Conducting Nightclub Security Interviews – Part 3, Interview Questions

I just received a note from a Bar Owner requesting some examples of what to ask potential Security hires. My initial response was a question: “What type of Security are you looking to hire and what will be their function?” As I have written in numerous posts, there are a wide variety of positions in a Bar/Nightclub and fairly specific skill sets that go with each. It turned out that this particular Owner was hiring entry-level staff and as such the finer details could be put aside for the time being.  But here are a few things that I like to ask:

“Are you licensed and what type of license do you have?”

Surprisingly enough, this question is often a stumbling block for many interviewees. On numerous occasions, individuals I have interviewed either don’t know the type of license/certification/card they are working with or even call it by the wrong name. Seeing as licensing and certification are probably the only things that will get you in the door to begin with, you should probably know the answer to this question!

“Tell me a little about your last Security Job.”

Was this individual working in a Mall, running Estate Security, or doing Public Events? Totally different skill sets, but each provides the Security skills necessary for working in a Bar/Nightclub.

“Why did you leave you last job?”

The answer to this question can be very telling and lead into much more in-depth conversations about their skills and likes/dislikes in the work place. This is also where you can catch Interviewees in a lie as any follow-up calls to their preview employers will either confirm or deny their answer.

“Why do you want to work at XXXXX?”

Another question that can lead to revealing answers. The response can tell you if this person wants to work with you (“I want to help your team become the best in town”), for you (“I’ve heard that your the best in town and I want to be on the team”), or for themselves (“The cocktail waitresses are hot”) – and yes, someone has given me that last answer.

“If your co-workers could describe your working style, what would they say?”

Self-evaluation is difficult for most of us and they answer to this question not only reveals how quickly someone can think on their feet (most people don’t expect this question) but how they think of themselves. Are they boastful? Humble? Or just decent at what they do?

“Do you have any questions for us?”

If they don’t have any questions, they should not be hired. As a matter of fact, they should have a list of 5-10 questions to ask you. And you better have the answers to their questions!

“Tell me about the worst job you’ve ever had?”

First off, most people have at least one complaint about somewhere they have worked. Second, by asking this question – which most people will readily answer – it relaxes your Interviewee. “Wow, he’s asking about that really crappy job, now I can vent.”  Third, when people vent about things they don’t like, it will give you an idea of whether they will be a good fit for your establishment. Interviewees have actually told me that they couldn’t stand their last boss because he expected them to always be one time. No, really, that happened.

“Here are some scenarios…”

I always include some scenario questions in my interviews. It reveals the Interviewee’s ability to think spontaneously, their critical thinking skills, and whether or not their approach is one that would fit in your establishment.

Obviously, there are a myriad of questions that can be asked of Security hires and even more once you get to Management or high level positions. But the basics listed above will get you going on the road to a more in-depth interview conversation and hopefully help to find you a new hire.

Until next time…

The Dangerous Side of the Equation

It pains me whenever I read articles like this one:

First, the loss of life over what was probably a fairly minor incident is tragic. Second, it is a reminder of the dangers of working in entertainment venues. And third, it makes me wonder, “Could something different have been done to prevent the violent outcome?”

Working in any venue where alcohol is being served is inherently dangerous. Too often those new to the industry (and more than a few veterans), believe that dealing with intoxicated individuals is “no big deal” or even chuckle at the idea of “tossing out the drunks”. The REALITY of the job is far different. Intoxicated individuals are dangerous. They are a danger to themselves and to others, especially if they are highly intoxicated. The REALITY of intoxication is that it fundamentally changes the way people think. Besides the loss of motor skills and impairment of speech and balance, intoxication can significantly effect judgement, self- control,caution, and reason. These changes can in turn place intoxicated individuals and those around them in extremely dangerous and volatile situations. And you know who else can find themselves in those situations…?


I do not claim to know what happened in the tragic case above. But based on the regular appearance of stories like this in the news, a basic scenario can be formulated:

  1. Patron acts in non-accordance with venue rules
  2. Patron is asked to leave
  3. Patron resists attempts at removing them from premises
  4. Patron is removed from premises (possibly with unnecessary force)
  5. Patron/Security taunt one another after removal
  6. Patron attacks Security (or vice versa)
  7. Patron/Security is injured or killed

At every point of this scenario, there are a myriad of factors that need to be taken into account. And even when taking those factors into account, every action can span a myriad of other reactions! The bottom line for Security Staffers is very simple:


Small missteps, the wrong tone of voice, and the wrong attitude (generally on the part of the Staffer) can lead to terrible situations. This can be in a situation as basic as asking someone to move so that you can get by with a stack of chairs or as serious as an ejection. A cool head can quite literally save your life. Things like having back-up, knowing how to deal with intoxicated Patrons, and yes even ejecting people, should NEVER be trivialized or approached with a nonchalant attitude. Watch out for yourself, your co-workers, and yes…the Patrons.

Until next time…