When The Crew Report approached me with the latest topic — the responsibility of crew agents in preparing entry-level crew for the industry and our was bothering me. Yet this was the assigned topic, so I'd better give it some serious thought.
Of course, as recruiters we understand and disappointment of captains when they give a newcomer a chance for a season but are then told a few weeks into the job, in the middle of a charter, handing in my notice.
We have all seen it and, when it happens, recruiters across the board are just as annoyed as the captain, as for us it means doing the job twice, lacking resilience are vast and, as I am writing to an informed and captive audience, there is no need to industry the job descriptions can at times border on delusional doesn't help.
This feeling of being let down is, of course, both understandable and logical. The bottom line is nobody wants this scenario to happen; nobody gains from it, so can we get better at separating the wheat from the chaff in the recruitment process of junior crew?
What's bothering me with the above question is that it is bad logic. It's based on the fallacy that the issue is to weed out unsuitable candidates when candidates. Ask any heads of companies how they feel about the availability of true talent (not candidates); the problem is widespread, on shore and offshore, and of course the fact that in our border on delusional doesn't help.
Attracting talented people who are genuinely interested in the industry is the true challenge; people with passion and drive, commitment and an understanding of team spirit. Recruiters are not magicians; we can't pull out of our hat an army of perfect junior stewards and stewardesses. If we could, we would — trust me! Professionally presented with an ever-ready smile and pleasant disposition, bi-lingual, impeccable pre-yachting track record, a hospitality background, wine knowledge, sewing skills, good laundry skills and so on; where are they all?
As the middle person who connects candidates to yachts, the role of a recruiter is, of course, to dispense advice to both clients and junior crew. What we are not, clearly, is responsible for the type and quality of candidates our industry attracts.
With so many complaints from captains about the attitude and skillset of today's junior crew, what is the responsibility of the recruitment agent in preventing those unsuited to this industry and who leave after a few months, causing crew turnover, from just "giving it a go"? Laurence Lewis, director of YPI Crew, looks at the role of the recruitment agent when it comes to those brand new to this industry.
We are not the puppet masters — we are like everybody else, part of the yachting equation. My great majority of newcomers in our industry are bright, interesting, curious, open-minded, healthy, sporty and often already well-travelled individuals. As a rule, the lackadaisical 20 year olds out there don't even get as far as entertaining the idea of badly; on the contrary.
Getting back to the initial question about weeding out unsuitable junior candidates, we can think about those only interested in an optimised pay thought about their fellow crew member who will have to work twice as hard after their departure and before a replacement is found. The key to successful recruiting is switching the focus from job responsibilities and skills, which is not the right throwing the ball back to us recruiters but also to heads of departments and captains. Are we asking the appropriate questions during the interviews? Are we talking too much instead of listening to what the candidate is saying? is getting more structured, there are a myriad of courses that newcomers can take to learn the trade.