Let’s be honest.
Being nervous or anxious for a job interview happens often, and interviewing for a bar job is no exception. There are many questions, answers, and situations you must prepare for. But before you can even get to that point, one question should come to everyone’s mind..
What should I wear to a bartending job interview?
The good news is, this isn’t a difficult question.
While it is important to make a good first impression, one thing you shouldn’t have to think too much about is what you should be wearing.
PS: This is Part II of our Bartending Interview Series. To check out the entire series, click here for Part I: Bartending Interview Questions, Scheduling, and Preparation.
There are some basic and simple rules you should adhere to when it comes to what to wear for a bartending interview.
Do your own research
Before we even begin to discuss what color shirt you should wear, or whether you should wear cologne/perfume, the first thing you need to do is a little research. You need to find out what other bartenders are wearing at the gig you are trying to get a job at.
You can accomplish this in two different ways:
Preferably in the above order of priority. If you can’t go to the bar beforehand, then hopping online and doing some digging can still help. Look up their websites, scan their social media, and see if you can pick up on their attire. Obviously, this isn’t always easy to do, which is why going to the location before your interview can make it a whole lot easier.
Why is it important to see what other bartenders are wearing?
First impressions are everything, and if you come in wearing the wrong attire you can immediately be written off.
If the bartending gig has a uniform or high-class reputation and you show up in a flannel and flip-flops, you’d be giving off a bad impression. Likewise, if you show up in a suit for an interview at a sports bar, the hiring manager might think you are lost.
Spend the time doing your research and you’ll be on your way to a successful interview.
Bartending Attire for Females
While it is important to find out what the bartenders are wearing, there are some guidelines for what most bar managers expect you to wear in order to look professional. Again, use discretion, but for the most part these guidelines will have you covered.
For women, it is best to stick with the basics. Black dress pants are perfect, as you want to have a formal look without being too flashy. Dark colors are acceptable as well, but you can’t go wrong with black.
The shirt color is where you can have some fun, maybe even choosing a color that you think matches your personality. Cleavage is debatable, but it is better to be on the safe side. Subtlety is key, and smart is better than sexy when it comes to interviews.
For shoes, close-toed black shoes are something you can’t go wrong with. No need for heels, you should keep it formal but comfortable.
Small dresses are also ok, but keep it on the slimmer side and dark. Black again is preferred here, and only go for it if you saw other bartenders on the job wearing something similar.
Bartending Attire for Males
Like women, men can’t go wrong with dark pants. Black is the usual go-to, but a dark grey or brown is fine as well.
Where men can go wrong is with the shirt fit. Fit is king, and you should do your best with wearing a shirt that fits you nicely. If you can’t even get a shirt that looks good on you for the interview, what makes you think you’ll get one for the the bartending gig? A dark belt and a tucked in collared-shirt complete the look.
As for the shirt color, it’s best to keep the colors neutral and light – but not white. Light grey, blue, or green all work. Ties can work as well, but this (like women who wear slim black dresses) should only be done if you observed other male bartenders wearing them on the job.
Avoid bow-ties, as they look tacky.
Women should keep their hair up with a small clip, and kept out of the face.
Men should be well groomed and shaven. If you have facial hair, keep it trimmed. Beards really do depend on the bar, so if you have a long one make sure it’s well kept.
A general piece of advice when it comes to accessories is to avoid them if you can. They are by no means a deal breaker, but they do have more of a chance of hurting your job chances than helping them. Earrings need to go, unless they are small and not hanging.
Jewelry in many bar manager’s eyes is an accident waiting to happen, so if you don’t need them, don’t wear them. If you insist on jewelry, metal is fine but fabric is unsanitary.
As much as you can, cover up tattoos. It depends on the bar manager and his preferences toward them (and the ambiance of the bar itself), but cover them in the interim.
Perfume and Cologne are ok, but don’t overdo it. Just like in real life, it’s better to give off a slight aroma than to intoxicate someone. A spray or two is fine.
When it comes to doing well in an interview, an overall rule is to exude confidence. When you don’t have to worry about what you’re wearing, this will come naturally.
Look good, feel good, and go get that bartending job.