13 Best Things To Do In Preparing For A Shipping Position Job Interview

May 13, 2019 | Marie Quidayan

The shipping industry is central to the world economy carrying 90 percent of the world trade. Land and air transportation industries are also available. But, the classic way of transporting goods such as oil and gas, food, and other manufactured products for import and export are still done via maritime transport.

The numbers may convince you that the demand for seafarers is constantly high. But, crewing is actually one of the biggest business issues in the industry as companies take time in carefully selecting their workers.

When you’re invited for a job interview, take this as an opportunity to stand out from all the other candidates.  But before hopping into the conversation, be sure you’re well prepared.

To help you jump straight to a shipping company’s top list, here we’ve come up with the 13 essential things that you should do when preparing for that job interview:


You may know all the skills a company is looking for in a seafarer. But do you also understand what the business is?Make Google your friend in finding the latest details about the company. Go to the company website and read their “About Us”, “Team”, and “Products and Services” pages. Review their press releases.

Visit also their social media pages such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Also, learn some information about the company’s competitors.

In short, it’s time to stalk on the company so you won’t get empty handed when the interviewer asks a question.


It’s like going on a first date. List down the names of your interviewers and look for their online pages.  What are their backgrounds and interests?

Looking for them through LinkedIn can be helpful too as the website can show you common connections.


You won’t probably miss those general interview questions that you’ll receive at the beginning of an interview. Never underestimate these simple questions as the first few seconds of the interview can already make or break the good impression you’re building.

Here are the most common interview questions you’ll receive:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why did you left your previous employer?
  • Why are you interested in working for the company?
  • Why do you think you are right for the role?
  • Why are you looking for a new position?
  • What do you consider as your most significant accomplishment?

Also, take note of the common questions that’ll test your knowledge about the job:

  • What are the objectives of ISM Code?
  • What would you do if you saw someone not following safety measures?
  • How would you handle a conflict between you and a co-worker?
  • How do you think you’ll adapt to being away from home for months?
  • How can you avoid possible accidents?
  • What do you know about MARPOL?
  • What do you know about ISPS?

Questions aren’t only limited to what’s been mentioned above. That’s why you should always remember number 1.


You might have written or remembered your answers to the questions mentioned. But, it’s best to put those answers into test by conducting a mock interview. Call a family member or a friend to help you in your interview practice. If you know someone who has experience in interviewing employees, better practice with him/her. Practicing an interview with someone can help you figure out some answers and actions that may need improvement.


We understand that choosing what to wear for an interview can be confusing especially for offshore seafarers. But the simplest yet most presentable outfit you can wear to an interview – no matter what kind of position you’re going for – is a basic corporate outfit.

For men, get that black suit if possible, white collared long sleeve polo, and silk tie and ditch the fancy accessories. Going for this outfit can definitely put you on a step higher than those who come in wearing T-shirt and jeans. Complete your look with lace-up wingtips shoes. For women, it’s best to wear a professional-looking dress or suit with low-heeled shoes. Make sure your outfit is comfortable and lets you move freely.


You can have the best-fitting suit ready soon, but don’t forget to check your all-over look!

Get a clean haircut. Get rid of those piercings. Cover up those tattoos if possible. Make sure your nails are clean. Have a simple makeup and hairstyle.

Looking clean and presentable from head to toe will definitely boost your confidence in your upcoming interview.


If you can easily look for details about the company you’re applying for, they can easily do it to you too.

Check your social media pages. Review your posts that could be embarrassing or may put you in a bad light. Delete them right away.

Go to a search engine like Google and type in your name to see the first few pages that come up when an employer does a search on you.


It takes seven seconds to create a first impression. So, you’ll want yours to be a good one in a snap. Besides what you wear, what will catch your interviewer’s eyes right when you walk through the door is your body language. Even small gestures can speak volumes.

Here are some of the actions you can practice on:

  • Smiling when meeting an interviewer
  • Eye contact without staring
  • Walking with confidence
  • Firm handshakes
  • Talking with a sincere tone

Practicing these can help you lessen the worries you think about the upcoming interview. But, never forget to be yourself.


Waiting for your interview is already stressful. Thinking about lying makes it even worse. So, don’t you ever dare think about it! Making one lie often leads to another. These lies will require you to remember every single detail, which is good enough to give you a major headache. It can surely ruin the confidence you’ve been building. Just be yourself. Remember that you’re fortunate to be picked for an interview because you have what it takes.


Practice positive thinking right when you’ve set your interview schedule.

It’s completely normal to be nervous. But instead of torturing yourself with those negative thoughts about failing the interview, lift your spirits up by focusing on better things. Imagine the new experience. Tell yourself that this company is looking forward to meeting you because of your potential, and you’re ready to prove them that you’re the best pick among the rest. Positive thinking helps you stay calm and controlled before and during an interview.


Never organize your documents at the last minute. Before the interview day, create copies of your resume, a list of references with their complete contact information, travel documents like passport and seaman’s book, certificates, licenses, and other requirements.


Interviews aren’t only about convincing a company that you’re the right person for the job. You’ll also need to know if the job and company are right for you.

Think about the questions you want to ask your interviewer. It can be about the job, the boss, the company, the culture, and so on. Write down your questions.

These questions you’ll ask at the end of an interview must tell the interviewer that you’ve done your research about the company and you’re interested to know more. Avoid yes or no questions.

Here are some examples of smart questions you can ask in an interview:

  • What are the duties and responsibilities of this job?
  • What are the most important qualities should someone have for this role?
  • What is the culture of this company?
  • What are the common nationalities of crew onboard?
  • What type of ships do the company have?
  • What are the benefits and privileges do the company offers?
  • What are the biggest opportunities this company is facing right now?
  • Where is the company headed in the next five years?
  • What are the biggest challenges this company is facing right now?
  • Who do you see as your top competitor and why?
  • What is the typical career program for someone in this position?
  • What are the next steps after this interview?

The last thing you’ll want to ruin your dream interview is forgetting its set time and date, and not knowing where the company office is!

Check out the address right away and download or write down the directions in advance. Know the usual traffic conditions on the roads you’ll go through. This will give you an idea of how early you should leave to get to the interview on time.

Hiring isn’t a quick process as companies must be sharp enough in finding seafarers who are highly-skilled in taking risks and solving problems. We couldn’t agree more to this fact, especially around 80 to 90 percent of some of the shipping accidents that happen are caused by human error. You may have the required skills that shipping companies look for – and so as the rest of the other candidates.

So how can you rise above the rest and show a company that you’re a perfect match for the job? Impress them right away in your job interview. And how can you have a satisfying job interview where you know you’ve put your best efforts to become a company’s remarkable candidate? There’s no other way but to prepare.

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