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How to prepare for a yacht job interview

Whether you are applying for an entry-level position or a more senior role, a yacht interview is a crucial step towards your next yacht job.

How to Prepare for a Yacht Job Interview

Are you ready to find your new dream job on board a yacht?

Become a member of YPI CREW and connect with our recruiters so they can guide you through your job search and secure you your next yachting adventure.

 

Each of our recruiters is specialised in crew placement for a particular department and they will do their best to get you an interview on board a yacht. They will also advise you on how to best present your experience and skills and prepare for a yacht job interview.

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What to wear to a yacht interview?

Generally speaking, the professional yacht crew attire is a clean and crisp polo t-shirt or a shirt paired with black, navy or beige plain shorts or a skirt. But if you don’t have anything like that in your closet, don’t despair. Pick something similar and just make sure it’s clean, neat and presentable. 

This goes both for the interview you will have onboard the yacht as well as the interview with your recruiter at the crew recruitment agency.

For our female crew,  if you are wearing a skirt, make sure that it's not too short and avoid wearing too much makeup or dangly, ornate jewellery.

For our male crew, be well groomed. Clean shaven is always preferred.

Whatever you do don’t go out drinking the night before your interview. We have seen too many crew coming to their interview after a night out, smelling of alcohol, and, sufficient to say, they usually get sent away from the interview. Having fun and getting into the yacht crew lifestyle is completely fine but when it comes to work, you must be ready to assume the most professional attitude.

It should also go without saying that you should never smoke or chew gum during an interview.

The general rule of thumb is that preparation is key and you can never be over-prepared. To make things easier, we have broken down the things you need to know about the interview process in order to help you recognise what to focus on. 

Every interview will be slightly different depending on the role you are applying for, your seniority and the culture of that specific yacht but what we are offering here is a general set of rules and good practices that will surely get you far. 

1. Research the yacht

A really good tip when preparing for a yacht interview is to learn about the yacht before coming. This helps give you more confidence walking in and it shows the interviewer you are a professional who has done their homework. 

Before you come also make sure you know the full name and title of the individual you are to meet with. Are you interviewing with the owner, Captain or one of the Heads of the Department? Keep that in mind and try to use their name in your communication with them. This will help you build better rapport.

2. Make sure you know your CV well

As a candidate, you should know your resume like the back of your hand. Think about how your skills and experience can help the yacht run more smoothly. It is your responsibility to inspire confidence in the interviewer that you can excel in the job. Show them that you are exactly what they need and that you are enthusiastic about the job.

3. Be punctual

This seems like an obvious one but, during our years as yacht crew recruiters, we have seen crew be unapologetically late or even not show up at all. When an owner, Captain, Head of the Department or a recruitment agent allocates a time to interview you, you have to be respectful, show professionalism and ensure you are ready and on time for the interview. 

Generally, it’s always recommended to be a few minutes ahead of the scheduled time. This allows you to reduce stress and haste, to take a deep breath and collect yourself before walking into an interview. 

This rule applies to both in person interviews and Zoom yacht interviews. If you are doing an interview through Zoom or Skype make sure you log in a few minutes early and wait readily for your interviewer. 

4. Be respectful

Remember that you are interviewing with a person who will be your superior and whose direction you will have to follow, so be sure to be respectful and mindful of the language you use. Under no circumstances address them as ‘mate’ or ‘buddy’. Your superiors have earned their rank and should be treated with respect. Hierarchy is very important in yachting so you have to show that you understand that and that you are prepared to assume your position.

When walking in, greet the interviewer, extend a firm handshake, introduce yourself and don’t forget to make eye contact during your conversation. 

Apart from showing respect to your future Captain or Head of Department, it’s a good practice to also never speak negatively about past employers or peers. It shows good taste to keep a professional and positive tone and not to dwell on the past injustices or people you didn’t get along with. Your future captain will certainly not think more of you if you talk poorly about your former one.

5. Prepare for the common interview questions

While all yacht crew interviews will vary slightly, many captains are likely to ask some similar interview questions, designed so that he or she can better understand your skills and experience and why you will be a good fit for the vacant crew position.

 

Some common questions typically asked in an interview include:

  • What are your career goals?

  • Why do you want to work on a yacht?

  • What do you like about your current job?

  • Tell me a bit about yourself?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  • What is your greatest achievement?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • Do you have any questions?

Before your yacht crew interview, you should think about how you will appropriately answer these questions. Never say that you want a yacht job simply because you like to travel, or because the job suits your lifestyle. You must connect with the interviewer’s needs, not yours. Consider the needs that they have and make sure that you emphasise how you fit the profile of what they are looking for, drawing on your skills and experience.

If you are asked in your yacht job interview if you have any questions, it’s always a good idea to ask about the crew, the yacht, or perhaps to clarify what your duties will be. You can also ask about possible training and development, which demonstrates your willingness to learn and enthusiasm for the yachting industry.

Before your yacht crew interview, ask your recruiter what specific attributes the captain is looking for or ask them for advice on how to answer common interview questions.

6. Position yourself as the solution to the interviewer’s problem

Remember, your answers should always convey the fact that you are the solution to the interviewer’s recruitment problem and that you have the ideal set of skills and experience they are looking for. 

Let's say you are being interviewed for a Stew position by a Chief Stew. 

The season is about to start so they are looking for someone who can hit the ground running and, during the conversation, the Chief Stew also mentions that the owner is a big fan of cocktails and that they would need someone who has knowledge in that area. This is where you position yourself as the problem solver: “I see it's important for you to get this right and hire someone who learns fast and will make the guests happy. I've actually worked in a very fast paced cocktail bar where I got a good grasp of mixology and learned how to make all standard cocktails as well as a few specials.”

Do you see what has just happened? You have positioned yourself as the solution to Chief Stews main points of worry, thus instantly becoming a candidate of great interest.

7. Convey positive energy and determination

Demonstrating energy, passion, a willingness to learn, and the ability to work as part of a team will always put you in good stead during a yacht job interview. Always make sure you maintain positive body language — stand or sit up straight, never slouch or look disinterested. 


Remember, apart from looking for someone who has the necessary skills, the interviewer will also be looking for someone who they think will fit in with the rest of the crew. Yacht crew work and live together for extended periods, so they want to find someone with a positive, can-do attitude who will get on with the rest of the crew.

8. Be sure to ask questions

Reaching the interview stage of the recruitment process shows that you have done very well and now is the time to seize the opportunity. Asking questions is a great way to show interest and initiative.

Keep in mind that the person interviewing wants you to succeed because they want to fill in the place with a crew member who they can trust and is fit for the job. So, show them just that. 

Ask them what they are looking for in the person they hire? What kind of program does the boat have? What is the culture of the boat like? What’s the best thing about working on this yacht? Are there any specific aspects of the job that you should be aware of? Why has the last person left the job? What is the next step after this call? 

This not only helps you to determine if that particular job is the right fit, but it also conveys to the interviewer that you are serious about your career and are dedicated to the job.

General tips to ace your yacht job interview