Interview Tips for Crew
Written for ELCREWCO.com Website
Turn up on time (even better… early, in case you’re in the wrong place). If you’re not sure where the yacht or office is, if you have the opportunity then take a wander down there the day before to do a recce. Helps get rid of nerves too.
Take your certificates, refs and CV with you. Get yourself a nice folder to keep them all smart and presentable. Don’t leave them in a pub somewhere either!
Make sure your phone is on and you have the person you’re meeting’s details (name, phone number, yacht name, berth number etc.) in case you can’t get in to the marina/building or get lost, or they’re not there.
Remember to put your phone on silent when you start the interview, and put it away. If it’s on the table and your bestie calls, that picture you assigned to them on Friday night down the pub is going to start flashing up… silent or not, do you want your employer to see your mate with three sparklers up his nose? Save that for when you’ve got the job and you’re in the crew mess.
Be smart, and clean. If you’re coming directly from work and you’re messy, take a clean shirt in your bag and apologise when you arrive to point out you wouldn’t normally turn up for an interview looking like you got splatterbombed in a paintball match. It’s ok, we understand.
Pay attention, listen, and ask intelligent questions (see below), and it’s not a bad thing to refer to a few notes either. Speak when spoken to and be engaging without dominating the conversation and not letting the interviewer get a word in.
Prior research. Google the yacht, find out everything you can. And google the captain; do your homework. Or the head of department you’re meeting. Linked In is a good resource for researching their backgrounds and seeing the yachts they have worked on – might give you a better idea of what they expect from you.
Make a good first impression; eye contact, firm handshake. Do not offer a soggy limp lettuce leaf – male or female this is not a good start. If you’re unsure of your handshake then seriously, try it out on a couple of mates. Firm but not knuckle breaking please. Don’t forget to smile either!
Be confident in yourself, your experience and your ability. A good way to avoid sounding arrogant is to start sentences with things like: “my last captain said he felt completely comfortable …” or “I’d like to think I’m ….” You can site what your references said. Then you don’t feel like you’re sat there bleating “I’m awesome!” even though you are….
Be careful what you say. If, for example, you left your last position because you couldn’t stand your old employer then be diplomatic. Good phrases to use include “difference in opinions” or “different ways of working that sometimes weren’t complimentary”. Channel your inner politician…. Always try to make negatives into positives.
Be late. If something unavoidable happens, call them and let them know, don’t leave people hanging, they probably have other people to see too.
Drink too much coffee beforehand; you’ll be buzzing and probably come across as a bit crazy.
Turn up hungover/still drunk/smelling of booze/cigarettes/old wet dogs (you get the picture). Having to terminate an interview after five minutes due to the crew member having to vomit in my office’s bathroom has gone down in EL CREW CO legend for all the wrong reasons.
Arrive on a skateboard and then ask if you can bring it on board/into the office. Captains have been known to break them up for firewood or accidentally knock them into the water.
Order anything alcoholic. Even if they do.
Light up a fag. Or chew gum.
Yawn, burp, fart or make any sort of noise that doesn’t constitute a polite response in civilised conversations. This includes the use of words such as “bru” “mate” “geezer” “whatevs” “dude” “sick” and so on and so forth.
Try to hit on your interviewee. Even if he/she is incredibly hot. And appears to making the moves on you. If your interviewer is doing this, you don’t want that job.
Hold hands with your partner if interviewing for a team position. Similarly, don’t finish each other’s sentences, gaze at each other, stroke legs etc. This just makes the interviewee feel like they’re participating in a bit of a peep show. Remember you are individuals and save the PDAs for private time.
Turn up with your mum. I hope, seriously, I don’t need to explain why this is a bad idea.
Assume you know more than the person interviewing you; this includes talking over them.
Undersell yourself. Be confident and breezy! If you’re asked one of my favourite questions: “You’ve told me your strengths, now tell me your weaknesses” you need to focus on the positive as I mentioned earlier. Instead of saying “I suck at making sushi” you say “I’ve not had much experience preparing sushi yet but I’ve been practicing and hope to try out some new ideas with the crew on my next yacht.” Instead of “I can’t drive a jet boat.” Say, “I’ve not had much drive time yet on jet boats but I’m really keen to learn. Hopefully my experience on the other tenders I’ve been in charge with will help, as I feel pretty confident in my general boat handling skills.” See what I mean? Put that positive spin on things and as I said before – channel that inner politician.
When applying for jobs:
Read the ad carefully. If an ad states “MUST” then that’s non negotiable. If you don’t have the stated minimum qualification then don’t apply. If you’re unsure, write a polite message to the job poster to ask if your qualification/experience would be considered. Then thank them for their time.
Don’t blanket apply to every single job on an agent’s website in order to get noticed. You’ll succeed in getting noticed but you’ll be overlooked as you clearly have an issue with following instructions.
Don’t offer to work for free. Ever. This is a professional, and luxury industry. Other crew will not welcome your tactics and this behaviour only drives salaries down. If you want bargain bucket salaries, go work at a fast food joint.