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50+ Barback Interview Questions (With Answer Examples)


Finding a proficient barback is crucial for a bar to operate smoothly. Every night, bars around the world rely on their barbacks to ensure everything runs seamlessly. They play a pivotal role in making sure bartenders have everything they need to serve customers efficiently.

Through our extensive experience helping hundreds of restaurants, we’ve curated interview questions to help you identify the perfect barback for your establishment. These questions are divided into five categories.

General Barback Interview Questions

  • Why did you choose to apply as a barback for our establishment?
    Example answer: “I’ve been a patron of your establishment a few times and always admired the team’s synergy. I believe my skills would be a great fit here and I can contribute significantly to the bar’s efficiency.”
  • How do you handle working in a high-pressure environment?
    Example answer: “I thrive under pressure. In my previous barback role, I prioritized tasks, staying organized, and communicating with the bartenders, which always helped me manage the rush.”
  • Can you describe a time when you had to manage multiple urgent tasks simultaneously?
    Example answer: “Absolutely. Once, during a particularly busy night, we ran out of several essential supplies. I had to quickly restock while ensuring that glasses were being cleaned promptly. I managed by setting a clear order of tasks and communicating with the bartending team.”
  • How do you ensure that the bar remains stocked throughout a busy night?
    Example answer: “I regularly check our inventory and anticipate what will run out based on the night’s trend. It helps me to prioritize restocking essential items during short lulls.”
  • How would you handle a situation where you might be falling behind during a busy rush?
    Example answer: “I’d communicate with the bartenders, letting them know the situation, and ask for patience. I might also ask for temporary assistance if someone is available.”
  • How do you familiarize yourself with the layout of a new bar?
  • How would you describe your organizational skills?
  • How do you handle feedback or criticism from bartenders or supervisors?
  • Are you comfortable working late hours and on weekends?
  • How do you manage your energy and focus during long shifts?

Questions About Experience and Background

  • How long have you been working as a barback?
    Example answer: “I have been a barback for three years, working in both small lounges and larger, busier establishments.”
  • Have you ever worked in a bar similar to ours?
    Example answer: “Yes, I worked at [Bar Name], which, like your establishment, emphasizes craft cocktails and has a similar pace.”
  • What kind of bars or restaurants have you previously worked in?
    Example answer: “I’ve had the privilege to work in various settings, from casual pubs to high-end rooftop bars.”
  • Have you ever taken any courses or training related to bartending or being a barback?
    Example answer: “Yes, I attended a local bartending school which covered not just mixing drinks but also the essentials of barbacking.”
  • What motivated you to become a barback?
    Example answer: “I have always been fascinated by the energy and dynamics of a bar. Being a barback allows me to be part of this environment, learn the intricacies of bartending, and play a role in providing great customer experiences.”
  • How would you rate your knowledge of alcoholic beverages?
  • Can you mention any significant challenges you faced in your previous job and how you overcame them?
  • Do you aspire to become a bartender in the future?
  • How do you handle conflicts with coworkers, if any arise?
  • Describe a time when you received commendation for your performance.

Interview Questions Focused on Soft Skills

  • How do you handle stress or pressure?
    Example answer: “I focus on the task at hand, breathe deeply, and prioritize what needs to be done first. Communicating with my team also helps alleviate stress.”
  • Describe a time when you had to work as part of a team.
    Example answer: “During a big event at my last job, all staff, including kitchen staff, bartenders, and managers, had to work in tandem. We held a briefing before the event to delegate tasks and ensure everyone knew their role.”
  • How do you handle feedback or criticism from coworkers?
    Example answer: “I view feedback as a chance to grow. I always thank the person for their input and then work on implementing their suggestions if they resonate with me.”
  • How do you prioritize tasks during a hectic shift?
    Example answer: “I quickly assess the situation, determine which tasks are urgent, and handle those first. Clear communication with bartenders is also key.”
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with an unhappy or difficult coworker.
    Example answer: “I once worked with a bartender who was often stressed. Instead of confronting him, I approached him during a break, listened to his concerns, and discussed how we could work better together.”
  • How would you describe your communication style?
  • How do you handle a situation where you might have made a mistake or oversight?
  • How would you deal with a colleague not pulling their weight?
  • Describe a time when you took initiative at work.
  • How important is team dynamics to you, and how do you contribute to a positive work environment?

Interview Questions Focused on Hard Skills

  • Are you familiar with the process of changing kegs?
    Example answer: “Yes, I’ve changed countless kegs in my previous job. I ensure to do it safely and efficiently, minimizing downtime for the bartender.”
  • How do you clean and maintain bar equipment?
    Example answer: “Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial. After each shift, I clean tools, glasses, and equipment using the recommended cleaning agents. Periodically, I deep-clean certain equipment, like beer lines, to ensure optimal taste and functionality.”
  • Describe your method for keeping track of inventory.
    Example answer: “I maintain a checklist and keep an eye on the stock throughout the shift. After each shift, I note down what needs replenishing. Weekly, I do a thorough inventory check.”
  • Are you knowledgeable about the different types of glasses used for various beverages?
    Example answer: “Yes, every drink has its appropriate glass, from highball and lowball glasses to wine and beer glasses. Using the right glass enhances the drink’s presentation and taste.”
  • How do you ensure that glasses are cleaned and sanitized properly?
    Example answer: “I make sure to rinse glasses immediately after use to prevent residue. I then use the recommended cleaning and sanitizing agents and ensure glasses are air-dried to avoid streaks.”
  • Are you familiar with any POS (Point Of Sale) systems?
  • How would you handle a situation where a specific beverage runs out during a busy night?
  • How do you keep the ice bins filled and clean?
  • Are you familiar with any mixology techniques or tools?
  • How do you ensure the bar area remains clean and hazard-free during a shift?

