Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

How To Improve Your Maritime Hiring Process

In the maritime industry, the margin for error in the hiring process can be reduced by working with maritime headhunters.

Such specialized professionals will often understand roles better than the hiring managers, have access to a deeper reservoir of talent, and save companies time that can instead be invested in the core aspects of their business.

So, what are four of the key elements that maritime headhunters focus on and that most companies miss when looking for the best candidate?

A Clear Job Description

Many companies simply don’t understand the roles they’re advertising as well as they should.

In their book, Who: The A-Method For Hiring, Geoff Smart and Randy Street noted that one of the reasons a company doesn’t receive applications from outstanding candidates for a job role they’ve advertised is that they don’t understand the role well enough. Without understanding the job intimately, their description misses the target and fails to resonate with the right candidates.

One of the biggest mistakes uncovered by The Wall Street Journal when it came to writing job descriptions was a tendency for companies and their hiring managers to include a foreboding list of requirements and responsibilities. This can seem imposing to otherwise qualified employees, and it can alienate them, thus preventing them from applying.

The maritime industry is niche, and as such it’s absolutely essential that job descriptions are clear about what the role will require. The focus should be on two aspects:

1) What the hiring company will do for the candidate
2) What the company expects from the successful candidate

The Wall Street Journal’s study also found that better candidates responded more to the first aspect than they did to the second. In other words, focusing on what the company can do for the job applicant rather than the other way around will secure the strongest applications. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it helps separate the wheat from the chaff.

A Candidate’s Personality

Too many companies are so focused on skill sets that they ignore a red flag in a candidate’s personality and make the hire based on skills alone. As maritime headhunters know, this just doesn’t work.

Skills are one thing, but personality and how a worker fits into a company’s culture are equally important. In fact, since personality can’t be shaped but skill sets can be learned, it’s arguably even more important.

Be clear about the company’s culture before starting the hiring process. Determine the following:

  • What are our values?
  • What do we prioritize?
  • What will we tolerate?
  • What will we not tolerate?

It’s just like a relationship—if two people have mismatched personalities and values, the relationship won’t go the distance.

Don’t go into the process assuming that, just because a candidate has the exact skills and experience desired, they’re the perfect fit. Everything has to match up. If there is a clear flaw in their personality and their values are at odds with the company’s, they aren’t the right fit.

Soft skills matter, such as emotional intelligence, thought processes, communication and interpersonal skills, and they should be considered as companies make their hires.

In the maritime industry, where work ethic and teamwork are crucial to a number of roles, expert maritime headhunters understand that candidates without these soft skills should be ruled out, even if their skills and experience are otherwise exceptional.

Maritime headhunters work with companies in the maritime industry who need to select outstanding candidates that have both the right hard and soft skills for the role. 

An Impeccable Interview Process

Leadership IQ carried out a study into companies’ interview processes. They found that common hiring mistakes are often a result of a poor interview process that is too focused on the wrong things, and which often put an unsuitable or untrained manager in charge.

5,000 managers were surveyed as part of the study, with over 80% of them making the following common errors during the interview process:

  • They lacked time
  • They were too concerned with other issues, which meant their focus wasn’t 100% on the interview at hand
  • They didn’t have suitable confidence in their ability to carry out an interview
  • They missed red flags, perhaps due to a lack of concentration

These are basic errors. But as Geoff Smart and Randy Street pointed out in their book, they are errors that companies are making time and time again.

There are a few ways companies can shore up their interview process:

1) Train managers so that they are able to give stronger interviews
2) Set aside more time for the interview process
3)  Focus on soft skills, such as motivation, temperament and coach-ability.
4) Ask better questions that give a more detailed insight into a candidate. Examples include, “How do see yourself as a person in five years’ time?” and “What drives you in life?”

For companies lacking the time to train managers and improve their interview process, working with maritime headhunters becomes an option. These headhunters have interview processes that have been refined to match up the ideal candidates for the right roles.

Check Reviews

According to Glassdoor, over 45% of their members check out companies via reviews before they consider applying to work for them.

This is what the best candidates do. They carry out their due diligence on companies before applying to them. They might check to see what former employees have to say about the company, and they might seek out salary estimates and other insider information to get a feel for what a company is all about.

If a company has a bad reputation, almost 70% of job seekers have admitted they won’t take a job with them.

Conversely, the same amount of people say they’re more encouraged to apply for a role if the company is active on review sites, responding to reviews, sharing updates on how the company is doing and so on.

Ensure your online presence on these sites is as positive as possible.

Working with maritime headhunters takes significant effort out of writing job descriptions and refining interview processes, and may mean companies need not even display a job ad in the first place.

Maritime headhunters have access to a deep network of all-star candidates who may not otherwise apply for a role, often because they’re not actively seeking a new job. Headhunters are able to convince them that the role is the right one for them, selling the company and its culture to them.

Headhunters also take care of the whole process, from scouting the top candidates to interviewing them and matching the right ones to the right role. They do all the hard work. The best thing? The time saved by using them.

For information about MSC Headhunting visit: