasteful makeup
- Cover tattoos and remove visible piercings if possible unless you know the establishment is comfortable with them
What To Bring to the Interview
Before you leave for your bartending interview, make sure you bring a few important essentials with you. You don’t need much, but these things will help you look more put together and prepared.
- A few copies of your bartending resume (at least one for every person you know you are meeting with if multiple)
- A notebook and pen for taking notes
- Driver’s license and another form of identification
- Completed application (if required)
In conclusion, preparing for a bartending interview with a bar manager is similar to any other interview, but there are certain specific things to remember.
Researching the bar or restaurant, doing social media sleuthing, auditing your online presence, and researching the establishment’s dress code are all important steps to take before the interview.
It’s also important to understand that your attire for the first impressions of your interview can give the interviewer a glimpse of your style, grooming habits, and how seriously you take the job.
Even if you have no experience, don’t let that discourage you from applying for a bartending job and be honest about your experience during the interview. Show that you are prepared and willing to learn, and set your sights on smaller, local establishments.
Following these tips on what to wear to a bartending interview will prepare you for your bartending interview and increase your chances of getting the job.