Scenario-Based Barback Interview Questions (That Show Problem-Solving Skills)

  • Imagine a bartender is frustrated and says they’re running out of essential items frequently. How do you handle this?
    Example answer: “I’d apologize for any oversight and immediately address the shortage. After the shift, I’d sit with the bartender to understand their needs better and adjust my restocking routine.”
  • If you see a customer who seems intoxicated and is signaling for another drink, how would you handle it?
    Example answer: “Though I’m not serving directly, I’d discreetly inform the bartender about my observation so they can make an informed decision.”
  • Suppose you accidentally break a bottle of premium liquor. What would you do?
    Example answer: “I’d first ensure safety by cleaning up the spill and broken glass. I’d then notify the manager or bartender about the incident and take responsibility.”
  • A bartender is continually finding fault with your work, even though you believe you’re performing your duties correctly. How would you address this?
    Example answer: “I’d request a quiet moment with the bartender to discuss their concerns and see if we can find a solution or compromise. It’s crucial for the team to be on the same page.”
  • During a rush, you notice a spill on the floor. What do you do?
    Example answer: “Safety first. I’d immediately clean the spill to prevent any accidents, even if it means a slight delay in other tasks.”
  • How would you handle a situation where multiple bartenders are asking for different things simultaneously?
  • A customer complains about a drink not tasting right, but you’re confident the ingredients are fresh and correctly stocked. How do you handle it?
  • You realize you’re running low on a popular mixer on a Friday night. How do you manage?
  • A bartender asks you to do a task that isn’t typically part of your responsibilities. How do you respond?
  • You’re having a personal issue outside of work, but you have a shift that evening. How do you handle the situation?

Barback Interview Tips

Tips For the Recruiter

  • Know the Role: Understand the key responsibilities of a barback so you can assess a candidate’s experience and skills accurately.
  • Prioritize Soft Skills: While technical skills are important, qualities like teamwork, communication, and adaptability are crucial for a barback.
  • Use Scenario-Based Questions: This will help gauge how a candidate reacts under pressure and in unexpected situations.
  • Look for Passion: A candidate who shows enthusiasm for the industry and a genuine interest in the role is likely to be a dedicated worker.
  • Check for Physical Stamina: Barback roles are physically demanding; ensure the candidate is aware and prepared for this aspect.
  • Value Experience: While training can be provided, previous experience, even if in a slightly different setting, can be advantageous.
  • Assess Reliability: Given the nature of the hospitality industry, punctuality and reliability are key attributes to look for.

Tips For the Candidates

  • Research the Establishment: Familiarize yourself with the type of bar, its popular drinks, and its clientele.
  • Dress Appropriately: Opt for neat, practical attire that mirrors the ambiance of the bar or restaurant.
  • Highlight Relevant Experience: Whether it’s barbacking or another role in hospitality, share experiences that demonstrate your skills.
  • Prepare for Physical Aspects: Be ready to discuss how you manage the physical demands of the job, from lifting kegs to standing for long hours.
  • Show Your Team Player Attitude: Emphasize your ability to work in harmony with bartenders and other staff.
  • Practice Scenario Responses: Be prepared to answer situational questions about handling pressure, multitasking, or dealing with unexpected challenges.
  • Ask Insightful Questions: This shows your genuine interest in the role and can give you a clearer picture of what’s expected.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the nuances of the barback role is crucial for both recruiters and candidates.
  • Soft skills like teamwork and adaptability are as essential as technical knowledge.
  • Preparation is key; whether it’s the recruiter designing scenario-based questions or the candidate anticipating them.
  • The barback role is demanding, and both parties should recognize and address its physical aspects.
  • A successful barback interview emphasizes collaboration, reliability, and genuine passion for the industry.
  • Experience in the field is valuable, but the right attitude and willingness to learn can compensate for lack of experience.
  • Mutual respect and clear communication during the interview process set the stage for a productive working relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Why did you choose to apply as a barback for our establishment?
  2. How do you handle working in a high-pressure environment?
  3. Describe a time when you had to manage multiple urgent tasks simultaneously.
  4. How do you ensure the bar remains stocked during a busy night?
  5. Can you describe your method for keeping track of inventory?
  6. Are you familiar with the process of changing kegs?
  7. How do you clean and maintain bar equipment?
  8. How do you handle feedback or criticism from bartenders or supervisors?
  9. Describe a time when you had to work as part of a team.
  10. How important is team dynamics to you, and how do you contribute to a positive work environment?

Research the establishment thoroughly, practice potential interview questions, familiarize yourself with key bar tools and equipment, and demonstrate a keen understanding of the role’s demands, both physically and in terms of teamwork.

Effective communication, physical stamina, organizational skills, and the ability to work under pressure are all crucial for a barback.

While experience is beneficial and can provide a competitive edge, a strong work ethic, the right attitude, and a willingness to learn can often compensate for lack of experience.

While deep mixology knowledge is not essential, a basic understanding of popular drinks, ingredients, and the correct glassware can be beneficial in the role.

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