5 important questions for crew

Interview questions you should be able to answer confidently. 

It’s March and hiring for the Med season is starting to pick up. Below is a series of important questions for crew. I hope it proves helpful to all job seekers out there whether they are looking for positions on Pocket Superyachts or any other yacht!

What is your salary expectation?

When either the interviewer or the interviewee brings this topic up too early on in the conversation, it’s not a good sign. The candidates have to understand what is expected of them first. They need to have an idea of the workload as well as the potential perks that come with the particular position. And, the employer has to understand the potential value the candidate can offer. Even if both have a fixed figure in mind.

So your salary expectation should be fair, dependent on the work regime and in relation to market rates. Perhaps you’d like to learn more about the job before naming a figure. Green crew shouldn’t care too much about the money. It has to be fair, but gaining the right experience and then proving their value (to renegotiate the money at a later stage) should be their first concern.

Why is your CV lacking longevity?

It could be a series of seasonal contracts. In that case, you should really be able to present (at least) written references from all of these contracts. If something went wrong somewhere, then be honest about it and aim to own up to the responsibility you had in it. Then add clearly what you learned from it. Perhaps you know now why you shouldn’t have taken the job.

Perhaps you made an honest mistake and the interviewer has a higher fault tolerance than your former employer. In any case, you should make sure that the stories add up and don’t raise further suspicion.

What did you dislike about previous jobs? (Or any other question about negative situations in the past.)

When you are being interviewed, the aim is not to convince the interviewer and get the job. The aim is to convince the interviewer as well as yourself!

This question raises the opportunity to explain how you have been rubbed the wrong way in the past. Remember that, what works for you might not work for someone else and vice versa. Your new employer has yet to find out what doesn’t work for you. If the interviewer is an agent you can only hope that they take this info back to the employer. An example of an answer could be; “On yacht XYZ I felt I was being micromanaged by the owner. I thrive on the responsibility the job offers and in this setup I couldn’t find a sense of achievement. There was little room to work proactively.” Or, a more personal answer could be: “On yacht XYZ the owner who was a heavy smoker kept throwing his cigarette buds over the side even after I asked him politely not to do that.” Or: “On yacht XYZ the owners were partying every day with loud music until the early hours, that’s just not for me.”

This is a good time to establish one or two things you don’t like so you won’t have to endure them if you are still “a good fit” for the job.

Why are you applying for this job?

This question is an opportunity to find out if your expectations about the job are aligned with the employer’s. It’s safe to start with “If I’m understanding correctly…” and then continue to name the things that attracted you to the job offer: the yacht type, the cruising plans, the activities the owners are into… It’s good to explain how the job fits into your life and future plans. Perhaps the yacht travels a lot and that is exactly what you want to do. Or, the opposite, the yacht’s downtime is spent where you would like to be (e.g. close to family). You could add that the salary is attractive but I would personally not mention remuneration as a reason to apply for the job. It should never be your main motivation anyway. If money is the biggest motivator you won’t last long. That would mean that the money is making up for the things you’d have to “endure” day in and out. It won’t.

What are your weaknesses?

It’s not a trick question. Also, you shouldn’t say that you don’t have any because that is downright worrying and it would mean the end of the interview (for me). Also don’t say “…That I’m a perfectionist” That’s so 2010’s…

No, this is an opportunity to show that you know what the owner wants. Show that you don’t run away from the responsibility but that you look for an external solution. For example, if your weakness is administration you could mention that confidently and explain how you’ve had help with it in the past or how you always work around it.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Another classic question! I still ask this with every interview. I’m not waiting to hear someone to lie to me and say that they hope to still be at the job I have on offer. This is about character, getting to know the person. Are they ambitious? Do they adventurously live from day to day? Does their five-year plan reveal a motivation to take this job and does that motivation suit -or interfere with- my client’s requirements?

What are your strengths?

“Under-promise and over-deliver” is any company’s best policy towards client retention. So don’t start out over-selling yourself because very soon you will be working under the hot, beating sun and time pressure, expected to deliver what you promised.

What is your vision of how my yacht should be run? 

By the time you sign the contract you should know how the owner wants their yacht to be managed. So when you’re asked this question, you could turn it around and throw the question back at the owner. However, this is also an opportunity to explain in which professional conditions you thrive. Perhaps you like to work for owners who are very involved and with whom you can build a personal relationship. Or perhaps you want to work in a professionalised framework and involve Invisible Crew to help you deal with all the operations behind the scenes so your client can enjoy worry-free ownership?


On a final note; I sincerely hope that you can secure the job that you chose and not the job that chose you. Be a little bit picky beforehand so you can fully commit once the contract is signed!

Jens Oomes