Crew Life » Career & Training » The 5 Ps: How to Preparing for an Important Job Interview

The 5 Ps: How to Preparing for an Important Job Interview

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What are the 5 P's? Perfect preparation prevents poor performance! (Some people even like to add another P-word in before ‘Poor’ for extra emphasis, but anyway you get my point). The only time it is ever acceptable not to prepare properly for a job interview is when you don’t really care whether you get the job or not... i.e. If do you want to actually be in the running to get the job, you really must prepare properly for the interview!

Being well prepared will ensure you come across as the great candidate you really are, reassuring the interviewer that you are composed, confident and competent, with a calm and unflappable nature. In other words it will help you sell yourself, not just with what you say, but with how you are.

Here are my top 8 tips to ensure you prepare perfectly for interviews every time!

  1. Make sure you are absolutely clear on how to get to the location of the interview, where it is and exactly what time you are expected. Don’t be afraid to double check this as it is professional to confirm details like this. If you are travelling by public transport make sure you check timetables well in advance and aim to catch an earlier bus or train than you actually need to, just in case there is a delay. Have a plan B in place for if there is a strike or another problem that delays you. If driving allow yourself at least an additional 45 minutes to an hour on top of the normal time it takes to get there, which will give you plenty of time to find a park and allow for any unforeseen traffic issues. If you can afford it, I highly recommend getting a taxi right to the venue. This way you are more likely to arrive cool, calm and collected without having had to run or walk too far. If you are very early find somewhere else to wait and then present yourself at the agreed venue around 10 minutes prior to your appointment time.

  2. Find out what format the interview will take, and most importantly, who is interviewing you. Is it the captain or head of department, or both? And what is their process, will they be doing first and second round interviews or is this your one and only shot?

  3. Find out as much as you can about the yacht itself by asking a few trusted sources. What is their reputation, their program and in particular what’s the word on the street about crew turnover onboard? Don’t make any judgments based on what you hear, but being informed will help you ask the right questions and enable you to form a balanced opinion.

  4. Prepare answers for the most common interview questions – I’ll cover this in more detail in another blog post but obviously you need as a minimum to be prepared to answer that pesky old standard question: “So, tell me about yourself” with polished professionalism and confidence.

  5. Prepare your documents and bring with you a neatly presented folder or book containing all the originals of your certificates, references and two or three fresh copies of your current CV, in case there are extra people present in the interview who don’t have a copy in front of them. Make sure you have a copy for yourself as you will need to refer to it in your interview (see point 6).

  6. Having thought about the kind of impression you want to make (from last week’s article) and what they are looking for in you, go through your CV and think of examples you’ll be able to use, to illustrate times when you demonstrated the skills and qualities they are looking for.

  7. Prepare two or three questions to ask at the end of the interview, when they ask that dreaded question “So, do you have any questions for us”? This makes you look more professional and shows them you have prepared well for the interview.

  8. Lay out your clothes the night before and make sure you are all set to get up and go on the day. If the interview is early, set at least two alarms and if you’re at any risk of sleeping in, enlist a friend to call you as a backup to make sure you are on your way (and give you a moral support boost at the same time!)

Do you have any other interview preparation tips you'd like to share with us? 


Alison Rentoul is ex yacht crew with 15 years of yachting experience, and a professionally trained personal development coach working with crew worldwide, helping them realise their highest potential at every level. See for more information.


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