Personal interview

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Preparing for the interview.

The first thing you should understand, is that the interview is more useful for the applicant, as this is a brilliant opportunity to show your skills to the employer or a crewing agency.

Preparation is important in any task, and the personal interview for a position is not an exclusion. Collect some information about the potential employer and/or the crewing agency, as it might happen that you will be interviewed by both crewing agency and ship owner simultaneously, and in this case you will be able not only tell them about you, but also to show your high interest in the job and the company.

You should also undestand that you, as well as any other crew member, will be trusted with a ship, which costs many millions of USD, so  you should look reliable, responsible and confident in what you do. Do your best to show these qualities.

It is essential to be prepared to answer the questions, which will be asked by the interviewers. Compile a list of questions and answers, both in Russian and English. Give brief answers, get rid of the so-called «garbage words», not to be confused during the interview. Read them in voice every day or learn them by heart.

Below you can see the groups of questions, which might be asked on an interview:

1)      Personal information (place of birth, family, interests, etc.).

2)      Education information (any universities, institutes or colleges where you studied, the date of graduation, etc.).

3)      Specific professional questions (depending on the position you apply for, the first mate, the third mate and an engineer or a machinist are asked different questions, what responsibilities you will have to perform).  

4)      Work experience (what classes of vessels did you work at, how long is your work experience in this field, what were you responsible for, what types of cargoes did your vessel shipped, what crewing agencies did you use, etc.).

5)      Motivation (size of your desired salary, working conditions, the reason you left the latest work place, why do you desire to work in this particular company, etc.).

6)      Recomendations and references (do you have any references from the previous employers?).

Motivation questions are very important. Try not to be the first one to give the amount of money you would like to get as a salary, let your interviewer name it. Frankly answer the questions about the reasons why you left the latest employer, try not to spoil the professional reputation of your employers, do not criticize them even if they infringed you in something.

Remember that all the information, which you tell in the interview can be checked.

Besides the answers, prepare the questions, which you would like to ask your potential employer.

The interviews might be held by phone, by Skype or in person in the company office. And every format has its own requirements for preparation.

Interview in the company office.

1.       Pay attention to your appearance and look. It is highly preferable to wear some clothes very close to the official style, that is why do not use bright colours and casual or slack style clothes. You should look neately, the perfume should be gentle.

2.       Come to the interview in advance (to have enough time to take your breath and get used to the ambience), but not too early (not to make problems to the employer).

3.       Take all the necessary documents, confirming your qualification with you. It is easier to use a document folder to be able to find everything fast when they ask you.

4.       Be prepared to pass English tests (Marlins or CES). That is why practice them at home in advance, you can find them on the Internet. It might also happen that a company representative will test your English right on the interview.

5.       Also be prepared to pass an expert knowlege test (Delta or SETS 6000). You would also need to do some homework in this case and then a company representative will test you.

Phone interview.

1.       When the potential employer calls you, find a comfortable place for a phone talk, where it will be convenient and silent.

2.       Be ready that you will be interviewed by a company official. Take advantage of this format: ask questions and use your notes.

Skype interview.

1.       Prepare a quiet place, where you will take a video-conference call: it is better to use a neutral background, it should be quiet in the room, no noizes or sound that would distract you from the talk, ask your relatives not to disturb you during the interview.

2.       Take care of your look in the same way you would do on a person-to-person interview in the company office.

3.       Check how Skype app works, whether the connection is good, take time to register if you still don't have a Skype account.

4.       Be ready to speak steadily, clearly, distinctly and confidently. Do not interrupt your partner and do not allow too long pauses.

Hybrid or the so called integrated interviews are more and more frequent nowadays, that is why be ready that your expertise and skills will be tested by different people both by phone, Skype and in person. Serious companies are interested in finding reliable employees, that is why they spend a lot of time for interviews.

Interview procedures differ in different companies. When interviewing junior shipboard personnel, basic knowledge of navigation and fluency of English are tested most frequently. That is why, if you apply for such positions, besides the questions indicated above you should be prepared to answer the questions regarding sea terms and nautical vocabulary, your day-to-day work onboard the ship, boat and raft lowering, your activities in case of emergency, navigation, celestial navigation, ship stability, safety levels on ISP code.

Do not get too upset about the fluency of your English on the interview. Just train yourself to convey an idea. At sea, you'll be required to understand instructions and comands, explain your actions and responsibilities.

Active approach and self-confidence will help you follow an interview successfully.