General Questions

How do you prepare for a job interview? We’ve reviewed some of the most common questions and some answers for you.


1. Tell me about yourself!
Try to answer briefly, in no more than 2 minutes, don’t stutter; – Keep your answer within the limits of your professional perspective and skills used on the job.
Don’t go back to your childhood, give a few details about where you have been in the past and where you want to go;
Use the entry in your CV as a starting point;
Answer in a way that makes it clear that you are a stable, adaptable and positive person;
Say only positive things.
2. What are your weaknesses?
Dress up your weaknesses in a positive response, e.g.: It takes me a long time to get ready in the morning, so I set my alarm at least an hour before I have to be on time for work.
3. What are your strengths?
Sell yourself. Tell how well suited you are for the job and how valuable you are as an employee of a company.
4. What do you know about our company/shipping company?
Show that you have done your homework, that you know what the company does and its place in the market, you know the products, the company’s approximate revenues, what its reputation is in the industry it is part of, and in general, you know the company’s history, image, goals and psychology;
Find out as much information as possible about the organisation before the interview. Write down most of the facts you have in front of you. You can even come up with questions about the company’s strategy in the coming months;
Show interest in new information, let the interviewer give you more details about the company.
5. Why do you want to work for us?
Don’t talk about what you want, but about their needs and what you can do for them;
You want to be part of their company/firm;
You want to solve the company’s problems and you like challenges;
You can make a major contribution to achieving the company’s goals.
6. What would you do for us? What can you do for us that no one else can do?
Show previous experiences (if any – positive ones (not how many ships you have abandoned, failed, etc.) showing reported success in solving similar problems the company/firm might have;
Be positive.
7. Why do you find our offer attractive? Or unattractive?
List 3 or more attractive factors (company reputation, chance to work with exceptional people, etc.) and one negative aspect, as few as possible (issues that might include, office location).
8. Why should we hire you?
This is your chance to show why it is important to have you in the company and how well you fit in. Don’t refer to other competitors for comparison, just talk about your experience and skills as the best fit for that position in that company;
Because of the knowledge, experience, skills and qualities you have.
Be very confident and assertive in how you respond, not vague.
9. What do you want from your new job?
The opportunity to improve my knowledge, because in the profession of a naval officer you have to learn continuously;
Vague answers such as: I like working in multinational crews/teams, I like challenges at work;
Correlate the answer with the job you are applying for;
I am interested in pursuing a career with your company.
10. Tell me your opinion about (the job you are interviewing for).
Be concise, activities and desired outcomes.
11. Why do you think you can do well in this position?
Mention your skills, experience and interest in the job and field.
12. Do you think you are overqualified for this job?
Despite your qualifications, claim that you are very well qualified for this job. Or you can say: “I don’t think I am overqualified, but I am fully qualified”.
13. How do you propose to compensate for your lack of experience?
You could emphasise that you are a quick learner and hardworking.
14. Do you consider yourself a successful person?
You should always answer in the affirmative. Success does not always mean being at the top, it just means mentioning how you achieved your goals.
15. Why were you out of work for so long?
Talk about the activities you did while you were not working, such as training or courses you took.
16. What do colleagues say about you?
Remember the good things your colleagues/bosses say about you. For example: My boss, Mr X, told me that he appreciates me for the way I react in stressful situations and for being a very organised person.
17. How long will you stay with us?
Do not give a specific answer. You could say, “I plan to stay for a long time.” or “As long as both I and the company think I’m doing my job well.” or “As long as I can contribute, improve, develop, etc.”.
18. Have you submitted your CV to other job advertisements?
Be honest. If they think you are a valuable candidate for the company, they might offer you a better salary so they don’t lose you to another job.

Experience and Management

1. What is your management style? – (If you haven’t thought about this yet, now is the time to do so) for example:
Mention how you interacted with subordinates or your own projects, such as “I guided team members and motivated them to complete their tasks on time”. Or you can simply say, “For me, good communication between members is the best way”.
Lead through development and training when managers see themselves primarily as a trainer of employees;
Open doors.
2. Do you work well as a team?
The answer should always be yes and you should give some examples. You can recall situations where you have been part of a group and the activities you did with others were a real success.
3. What is your working philosophy?
Do not give a monologue. Say something like: “My philosophy is to always do my best”.
4. Are you a good leader? Give an example. Why do you think you have the potential to be a top leader?
Answer concisely, showing achievements and tasks, emphasize managerial qualities: planning, organization, control, interpersonal qualities;
Describe relevant personal traits.
5. What do you think is the most difficult task for a leader?
Planning and carrying out activities on time and within budget;
This does not imply that it is an invincible task.
6. What is the greatest weakness of a leader?
Being honest and ending on a positive note (appeasing all women in the company).
7. What method do you use to reward people?
Overtime is the answer to avoid.

