Working in maritime recruitment you’re probably no stranger to phone or video interviews. It goes without saying that they’re a far quicker, easier and cheaper way of talking to potential seafarer candidates than in-person interviews when you’re based in different cities or even countries.
Whether you’re new to recruitment and interviewing, you’re making the switch from phone interviews to video interviews, or you just feel that some of your hiring team could do with a refresher course, we’ve written this blog post as a guide to successful online maritime recruitment interviews.
How to host an online maritime recruitment interview
No matter whether you have years of video interview experience under your belt or this is a new thing for you, it is always good to be prepared.
Of course, in any interview you need to be ready and know what you’re going to say but online or video interviews can come with a set of challenges of their own. And the last thing you want to do is to come across as unprepared or unprofessional, especially in such a niche industry where word will probably get out and spread pretty quickly if your interviews are a complete disaster!
With that in mind, here are some tips to help you win at video interviews.
1. Put together a process
It’s well worth writing down and formalizing your online interview process. Similar to the way you would write an onboarding or new hire checklist, just make sure you’ve got every step written down and then checked off before you start the interview.
For example, is there anything your candidate needs to do before the interview? Any seafarer documents you want to see copies of first? An English Test to be completed before you consider them for the position? Do you have a Plan B if the internet connection is poor or fails completely?
2. Road test your equipment and software
Talking of bad internet connections, you need to make sure your technology helps you conduct a successful maritime recruitment interview. Whichever video conferencing application you’re using (Skype, Zoom, Google Meet etc.) you need to make sure you know your way around it. For example how to mute yourself, how to screen share, how to turn the video on and how to use the written chat function, if there is one.
Also make sure the candidate knows which platform you’re using well in advance of the interview and check to see whether or not they need any login credentials so that they can join the conversation.
3. Give your candidates plenty of notice
Any candidate worth their salt will want to have a chance to prepare for the interview. As mentioned above, send them an interview invitation email telling them which platform they’ll be talking to you on - they may need to download it and might want to familiarize themselves with it. And let them know what, if anything, you expect them to bring to the interview or send you in advance.
It’s also important to clearly spell out the time of the interview - especially given that your seafarer candidate may be in a different time zone.
For more about writing maritime recruitment interview emails, check out these blog posts:
- How to Write Engaging Candidate Sourcing Emails in Maritime Recruitment
- How to Write Receipt of Application Emails in Maritime Recruitment
- How to Write Phone Interview Invitation Emails in Maritime Recruitment
- How to Write Interview Invitation Emails in Maritime Recruitment
- How to Write Job Offer Emails in Maritime Recruitment
- How to Write Candidate Rejection Emails in Maritime Recruitment
The above three tips for online interviews were all pre-interview pointers. But what about during the interview itself? Let’s take a look at 5 more best practice ideas for when your online seafarer job interview is under way.
5 tips for better online maritime job interviews
1. Dress as you would for an in-person interview
This is more of a tip for people who might be working from home. If you’re in the office, you’ll no doubt be dressed in your normal, smart work attire. However, if you’re not actually in your place of work, remember that you will need to get changed if you’re currently in sweatpants and an old t-shirt!
2. Watch your body language
It can be somewhat easier to appear less businesslike when you’re interviewing online and not in person. For some reason that screen can make all the difference! And not in a good way.
You really need to watch your body language so make sure your posture is good, you’re maintaining eye contact, you’re nodding to show you’re listening, and you’re smiling at the (probably nervous) candidate on the other side of the screen!
3. Understand that the unexpected can happen
You’re probably hosting the interview from a quiet area of your office or from a meeting room. Your seafarer candidate is most likely to be at home. It’s not great interviewing someone to a backdrop of barking dog noise or being interrupted by small children who suddenly pop up out of nowhere, but these things happen.
Yes, in an ideal world, your candidate would have eliminated the chance of noise or interruptions, but don’t be too hard on them in the event there’s a temporary distraction.
4. Minimize disruption on your end too
While we’re on the subject of interruptions, make sure that you do your candidate the courtesy of giving them your undivided attention too. No matter how busy you are - and we get it, maritime recruitment and crew planning are a constant blur of things to do and problems to solve - remember that your laptop’s speakers will magnify noises.
That means turning off any notifications on your computer that might ping and silencing your phone.
5. Arrive to the interview early
Join the interview 5 minutes before the allotted time. You don’t need to sit there rigidly and wait - turn the video function off until the interview is about to start so you can carry on with work, or prepping your interview notes. It just means that when the candidate arrives in the chat, they won’t be left wondering if they’ve got the time wrong or have followed the wrong link.
And there we have it, some handy tips for conducting maritime job interviews online.
Looking for an easier way to source seafarers?
If you’re a small to medium-sized shipping company or you’re a manning agent and you’re looking for a better way to source seafarers, schedule interviews, track applicants, check documents and visas, and ultimately, get contracts signed and crew onto your vessels, talk to Martide.
Our software as a service solution has been created with you in mind and we specialize in pulling all the different aspects of maritime recruitment and crew planning together.
What that means for you is that all of your teams are on the same page, you’ll have access to a global talent pool of seafarers, your job ads will be front and center of far more potential candidates and your life will just be so much less stressful!