Cocktail server is fancy job title for a waitress working in a bar, or in a night club. Sure enough, you will serve cocktails, but also shots, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages, basically everything one can get in a typical bar. You will be responsible for taking orders, making recommendations, serving drinks, providing accurate bills, cleaning and clearing tables, just like you’d do in any other setting where people come to eat, drink, and have some fun.

Let’s have a look at 13 questions you may face while interviewing for a job of  a cocktail waitress. Keep on your mind that it is crucial to demonstrate a cheerful and outgoing personality, because the bar managers will expect you to interact with the guests in a cheerful manner. It is also important to show your willingness to work on weekends, and long into the night, because these are peak times for most bars and clubs. Let’s have a look at the questions.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Your non-verbal communication is actually more important than what you say. Keep the eye contact with the interviewers, and speak in a cheerful and genuine manner. Try to demonstrate right from the start that you have a fitting personality for the position of a cocktail waitress.

In terms of your words, try to focus on your strengths. It can be your experience–if you’ve worked in a similar place before, or have some experience with customer service in general (from a retail store, fast food restaurant, call center, basically any job in which communication with the customer was the core of your work).

If this is your first application for a job in the field, you can focus on your personality. Say them that you enjoy being in the middle of a big crowd, that you do not struggle striking a conversation with the stranger, and are in a great shape physically, and won’t struggle to stay on your legs during a long shift.

You can also add one or two things from your personal life–whether you have a family, things you enjoy doing in your spare time, and so on. Show them that you have some life outside of work, and are ready to talk genuinely about anything in this interview.


Why do you want to work as a cocktail server?

Here you have several options for a decent answer. First one is talking about the nature of the job–loud music, young people all around, everyone is in a great mood, people are living as if there was no tomorrow. You can say that you thrive in such an environment, and logically apply for a job you will enjoy doing.

Second option is focusing on shift patterns. Maybe you have kids, or still go to school, or have some other commitments that do not really allow you to work during the day. Cocktail waitresses work in the night and on weekends, which happens to be a perfect schedule for you.

Another option is referring to your experience–if you have any. You’ve worked in the field for quite some, you know the ins and outs of the job, and how to please the customers so they leave a juicy tip for you. Why would you start in a new field from scratch, when you can benefit from your existing experience?

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Why do you want to work as a cocktail waitress in our bar/nightclub?

You should do some research before interviewing for this job. Check the reviews of their place online, and try to understand what the customers praise, the reasons why they visit their place. Then you can refer to these things in your answer.

It may also happen that you apply for a job in some shady place, or simply in a new business that doesn’t really have any reviews. In such a case you can either refer to shift patterns and location of the place. Perhaps you have a great traffic connection, or it is ten minutes walk away from your apartment, or whatever.

One more thing works great in this case–a recommendation from a friend. Maybe one of your friends worked (or is still working) in the bar, she recommended you the place, citing specific reasons (great atmosphere, generous customers, good management). When a position of a cocktail waitress became available, you went for it and applied.


What is your availability? How do you feel about working late at night?

As I’ve already mentioned, cocktail waitresses work specific schedule. Shifts can easily extend to wee hours, and if the atmosphere is good and customers are spending money, most bar managers won’t close the place just because it regularly closes at 2am in the morning. It can easily stay open until 6am.

Check their opening hours, ensure them that you can work when they need you, and that you understand how it works in similar establishments. You can actually say that you are a night owl, and the weekend shifts are one of the reasons why you apply for a job of a cocktail waitress, instead of a job of a regular waitress, or some job in a fast food chain for example.


Imagine that a customer invites you for a drink. How will you react?

Such things happen in each nightclub, and how you should react depends on the policy of the club. In most cases, you should order the most expensive non-alcoholic drink, so the club makes the most money. In some other places, you should simply refuse any similar proposals.

Cocktail waitresses are not escorts. If they do not make it clear on the job description or in an interview, then you should make it clear in an opportune moment. Sure enough, you want to be nice and friendly to the customers. They should enjoy interacting with you, and you should be one of the reasons why people come to the club.

At the same time, however, you have your limits. And the customers have to respect them. You won’t allow them to cross the line, and perhaps think that they can get more than a drink and a smile from you. I suggest you to bring this up in an interview, even if the club manager doesn’t ask about it. Make sure that you won’t face some unpleasant surprises during your first night in the job…


What are your salary expectations?

Cocktail waitresses earn close to minimum wage, making the majority of their income from tips. And this is exactly what you should focus on in your answer.

Say that you want to provide an outstanding customer service each and every night. Some patrons will return to the place just to have another conversation with you, to see your beautiful smile. You will do your best to make sure than they enjoy their time in the club immensely, spend a lot of money on the drinks (good for your employer) and leave you a generous tip when they finally decide to go to sleep (good for you)…


Other questions you may face in your cocktail server interview

  • How would you describe an ideal colleague?
  • Imagine that the place is packed with guests, and five different people demand your attention at the same time. What will you do?
  • How do you imagine a typical day in this job? Describe your idea of a typical shift.
  • What do you consider your greatest weakness when we talk about a job of a waitress?
  • Of our current menu items, what is your favorite appetizer and drink combination? Why?
  • Imagine that it is 1:50am, the place is supposed to close in ten minutes. But there are still thirty people in the club, having a great time. How will you react? What will you do?
  • Tell me about a time when you felt overwhelmed with work.


Final thoughts, next steps

Interview for a job of a cocktail waitress belongs to interviews with easy difficulty. You won’t get any tricky technical questions. As long as you show a friendly and ongoing personality, understanding for the nature of the job, and right attitude to different situations that can happen in a night club, they will typically hire you and give you a chance to prove your skills in the job.

Do not forget that your non-verbal communication is even more important than your interview answers in this case. The bar manager should get an impression that their guests will enjoy your company. You should also try your best to look good and attractive in the clothes you choose for your interview. In this interview, the choice of clothes can definitely have an impact on your eventual success or failure…

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Matthew Chulaw
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