Sourcing Crew; Agents versus Social Media

In recent years social media has become an increasingly popular tool for hiring crew. Platforms like Facebook have given captains easy access to a vast audience of potential candidates on what can only be described as the world’s largest jobs board. This in turn has made in-house recruiting more appealing and much more effective.

In-house recruiting has a number of obvious benefits.

No Recruiting Fees
One of the biggest arguments in favour of in-house recruiting is that it enables you to avoid the cost of recruiting fees. A large yacht may have a recruitment budget of 50–60k per annum, the majority of which generally goes on agency fees. For some yachts in-house recruiting is the only option as their owners flatly refuse to pay agency fees all together.

You know what you are looking for!
Putting a strong crew together is not only about candidates’ skills, it’s also about their strengths. Conveying this to an agent can be difficult. They’ll often send you someone who’s perfect on paper but falls short when it comes to getting along with the rest of the crew and fitting in with your yacht culture.

Speed and Simplicity
Post a job offer on facebook and you will get an immediate response and in some cases far more of a response that you bargained for. In effect you are simply broadcasting your requirements to the World with no ability to filter out unsuitable applicants. Additionally because you’re looking at the candidates cold, you have to invest an awful lot of time carefully checking each one to make sure the perfect candidate doesn’t slip through the net.

However using agents does have some major upsides

Time Saving
Using a quality agent to source your candidates can save you loads of time. Even after filtering the wheat from the chaff and narrowing down the applicants for interview, there is still a large amount of admin work related to ensuring that copies of all the required documents are present and up to date, including validation of any CoC.

Stealthy Recruiting
In certain cases you may have good reason for not wanting to broadcast all or any of the information related to the position on offer. This could be because the position is currently filled, or because of its sensitive nature – quite common with captain’s jobs for example. When you need to recruit on the QT, having a large database of potential candidates is the most effective way to source applicants.

Rotten Apples
A large part of what makes a yachtie is attitude. Having a crew member on board with the wrong attitude can be disastrous. Quality of service varies from agency to agency, so make sure you pick a reputable one if you want to avoid ending up with a bad apple.

A Third Option
There are now a number of online solutions that enable you to source crew at a fraction of the cost of going through an agency. They come with the same tools and filters for selecting potential applicants, and the same terms of confidentiality. The better versions of these online portals also incorporate feedback from previous employers, further reducing the chances of picking that rotten apple.