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What NOT to Do in a Crew Job Interview

Jul 10th 08
By Kelly Sanford

Crew shortage or not, captains and owners have noticed that many crew behave totally inappropriately during an interview.


The pressure of a job interview can be unnerving. Sitting face to face with an owner or captain who has the power to decide whether you are suitable for a job that you really want can make even the most qualified candidates feel a little awkward. But discomfort is no excuse for lack of courtesy, unprofessional or bad behavior.


The following is a list of common mistakes candidates make when interviewing for a job.


Let other obligations supercede the interview: First impressions are everything as the decision not to hire often occurs in the first few minutes. Don’t be late, make sure you’re properly groomed and don’t show up in attire that is not expressly chosen for the interview. Definitely do not schedule yourself in a way that you may have to rush the interviewer because you have other obligations.


Forget to make a proper introduction: Be sure you do not forget to shake the interviewer’s hand, look that person in the eye and say, “I’m [insert your name here], thanks for taking the time to meet with me.”


Bash your former boss: Even if your last boss was a real piece of something, never treat an interview as a venting session. It makes you look bitter and difficult. If asked to explain why you left your last job and the reason is because of a boss or co-worker, try to keep your remarks positive and philosophical. There is often no need to elaborate any more than, “It just was not the right fit.”


Use slang and street lingo: Resist the temptation to use the same vernacular that you would use with your peers. No matter how the interviewer speaks, use no expletives. Try not to use works like “awesome” “sweet” and “cool.” And even if the captain interviewing you looks young and hip, don’t call him “dude;” it shows an utter lack of respect for his position and disregard for propriety.


Make lots of demands: Don’t walk into an interview with a list of requirements and obligations. If you have a cousin who’s getting married in two months, that’s a topic that needs to be approached after the job is offered to you. Likewise, negotiating things like raises, perks and bonuses is totally inappropriate during an initial interview. Making demands before the job is even offered to you is always a mistake.


Lie, lie, lie: Don’t say anything that’s not true. It will eventually bite you -- if not right away, it will down the road. Don’t claim to hold a license or certification unless you physically possess it. Getting caught in a lie calls into doubt the validity of everything else you say and eliminates your prospects for the job. If you cannot get the job on your own merits, then the job quite simply is not for you.


On any yacht there will be a reasonable expectation for the observation of a proper chain of command, which means that crew should show the utmost respect for those in a position to hire them.


In order to get those jobs on the yachts with the best reputations, be sure to step aboard with your best foot forward.


Do you have any job interview tips or nightmares to share? Any stories about great interviews or unbelievable unprofessionalism? Let us know. Leave your comments below and be sure to vote in our interactive poll.




Tags: Essentials Careers 

Rating  Average 3.5 out of 5

  • Any employer (captain or owner) who is only willing to set aside 15 minutes over the phone is unlikely to be looking for a long term crew member. If an employer is not willing to offer a proper interview, then I would not hold out high expectations for that job.
    Too many interviewers are not checking for qualifications and's like they just want to make sure you have a pulse, and this is probably because the person you will be replacing left the boat bitterly. I stand by the article as written. Priority one should always be whether the job is a good match. If you think the interview is about finding the best perks and pay, then don't be surprized if you end up accepting a job you hate.
    Posted by Kelly_1 16/07/2008 20:25:35

  • "Likewise, negotiating things like raises, perks and bonuses is totally inappropriate during an initial interview. Making demands before the job is even offered to you is always a mistake."
    I somewhat disagree with this. Often in yachting, there IS only one interview. Things happen very fast. Especially for a freelance gig. There are many types of interviews in yachting. A long term position may require 3-4 meetings to land a job and a freelance gig may consist of 15 minutes with the captain over the phone. While you don’t want to be demanding, a very clear understanding of what is being expected of you, and what the rewards are, is very important. In the past, I have overlooked nailing down some very important aspects of the job, only to find that they changed the entire dynamics so much that the position became less than a perfect match.
    For example…I have thought I found a dream chefs job, then a short time into it found out that I would be expected to pull a 4 hour watch in addition to my 15-16 hour work day. If it was a genuine emergancy, no problem! But, thinking this is going to happen on a regular basis isnt going to fly with me. A great example of a very tiny detail that can be a deal breaker. That being said… if you are interviewing for a long term position and in a situation where the hiring process will consist of a few meetings, then no, you don’t want to dwell on all the details at first, and come off like some Prima Donna. Too many crew (Especially Captains) jump on a boat and dont know if they will EVER even get a day off before they quit. That is sad, and leads to higher crew turnover in the end. There isn’t another industry out there that expects their workers to be as flexible and committed as in the yachting industry, and to make it work, everyone has to be as aware as possible of what they are getting themselves into, and what is expected of them.
    Posted by Chef Mark Lohmann 16/07/2008 08:52:48

  • Great Tips...Let's see more usable advice. Everday should be a learning experience, even if you learn only 1 thing that day.
    Posted by Captain Kirk 11/07/2008 18:58:49

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