At wilsonhalligan we get asked this question a lot, and since we are arranging interviews daily, we do have a fairly good idea of what is expected. Still, we thought it would be interesting to ask those on board directly, specifically chief stewardesses, about what they look for when interviewing candidates.
Here we’ve put together a list of our most asked questions alongside their answers, which we also shared with a group of stewardesses during our most recent ‘Stew Lounge’. Read on to find out more…
How can candidates best prepare for an interview?
Run through practice questions. Confident answers are so important. Most interviewers will ask standard questions that you can find from a Google search. Do your research and find out as much information you can about the boat (size, crew numbers, interior team numbers, owner, program, private/charter etc.) before speaking to the chief stewardess. However, remember that confidentiality is key in this industry, so make it clear that you have done your research without sharing everything that you know about the yacht and the programme.
What are you most looking for when interviewing a candidate?
If you have gotten this far and are scheduled to interview with a chief stew, this is because they like you already, as well as your experience, transferrable skills or references. The interview is more about personality and proving your suitability for the role without being over-confident.
Most interviewers will be impressed with someone who is clearly well prepared, knows about the job, asks the right questions and seems keen and excited to join the programme. Be interested and interesting.
Is there a preference for video or phone interviews?
This had a very varied response. Most yachts, we have found, will begin with a phone call and progress to video interviews. Otherwise you may be asked to share full Iength, current photos or prepare a video to send across after interview.
What questions do you expect candidates to ask?
This point is very important, and you will be surprised how many don’t ask questions. Remember this shows you are interested in this job, not just a job. Never feel bad for asking something that is important for you, it will show that you are thinking about the role and the yacht as a whole (though also be careful that you first question isn’t just about salary, this can be quite off-putting!)
A great question is ‘what expectations do you have from someone that will fill this position?’. Ask what the interviewer is looking for, who will be a good fit for the yacht, and what does the job include that may not be written in the job description.
What are you looking for from an interviewee?
A lot of the yachts we work with will be looking for specific previous experience, on or off a yacht. However that isn’t enough to secure a position, as you know, as in this job role you will be living, working and socialising with your crew members. Therefore self-awareness and intuition are important. Remember, a huge part of working on a yacht is being a good cabin mate, crew member, listener and co-worker. The more aware you are of this and how you interact with the environment around you the better.
A confident, happy, easy going and positive person that would fit in well with the current team is vital to each yacht. Ask questions to learn about the current crew on board to see if you would be a good fit.
A strong work ethic and proof of this is also key - it is possible to teach anyone a job, but it’s extremely difficult to teach a good work ethic and initiative.
What one piece of advice would you give interviewees?
It is SO important to be true to yourself with your answers to the questions, it can be difficult listening to a robot that regurgitates answers they have read online. Just because the job spec specifies someone with confidence, it doesn’t mean you should say that you are if you are in fact super shy. Be honest and answer “I can be quiet at first, but with time become confident once I know the role and I’m comfortable.” Don’t lie about being naturally super confident, it will only catch you out and potentially put you in an environment you wouldn’t be comfortable in anyway.
Follow my energy; if an interviewer is very formal then it makes sense to match this, if they are not then let them guide you. Keep an open mind and enjoy the process – remember this is an opportunity for you to figure out if this feels right as much as it is for the chief stewardess – they expect a lot from you when you are on board so make sure it is an environment and team that aligns with who you are.
So, there we go - some great advice from those who are the ones hiring. This is just one of the topics shared at our recent Stew Lounge, where we had a current chief steward from a 100m+ yacht present to share his views and advice. Keep an eye on our social media for news on future Stew Lounges where we will be sharing more tips and tricks to help with your career. In the meantime, feel free to contact me directly for any stew related queries.