SJO Illustrations
SJO Illustrations

Anita Valium’s Handy Guide to Interviewing

The start of the season heralds the arrival of the greenie. Fresh from their superyacht zero to hero courses, bright eyed and bushy tailed (if they weren’t in the crew bar last night doing jager bombs off each other’s belly buttons), keen, motivated and raring to go. Rosy-faced from dock walking, having handed out CVs or those funky mini business cards with a whole life squished around the photo. What’s next? I think a visit to the agencies is in order!

Every crew publication known to man tells you how you should conduct yourself at an interview. I have no time for such sensible advice, it´s no fun to read. So, bear with me if you would, I’d love to give you a few handy hints for what NOT to do at your agent’s interview.

Let´s talk first impressions. It’s best not to arrive stoned/high/drunk. Have a wash before you roll up. I met a guy a few weeks back who not only smelled like the drain in the back of a brewery, he had the biggest, dirtiest chunks of eye fug I have ever seen. Looked like he had a fight with the sandman and the sandman won. Then there was this engineer who had to vomit in my bathroom one morning after a whole two minutes of “oh maaan last night was wiiiiiild.”  Strangely enough his CV was shredded and record deleted.

Girls, you’re probably going to be interviewed by a woman who remembers the days she could wear hot pants in the street without seeing grown men fleeing, screaming and clawing at their eyes, as a distant memory. For this reason I’d recommend you wear something crew uniform like. Not hot pants/miniskirt/bikinis. And definitely not those teeny tiny shorts that Rihanna wears; call me old fashioned but I believe shorts should be longer than one’s vajayjay. This is a professional interview and women can be jealous old bats. If you look that good she might place you on a hooker boat and laugh about it afterwards.

Boys, don’t arrive at the interview on a skateboard with your butt hanging out of your pants.  Skateboards, sadly, do not mean mature, professional individuals who are serious about a career in yachting. Last summer a young man arrived on his skateboard, maybe 20 years old, floppy blonde hair and braces on his teeth, looking for a deckhand job, with his girlfriend in tow – she was wearing rollerblades and the full-on elbow/kneepad ensemble. Cute huh? Not cute. She was literally old enough to be his mom. I didn’t know whether to offer her tea or to have an ambulance on standby just in case.

Interview etiquette 101: Don’t start any sentence with “I don’t want to tell you how to do your job but…” and don’t ever tell me I’m wrong. I’m pretty good at what I do and I am never wrong. Ever!

Don’t cough all over your hands then offer them for a handshake. That’s just disgusting. And don’t get me started on those flippy floppy wet fish handshakes either. And girls, learn how to shake hands like an actual adult. Don’t give me your fingers to shake. I am not about to curtsy. By all means, feel free to curtsy when you meet me as I am Yachting Royalty these days, but don’t expect me to return that gesture. I’m far too busy being regal.

Don’t flirt with me. You may be irresistible to all the girls you meet but please, I may look young and cheerful but I’m old and bitter. Besides, going on a hot date with a 19-year old is not on the top of my list of things to do. Don’t ask me out for drinks either. That’s like asking your teacher out on a date, or your brand new boss. If you see me out drinking however, I give full permission to buy me a tasty beverage, ideally with a brightly coloured tiny umbrella in it, and you’ll get a gold star if it has a sparkler.

The point of an interview with a crew agent is to get them on your side and make them WANT to place you. I read a blog from some complete muppet slating us agents, saying how we don’t care about crew etc., etc., violins poor me, but the truth is we really do. When I meet a goodie, I go out of my way to find them a job. You have to be proactive and prove to us you’re worth placing, and you won’t make us look bad to our clients, the captains and heads of departments. So if you rock up to see me and annoy me, keep on moving.

Now go get ‘em tigers…. But do tune in next time for my next rant.

 

Anita Valium is a hard nosed battleaxe of a recruiter with several years’ experience. She’s full of top advice and enjoys delivering it in her own very special, acid tongued way.

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