Cyprus HR Talking. Monica Potsou. P&O Maritime

How would you describe the job market in Cyprus in the shipping industry?

The shipping industry is one of the largest industries in Cyprus. Most of the shipping companies are located in Limassol. It is also worth mentioning that the Cypriot maritime registry is one of the largest in Europe and the 11th largest in the world. Cyprus is also the biggest third party ship management center in the EU. The job market in the Cyprus shipping industry is very competitive I would say. And the main reason is the challenges the industry offers. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find specialised personnel to cover all the needs in Cyprus. Often we have to search for Talents outside of the country, especially for the more technical roles.

What are the most requested specialists and the ones in short supply in the shipping industry?

The most requested specialists are Masters (Captains), Engineers, Superintendents and Technical Managers. On the other hand, general purpose personnel (for example Seamen and Oilers) are in short supply. All of these roles are very important in our industry and their work is very valuable. In addition, there is a difficulty in finding personnel who is specialised in Port Management since this specific industry in Cyprus is very small.

Any difficulties you meet during the recruiting process?

I wouldn’t say difficulties, I would say challenges. Local recruitment is easier as it is mainly based on references and word of mouth. Also, recruitment in the shipping industry requires a lot of headhunting and this is a challenge on its own. We have to be very careful when headhunting in order not to bring the potential candidate in a difficult position, as well as keep the confidentiality at a high level. Due to the nature of the business, it is also hard to test the technical skills during the interview process. Moreover, especially for the technical roles, we need to plan our recruitment activities well in advance as we first need to train the people before actually hiring them. The creation of a talent pool is the most challenging part of the recruitment process.

Are the candidates based in Cyprus enough to fill your positions or you need to hunt abroad?

As mentioned above, for many of the roles we need to also hunt abroad, mainly because of the luck of specialised personnel in Cyprus. There is also a pool of Cypriot candidates who already work abroad but want to repatriate available in the market. However, head hunting abroad is not as difficult as it used to be few years ago if you know how to use the appropriate recruitment channels.

How should CVs look like to get your attention?

One important note to remember when forming up a CV is K.I.S.S – Keep It Short and Simple. A CV should be well presented as this is the first impression the recruiter gets for the candidate. Experience and qualifications should be stated in correct chronological order, starting from the most recent one, without leaving any gaps. If there are any gaps, these should be clearly explained. Also, a CV should be amended accordingly for each role and company in order to show why the candidate is interested for this specific role as well as how the candidate will fit with the company.

What are the main qualities you want to see in your candidates?

Honesty, enthusiasm, flexibility, adoptability, interest about the role, knowledge about the company, team spirit, professionalism. The most important is that the candidates should study before the interview (about the role and the company) and come prepared.

What kind of interview do you prefer: simple dialogue, professional tests, or stress interview?

Simple dialogue is usually the first stage of the interview process and enough to identify the qualities needed for the role. After that and always depending on the role, some professional tests may follow. I am not a fan of stress interviews. I find these unnecessary in many cases but again, it depends on the role.

What is the funniest story you had with a candidate?

The funniest story was when a candidate came to the interview with her boyfriend / bodyguard. I was expecting a female candidate but when I opened the door, I saw first the bodyguard and then the candidate. That was the first time something like this happened to me and it was a shock. Of course to ran the interview with both of them as the bodyguard wouldn’t leave her alone. Finally we had to reject  the candidate after all.

P&O Maritime Cyprus Ltd

P&O Maritime has been operating in the maritime industry since the 1960s. It is a diverse global company in the marine transport sector delivering innovative and sustainable solutions with a mission to deliver Global Maritime Excellence . P&O’s operations span Australasia, South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa. P&O Maritime Cyprus Limited offers marine services at the port of Limassol.

Visit P&O Maritime Cyprus Ltd website and LinkedIn page

Monica Potsou

Monica has an extensive experience of over 10 years in HR and Operational Managerial roles in different industries, including an international experience in an Oil & Gas Services Company headquartered in Norway. She is currently the HR Manager of P&O Maritime Cyprus. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Middlesex University Business School London (UK) and a BA in Economics (Business Economics and Finance) from Athens University of Economics and Business (Greece). As a professional she is also a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and a graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD London) as well as holds a Professional Higher Diploma in Business Administration. Monica is also a board member of WISTA Cyprus and an active member of different non-profit organisations including the Cyprus Human Resource Management Association (CyHRMA).

Visit Monica LinkedIn page

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