In a world of social networking is there still room for recruitment agencies? Definitely, says Laurence Reymann, director of YPI Crew in Antibes — perhaps more so than ever before.
Many captains and clients are on Linkedin and Facebook, they may tweet and ping and have access to a lot of information online which may appear a cost effective alternative to using an agency, but do they have the time to read and screen CVs, (many of them unfortunately irrelevant to their needs,) on top of their normal duties? Most of the time, they do not. A constant and regular streak of new rules and regulations are impacting captains and heads of department daily duties as more and more administration tasks are required of them; Time management is a critical skill to possess in order to "not sink" under the volume of paperwork. The forthcoming MLC 2006 will only add to the existing list.
In addition to the above, the bulk of the recruitment is invariably concentrated over the three months leading to the Mediterranean season with another peak at the start of the Caribbean season; A lot of recruitment has to take place in a very short time frame. Again, who has time to sift through CVs when there are so many pressing matters on board to deal with?
A professional recruiter will be able to do all the groundwork for the client/captain, he or she will source CVs, screen candidates, check credentials and deliver a workable shortlist of suitable, available and interested candidates in a timely fashion. A recruiter saves his client's time, this is his or her raison d'etre. Even better: over the years, a good recruiter will build a relationship of trust with the client and will instinctively know which candidates are a good match for him. More than in any other industry, in yachting it is all about the personality; people work and live together 24/7, there is no hiding possible. Whilst many Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde go undetected in a 9 to 5 office environment they do not survive long term on yachts. A professional recruiter will understand candidate's motivations and will be able to evaluate where best he fits.
CVs are only the tip of the iceberg, just like qualifications are; A recruiter will give the global picture required to make a successful hire. He will also play an important part in preparing the candidate for an interview, will provide feedback and assist in salary negotiations and will generally make the hiring process as smooth as possible.
Over the years, a good recruiter will build a relationship of trust with the client and will instinctively know which candidates are a good match for him.
At times we can say to a client we know well, "I know exactly who you should hire, look no further, I have the solution". What better, quicker, more cost effective way to solve a client's problem than that? Our knowledge of the market acquired over years, at his disposal. This is service at its best !
Other times, we will spend valuable hours searching and selecting candidate in order to provide a shortlist. Again, the idea of service is paramount. On this note, I do encourage clients to ask for added value and to not settle for recruitment agencies who will quickly bombard them with a mountain of random CVs just so that they can claim they were the first in sending the CVs in order to charge a fee.
Service is the key word and more then ever, Customer Service is the way forward.