Great Lakes Cruise Company Interview

Great Lakes Cruise Company is a division of Conlin Travel and has been operating since 1998. Family owned and run, the Great Lakes Cruise Company offers a variety of cruise ships sailing the Great Lakes, and also offers private charters. Our editors caught up with a senior manager, who explained how to get a job.

About the company.

Great Lakes Cruise Company specializes in offering amazing cruises around the Great Lakes regions and travels to Chicago, Toronto, Quebec City, Montreal, and various other destinations. Our aim is to offer a relaxed yet elegant cruising experience to all those interested in exploring the Great Lakes Region.

How many vessels does your company operate?

We currently have 5 vessels, namely the MV Columbus, Grand Mariner, Yorktown, Grand Caribe, MV Canadian Empress, and the Grand Niagara (which is currently being refurbished so is not available for the 2012 season).

What are some of the common job titles you advertise for?

We require service staff, chefs, engineering and marine crew, captain, and sales and marketing staff.

What are some of the selling points you use to get people onboard to work with your company?

It is interesting work. You meet new people. You get to experience the Great Lakes in the best possible way.

You are a local operator. Do you only hire people from the immediate area or do you occasionally hire people from other areas or even other countries?

Some of our vessels have international staff, but the Canadian Empress for example is purely made up of Canadian staff. We are quite happy to look at candidates from any country.

Do you have a ‘season’ or ‘seasons’ where you’re busiest? Describe the seasonality aspect of your business.

Summer months are probably busier, but are pretty busy all year round.

How many seasonal staff do you typically hire, and for which positions?

It is hard to say how many, but we usually look for service staff more often than other jobs.

Do you have a lot of college kids/students working for you? If yes, then what attracts them to your jobs?

Yes we do. It must be because of the nature of the job. It lets you explore and be away from home (and your studies!) for a while.

If hiring foreigners: what is the process that a non-citizen must go through in order for you to be able to hire them?

You must make sure that you get all the correct documentation and work permits before we are able to hire you.

Describe your perfect candidate. How can someone best make a great first impression with you?

We look for people who epitomize the elegance and comfort that we strive so hard to achieve. Our employees must have an excellent moral and ethical code, dress well, be well spoken, and strive for perfection in everything that they do. Someone who exudes confidence, with a great sense of style and intelligence, and a winning personality, is someone who will get our attention.

What advice can you offer about resumes? What are the qualities of a great CV? And what are the most common mistakes you see in CVs?

We prefer that resumes are a page or two and are laid out well. You should keep it simple and to the point, but don’t leave anything out. Make sure that any specific skills or attributes are easy to see and find, as well as your contact info.

Are there any common traits people should have in order to get hired, and then to succeed in the cruise industry?

The most common traits for success in the cruise industry are obviously to have good teamwork skills, good people skills, to be friendly and warm, to be a positive, happy person, and to be a hard worker.

A lot of seasonal employers have trouble keeping staff for the whole ‘season.’ Do you encounter this, and do you give incentives to keep staff for the whole season?

We generally find that our staff stay for the season and then move on, but some stay longer.

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