Crew Coach: by Capt. Rob Gannon
Recently I saw an ad for a television program that shows job interviews. I haven’t watched it, and don’t think I will, but I thought it an interesting, kind of weird idea for a show. I guess the show’s producers are banking on our common experience in going through the interview process and that, for some reason, we will want to see the uncomfortable moments of others. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have been on both sides of the process for nearly 40 years of a working life and would like to share some observations that hopefully may help someone along the way.
I understand some of these tips may seem a bit obvious to some, but at the same time, I’m still amazed at how some basics of the drill are not. So let’s look at four areas in the interview process that, if handled well, will probably result in a good experience.
Punctuality. I believe there are only two choices here: being right on time or just a little early. We all know late is not good, but we can recover from being a little late if we do well with the rest of the areas I’m going to get to. Remember, just a little early is OK – and by that, I mean five or 10 minutes max. Showing up at 8:15 for a 9:00 interview usually is not the best idea. Too often the person interviewing may not be ready or available, which leads to awkwardly hanging around, or leaving and coming back later. Nothing really good accomplished there. Being that early doesn’t really show a positive eagerness; it tends to leave the interviewer questioning our approach and whether we listen and follow simple agreements. Bottom line: Show up right on time or five minutes early and all is good.
Anxiousness and nerves. It’s OK to feel and even show that you are a little nervous. I find that more appealing and real than someone trying to be too cool and relaxed. Being a little anxious shows this means something and is important to us. As an interviewer, I would much rather see someone sitting up straight and making good eye contact, and yes, maybe being a little nervous, than Mr. or Ms. Too Cool for School. It’s about being ourselves, and if we feel a little nervous, feel it, remember to breathe and carry on. Remember that a little nervousness is to be expected and will be respected.
Honesty. I know this one seems like a no-brainer, but I believe it is violated way too often. Please don’t embellish or outright lie on your CV. This really has a way of coming around to bite anyone who decides to go there. We can get help with CV prep or write it ourselves, but either way, limited or seemingly unrelated experience should be presented in an honest way that connects it to our desired position. A good, honest presentation can go a long way. It may turn out that the interviewer is looking for a more experienced candidate. That’s OK, it happens. At least our best foot was put forward and we may be remembered down the road as a solid character with potential. Leaving a good impression is great groundwork for our future.
Compatibility. This might sound initially as an odd one to add here, but think about it; if you’re applying for a position on a yacht, this really becomes important. The job requires working and possibly living aboard in close quarters. In the typical shoreside 9-to-5 job, it can be tough to spend eight hours with differing personalities, but a live-aboard yacht position takes that to a whole other level. A captain interviewing someone to join a crew will be looking at compatibility. Will you fit in, or will it be a rough mix. We want to come off as easy to be around and to deal with. I believe if you have the skills needed and a real willingness to learn and grow, along with an attractive personality, that’s the package right there. Go for it.
I believe if someone can do well in these four areas of the interview process, it’s a good recipe for a successful and positive outcome. It doesn’t mean we are always going to be hired, but we have put our best selves out there and that’s the best way forward.
Enjoy the voyage.
Capt. Rob Gannon is a 30-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach (www.yachtcrewcoach.com). Comments are welcome below.