“LET’S ALL DEMAND MORE OF EACH OTHER”
Just over a year after Laurence Lewis asked The Crew Report’s readers to work better with the recruitment agencies, the director of YPI Crew has seen too little change and calls for captains to demand more from the recruitment sector.
As always I am running late in handing in my column to The Crew Report but, as always, I have a good excuse. What is it this time? Well, we have been very busy, even during August when, historically, the activity slows down as crew are settled and working hard to look after their employers and guests. It’s that time of year when relief and temporary engineers and stewardesses are difficult to find for those last-minute requests, when captains need someone “today” or “yesterday”. While juggling these issues we have also concentrated our efforts on new recruitment assignments for autumn, so no wonder I am once again racing against the clock!
What else was new this summer? 20 August has come and gone; the MLC has come into force and reputable recruitment agencies are now accredited, having worked hard towards this goal, fine-tuning their recruitment procedures for the benefit of the industry. These changes to our procedures come at a cost to us, too, both in terms of time spent and human resources, which inevitably translate into financial costs we must bear. This reinvestment is accepted as part of a normal business cycle and responsible company directors know they have a duty to their businesses in order to support what one hopes is a perennial expansion. I know that captains of both commercial and private yachts alike will recognise the effort crew agencies are making and will work predominantly with these MLC- accredited agencies.
The question is, what else, apart from MLC accreditation, should a captain be able to demand and expect from a recruitment agency? Plenty, is the answer. But how does it work? More importantly, how does it work well? Most people, whatever their job, work at their best when they feel engaged, inspired, motivated and empowered. It’s the same for recruiters. So, in a nutshell, the most successful working relationship between captains and recruiters will allow for a quality-driven search service.
This is never possible when a large number of recruitment companies are involved as, inevitably, a race to send CVs begins and the ultimate loser is the captain who ends up spending too much time reading too many CVs, most of them irrelevant. This is obviously a waste of time, money and resources; surely the idea is to pay a fee for someone to do the groundwork for you? Understanding this principle is key to successful recruitment and this is why using more than two or three quality-driven agencies is simply counterproductive. The quality of recruitment agencies in our industry will increase as a whole when captains demand more from the fewer companies they have selected.
Every so often clients call us after they have been looking at 30 or so CVs and still have not found the right candidates.
As a recruiter I am thinking, this just can’t be right. Here’s a client who, I am sure, has better things to do than spend his time reading through reams of paper; that just can’t be the best use of his day. If, as a client, you feel you are in this situation, it could well be because you are using the wrong agency. Don’t forget that the recruiters are paid to read CVs, meet and interview candidates, check references, discuss their goals and build a shortlist of candidates for you, the client, to interview. The bulk of the work should be done by the recruiter, not the client.
Allowing recruiters time to do their job well – selecting the best candidates, including those who may not be on the open market – is vital. As mentioned above, this can’t be achieved when too many recruitment companies are involved. There are occasions, of course, when time is of the essence in recruitment; when the chef quits the day a new charter party arrives. Of course the recruiter
will drop everything to find a new chef, it goes without saying. Most of the time, however, clients have some leeway to allow the recruiter time to do a full and proper search to source the best-qualified and suitable candidates for the open position.
Also vital is to use a recruitment agency with a proven ability to source quality candidates. What is the agency or the recruiter’s legitimacy? What kind of network does it have? What kind of visibility does it have within the business, on the internet and in publications? If a client is prepared to pay an agency fee, should he not, in exchange, feel as though he can demand and expect from his recruiter an in-depth knowledge of the market’s key players?
Another point to take into consideration is the individual recruiter’s knowledge of the market and its trends. Can your recruiter guide and advise you on the state of the market and what type of candidate profiles are available at any given time? Is your recruiter telling you if your criteria are not in sync with the market?
Finally, ensure your agency will represent your yacht in a positive fashion when speaking with candidates and when giving interview feedback. As always, insight and experience help, and the more developed the partnership between the captain and the agency, the better the communication.
Let’s all demand more of each other. Let’s work better, together. Happy recruiting.
The quality of recruitment agencies in our industry will increase as a whole when captains demand more from the fewer companies they have selected.