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This is Part II of our interview with Zest Recruitment, a cruise industry staffing agent. Read Part I of our interview with Zest Recruitment here. The company sources manpower and screens candidates for its cruise line partners.
What advice would you give people to help them prepare for interviews?
Prior to being interviewed candidates should research the company they are applying to. A candidate should know how many ships a company has, what the destinations are and some of the history. One of the most important areas to research is the cruise line company's requirements for the position they are applying for. They should also speak to people, if they know any, who have previously worked in the industry.
Can you describe some fundamental differences between the cruise lines?
Cruise line companies are seeking employees who are able to adapt to the disciplined life onboard a ship. Cruise line companies have very strict safety, environmental, harassment, hygiene and health and safety policies. This includes areas such as smoking, alcohol consumption and even down to grooming. Most cruise lines do not hire employees who fall outside of their strict grooming standards and this includes tattoos and piercings. In addition, due to the very strict safety standards that apply on all Cruise line vessels, the health and mobility of a candidate is scrutinized prior to a position being offered.
What are some common misperceptions people have about working on cruise ships?
The most common misconception is that working on a cruise ship is just another job. This is not the case. Working on a large vessel in close quarters to your fellow employees is more of a lifestyle change. You are not able to go home each day and due to the long hours of work and the high standards that are applied on ships the position becomes, for the duration of your contract, your whole life.
Other misconceptions include the impression that it is a working holiday. This again couldn't be further from the truth. Cruise line employees are probably the hardest working hospitality and tourism employees on the planet. A large ship may produce between fifteen and twenty thousand meals each day of the week. Land based jobs do not have this high volume of food production.
Other information included in this exclusive interview: