Top Tips on How to Smash Your Bartending Trial Shift (and not the Glasses)

Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2019 by Amy ListonNo comments


So, you have gone through the interviews with flying colours and have landed your trial shift, the next point of the hiring process, congratulations! (Or if you’re just reading this out of curiosity, welcome!)

“But what now?!” I hear you ask.  Don’t worry, Xpress is here to help!

The trial shift is the day that all your hard work in writing your cv, applying yourself, going through interviews (and actually using an iron against your ‘lucky interview shirt’) is going to be put to use – put your money where your mouth is, kiddos, it’s time to show them what you’re made of.

The interview was to convince the manager that you’re fab for the job, but now it’s time to prove it.  This means:

Coming prepared

Wear the right clothes for the trial.  Have a look at the staff when you visit the place beforehand, or simply ask your manager what to wear, what time everything starts and if you need anything else.  Think of it as a practical interview.  You were sat talking in the theory and now you’re putting everything to use and into action and practice; you wouldn’t be late and unprepared for your first interview, so don’t let yourself down for this one!

Listen and ask questions

You’re new to this place, possibly even this industry; there is no shame in not knowing all the answers!  You’ll get told a lot of new information, and it may feel overwhelming especially if you’re nervous, but try your best to stay focused.  You’ll find out where the ice machine is, where the stock rooms are and where to take the bins out, along with information about your role requirements and duties.  All in all, a bit of an important talk.

Remember, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.  Whenever something comes up, just ask.  Not only will it help but it’ll bode well as it shows your willingness to learn!

There’s always something to do

During your trial shift, if things feel slow or quiet, try to pick something up.  Wipe down the bar, sort out the fridges, read the menu and steps on how to make certain drinks.

All in all, keep in motion and prove that you won’t waste time, and if you can’t find anything to do, just ask!  As I said earlier, the willingness to learn and work will work wonders!


Behind the bar is usually a tiny ickle space used by a few busy bartenders keeping the place afloat with happy customers and damn good pints!

You’ll come to learn that everyone will move in sync and naturally manage to avoid bumping into one another when reaching over for glasses and whatnot.  This is the bar dance – it also consists of verbal communication; vocal cues will help everyone know who’s where.  It’ll become an instinct and gift once you’re practiced in it, but it’ll prevent smashed glasses and bumps on the head, so probably quite a handy one to learn!

Other than that, have fun, get learning and don’t give yourself a hard time.  We all start somewhere, and one day you’ll be pulling pints like a pro!

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