If You Leave a Job

1. Why are you leaving your current job?
It is no longer a challenge, it is time to move on, I would like to work on board a … … (or the field of the company you want to work for);
Never mention management issues and don’t say bad things about your bosses, colleagues or organisation. Talk about leaving for a positive reason – a new opportunity, a chance to do something more;
2. What do you think should give you all the benefits?
Consider that the challenges and satisfaction of the new job/company/ship outweigh the lost benefits.
3. Tell me what is the ideal job for you.
Do not mention a specific job. Speak in generalities, e.g. I want a job where I enjoy my work and like the people I work with.
4. Describe what you think an ideal working environment is like on board a ship
Where people are treated as fairly as possible;
Do not mention short voyages and high wages.
5. How would you describe the current company you work for?
An excellent company that has allowed me to capture a rich experience (don’t pay attention to the negative aspects !!!!!)

Quantifying Experience and Achievements

1. Tell me about a proposal you made that worked.
By this answer you should show that you care about how the company will develop. Give an example that was accepted and successful, especially if it is related to the job/company you are interviewing for.
2. Have you contributed to the increase in profit/profitability of the trip? How?
Suggest a few occasions, then stop at one and detail it;
Show the percentage increase in profit/profitability with facts and figures.
3. Have you contributed to cost savings? How?
Same as above.
4. How much money can you talk about as profit?
Be specific, relate a specific contract with facts and figures.
5. How many people did you supervise at your old job?
Be specific, the more the better.
6. Do you like to work more with actions than words?
Be honest but positive;
7. In your current or previous job, what characteristics did you like best? Less so?
Summarise your answer in terms of what the new job can offer you.
8. In your current or previous job, what were/are your 5 most important achievements?
You can refer to the main achievements mentioned in your CV.
9. What was the previous company’s policy on alcohol consumption on board ship? Have you encountered any problems with alcohol consumption?

Your Working Style and Habits

1. If I were to talk to your former boss/commander, what would he/she say are your strengths/weaknesses?
Focus on skills: don’t focus on weaknesses; it is always safer to identify a lack of quality or experience as a flaw than a personal characteristic.
There may be many qualities you can mention, but make sure you have prepared an example/story to support your answer. If you have already prepared a cover letter, you can simply list the attributes there and demonstrate them with handy references.
2. Tell me about a problem you had with a boss.
Never mention a conflict with a boss. Try to think about it and then say it wasn’t the case.
3. Can you work to deadlines, under pressure, etc.?
Yes. Simply put, it’s a way of life aboard a maritime officer.
You can say you work even better in some stressful situations.
4. In your current job, what problems have you identified that were initially overlooked?
Be concise and don’t forget to say how you solved the problems.
5. Don’t you think you would be better off in a bigger ship/different field?
Depends on the job/ship, explain briefly;
Repeat how your previous experience is suitable for the position you are applying for in the company.
6. How do you solve problems in a team/crew?
First, discuss problems in private and tactfully. If the problem is not resolved, then action must be taken, which could mean removing/sending a team/crew member back home.
7. What was the hardest decision you had to make?
Try to summarise the answer in terms of the future job situation;
Do not mention the situation where you had to choose between a redhead and a brunette in the first port (you are at a job interview !!!!) or wear a red or blue tie to the interview.
8. What is the most stressful operation for you and the crew on board?
9. Should the skipper be liked or feared by the crew?
10. What has been the biggest risk you have ever taken?

Salary Questions

1. What is more important to you, work or pay?
You can say something like: “No, no: Both are important because everyone needs money to survive, but job satisfaction is a major part of life.
2. What salary do you want?
Answer with a question, e.g. What is the salary of a similar position in your company?
If they don’t answer, give a figure (about how much you think you deserve).
3. How much would you expect if we offered you this job?
Be careful; the market value of the job could be the key answer, e.g. “I understand that a job like the one you are offering is worth about … … … …”.
4. What kind of salary do you deserve?
If you have something in mind … don’t hesitate. The interviewer insists;
Try to turn the answer and the question into a strong point. “I’m the kind of person who likes a challenge and gets involved. Some people see this as a delay, but I’m sure it can be seen as a strength because I want to make sure everything is done right.”


1. Do you have any questions you would like to ask me?
Be prepared with questions whose answers you didn’t find on the company website. Ask questions that show your interest.
It is good to be prepared to answer health-related questions, more technical questions related to your qualifications or current job, plus other information you have included on your resume.

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