They’re one of the largest dinner and entertainment cruise companies in the US – Hornblower Cruises & Events. We interviewed one of their senior Manager, who explained how they go about recruiting and hiring seasonal and full-time staff.
Please describe what your company does. What is your role in the staffing process?
We are a large operation with cruises out of 8 locations around the United States. Our cruises are exciting and interesting offering sightseeing, dinner and entertainment, as well as luxurious private cruises for weddings, parties and corporate functions. We have the 3 largest dining yachts on the West Coast along with smaller, cozier vessels, and we serve as the National Park Service concession ferry to Alcatraz Island, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty National Monument. I see to all the crew applications and make sure that the hiring process is smooth, as well as supervise the hiring in each location.
What are some of the common job titles you advertise for?
We are always on the lookout for sales staff, entertainers, photographers, marketing staff, maintenance crew, IT employees, food and beverage staff, accountants and more. Our website has a full database of jobs on offer in the various locations.
What are some of the selling points you use to get people onboard to work with your company?
We offer a dynamic environment and appreciate creativity.
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?
We try to hire local people from each of the areas we operate out of.
Do you have a ‘season’ or ‘seasons’ where you’re busiest? Describe the seasonality aspect of your business.
Summer is the busiest.
How many seasonal staff do you typically hire, and for which positions?
It is hard to say how many, but mostly for the servers, galley assistants, photographers and other customer service staff.
Do you have a lot of college kids/students working for you? If yes, then what attracts them to your jobs?
Yes we do. They normally come for the flexible hours, fun work environment and the pay.
During what times of the year are you recruiting the most?
Just before the peak season.
Describe your perfect candidate. How can someone best make a great first impression with you?
We want our employees to exude positivity and enthusiasm. They should be friendly and interesting, have excellent customer service skills, and be determined and dedicated. We look for the overall package – someone with the X factor.
What advice can you offer about resumes? And what are the most common mistakes you see?
Resumes should be easy to read, attractively laid out and detail everything we would need to know about what you have done in the past work related. It is not necessary to include a photo and probably the most common mistakes that I see are spelling and grammar errors, so read over your cover letters and resumes before clicking that send button.
Are there any common traits people should have in order to get hired, and then to succeed in the cruise industry?
They must have an eye for detail and a sparkling personality. This is what will get you far in terms of jobs, but to truly succeed, you must love what you do and be comfortable working at sea for long, odd hours including weekends and holidays.
What are the typical terms of employment offered?
We normally offer our part time, seasonal staff hourly wages with commission if applicable to the job.