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Read this interview excerpt to learn ways you can launch your own cruise industry job search. Don't miss Part I of our interview with this leading cruise recruitment agency in South Africa.
What advice would you give people to help them prepare for interviews with your company and with cruise lines?
Remember to brush up on your skills to prepare for your interview, for instance, chefs will need to answer questions about basic cooking skills like sauces, stocks etc. Barman will need to answer questions about how to make certain drinks etc. Know and understand the position that you are applying for and be confident.
What is the interview and selection process like for your positions?
First we check to see if you have relevant experience and education for the job you are applying. Then we have an interview and also ask skills questions provided by the cruise line. If you pass this, we set up an interview with the cruise company. This can be face to face if they are visiting for a bulk recruitment trip or via webcam.
After you have interviewed someone, and found that he or she is a good candidate, how do they become employed by a cruise line?
If they are a good candidate, they will get approved 95% of the time, however they can still wait months for a ship assignment. It's best to keep your current job and one day when they need you be prepared to go.
Does your company provide any pre-hire training? If yes, can you describe what it entails?
We give the basics, but we highly recommend the Cruise Ship Course which was set up by ex cruise employees and gives you transition information that most hospitality professionals don't have as it's unique to cruise ships. Much of the info they offer covers stuff you will be doing in training when you first get on board like safety etc. As you will be trying learn your new job, it's nice to have this info behind you.
What are some common misperceptions people have about working on cruise ships?
There are a few. The main misconception is that when you get approved you will be ship assigned soon. This is not true. As mentioned above the gap pool waiting can be a long time, up to a year. Also, the longer you wait the less likely you will get on as schedulers think you are not available. Make sure if you have been waiting three months or more, that you let your agent know that you are still available, so that they can inform the schedulers.
The second is that this is a job about seeing the world. Unfortunately, you will be working most of the time onboard and will not have a lot of time for sightseeing.
Thirdly, that working on a cruise ship is an easy job. You are working long hours, 7 days a week without a day off for months at a time. Most crew members don't have a window in their cabin so be prepared to not see a lot of day time, especially if you work in the galley.