If you’re ready to line up your next contract and are currently looking for seafarer jobs, you might also have been invited to an interview. No matter whether it’s your 2nd, 20th or 200th (or so it might feel like!) interview, it never hurts to brush up on your technique and give yourself a greater chance of winning those jobs in the shipping industry that you really want.
With that in mind, we’ve put together some tips and tricks for things that you really should avoid if you want to nail that interview rather than blow it!
5 mistakes you must avoid at an interview for seafarer jobs
1. Not being prepared
If your interview is taking place in the shipping company, manning agency, or maritime recruitment agency’s office, make sure you know where it is and how to get there. It sounds obvious but if you’re making an unfamiliar journey and if you don’t plan your route and work out how long it’s going to take you to get there, you could wind up being late for your interview.
This will annoy your interviewer and make you look like you’re not serious about the job. Even worse, they might refuse to see you - especially if they have other seafarers scheduled for interviews on the same day.
The solution: If you can, do a trial run of the route beforehand. If you can’t do that, at least check Google Maps out and figure out your journey and/or transport in advance to see approximately how long it will take.
2. Not doing your homework
One thing that will always set the red flags flying for a potential employer is having a candidate who turns up to an interview and doesn’t know anything about the company they’ve applied for a job with. It’s true that seafarer jobs in the shipping industry are more often than not short term contracts but that’s still no reason not to make the effort.
Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes: would you want to hire a candidate who shows no interest in impressing you? It might “only” be a six month contract you’re hoping to get, but if knowing something about the company you’re applying to gives you the edge over the eight other candidates you’re up against, why not take ten minutes to do a quick spot of research?
The solution: It’s back to good old Google (or your preferred internet search engine!): check out the company’s website and take a look at their social media accounts. For example, Martide’s LinkedIn page should tell you everything you need to know about the company in just a couple of clicks!
3. Not dressing to impress
Okay, we know that you’re applying for seafarer jobs and not a position in the fashion industry but it doesn’t hurt to be well turned out. We’re not suggested you need to wear a suit and tie, but it doesn’t hurt to turn up looking neat and tidy. It shows respect for the company and makes a good impression.
Interviewing on Skype? The same rule applies. Just because you’re on camera and in the comfort of your own home doesn’t mean you can rock up for an online interview wearing your pajamas!
The solution: For the gents, a pair of pants, a clean shirt, and some smart shoes should do the trick. For the ladies, a smart but casual skirt or pants, a blouse, and office-style heels or flats should also work. The basic rule of thumb? Leave the sweatpants and sneakers in your closet for today!
4. Not selling yourself
Most of us aren’t comfortable with ‘blowing our own trumpets’. But while nobody likes a bighead, don’t forget that your interview is your time to shine. This is your opportunity to make a potential employer see why they should choose you over all the other seafarers applying for their jobs at sea. Don’t blow it by being too modest.
The solution: Bear in mind that while, yes, no one wants to employ an overbearing show off, if you come across like a shy little mouse in your interview, the interviewer probably isn’t even going to remember you, let alone hire you! You don’t need to bang on about what a great person you are, but do make sure you talk about your skills, qualifications, experience and achievements.
5. Overselling yourself - with falsehoods
So, everything we said above still stands, but don’t give in to the temptation to embellish the truth. In the maritime industry it’s crucial that you hold the qualifications and have the experience that you say you do, and it won’t be difficult for an interviewer to catch you out if you’ve lied.
There’s a reason you need to have the right skills and qualifications for the seafarer jobs you apply for. Stretching the truth about them won’t do your career any favors in the long term.
The solution: It just comes down to being honest. Simple as that. If you think you’re lacking in some areas, take a good look at your experience and see if there’s anything you can use (honestly!) to fill in the gaps. A prospective employer would also much rather you be truthful and say you might not have a particular skill but are willing to learn, rather than lie about it.
So there you have 5 things you should really avoid doing in an interview. Want to find out 4 more real no-nos for when interviewing for seafarer jobs? Check out the second article in this series to really help you nail that contract!
Looking for jobs in the shipping industry? Look no further.
If you’re looking for your next contract, take a look at Martide’s vacant seafarer jobs and see if we have something you’re interested in and qualified for.
You can also download the Martide mobile app which is your easiest and quickest route to finding jobs in the shipping industry. It’s completely free and available from The iTunes App Store and Google Play.
Once you’ve found a job that you like the look of, register a free account with Martide, create your profile and apply for as many jobs as you like.
And then we look forward to seeing you onboard soon!