Your ideal recruit!

The Islander – March 2016

< Back
You can't always rely on your instinct

What are we looking for in an ideal recruit?

When recruiting a new member of crew, what it is that we are ideally looking for in them?  How can you really judge what a person can bring to your boat, and what impact will they have on everyone else? These are the million-dollar questions.

The changing face of yachting over the past few generations has seen different swathes of cardboard cut-outs from the professional nomadic-types of yester-year to the career-driven professionals of today. 20 years ago the yachting demographic had a different face and what was deemed as an ideal recruit back then doesn’t look the same now. Or does it?...Fundamentally yes! But, with recent changes in the industry, come additional demands on your crew.

Face of 1996

Face of 2016

The un-changing fundamental personality traits of the ‘ideal’ crew member

The requirements of the modern-day crew member

Global superyacht fleet in the 100’s

Global superyacht fleet over 5000


Very well presented

Typical owner – 3rd generation of yacht ownership

Typical owner – Nouveaux Riches



Vessel size up to 40 m

Vessel size 40-140m+


Fit and lean

Crew size 2-6

Crew size 6-26+

Emotionally Resilient

Know their alcohol limits & stick to them

Range of nationalities – 1 or 2

Range of Nationalities – 3-6+

Attention to detail


Paperwork on-board- magazines

Paper work on-board – up to your eyes in ticking those boxes

Hard working


Huge amounts of knowledge and expertise

Qualifications required– sailing background/excellent sailing reputation - RYA

Qualifications required – Commercial qualifications – MCA etc

Team player

Career minded


 “The ideal crew member to me looks much the same as it always has in my mind – loyal, sharp, witty, present, and attentive and has a solid background and education. The hardest aspect of hiring crew these days is sifting through the bravado and over-inflated CVs and finding out what they really can bring to a yacht. In my sailing days all you had to see on the CV was a well-known yacht on the circuit and you knew exactly what you were getting – a solid crew member who could certainly sail!” – Superyacht captain 50m

I think the age-old adage ‘you don’t get to know someone until they stop trying to impress you’ rings true after the post-interview dust settles and the true colours have come through once the foot is in the proverbial door.  And as all yacht crew know from experience - you don’t really know someone until you live with them!   A CV and an interview doesn’t always cut the mustard in the pursuit of finding out what a person is really like. How many times can you look back at crew you’ve hired and review their CV and think … wow they really are not what I was expecting!

The fundamental traits of the ideal crew member look the same as they always have; it takes a certain type of person to fit into the industry and thrive.  Finding the right person is getting harder, with more crew to choose from, an expanding age range aboard and greater cultural diversity, it is more important than ever to get the right “fit” for your boat. You can trust your intuition, trial them for a day or a week, alternatively you can look to the corporate sector to see how they manage recruitment. For many years psychometric profiling has been part and parcel of the hiring process. With recruitment success rates moving from in the region of 30% without profiling, to 70 – 80% with the use of these tools and techniques, the trend is on the up. It requires professional consultants to intervene in the process – taking your shortlist of three or so candidates (that of course all have the necessary skills, qualifications and experience), analysing their psychometrics and interviewing to better understand their behaviour. With this additional information, you can then decide upon the most suitable candidate for your boat and crew. We’ve all seen the new chief officer, who’s great when the Captain is on board, but the minute the Captain’s off and he’s in charge, we see a change in personality and a need and desire for power and authority come to the fore – wouldn’t it have been nice to know before he was hired what his behaviour would probably be like!

We recently worked with a Captain to hire a new Chief Officer. When we put forward the pros and cons of each of the candidates his comment was “My instinct was telling me to hire the person who, as it turnoed out was the least suited for the position!” If you are looking to hire and it’s important to you to get it right, use the tools that are available to increase your success rates.

Contact Impact Crew to discuss the use of psychometric profiling to increase your recruitment success. Impact Crew specialises in providing team and leadership development, along with other management consultancy services.