Imperial’s Head of HR is interviewed to gain a further understanding of how candidates are selected, which skillsets will set them apart as well as what employers expect from applicants. While some people are planning to buy or build a superyacht, others dream of pursuing their careers in working onboard. With all the advantages of working on large private yachts, especially charter yachts, there are very serious requirements for people employed on them.
For crew members to succeed in the superyacht industry, they must first and foremost be willing to work, often hard and over time, while remaining part of the team. I believe that nowadays people who aspire to work on yachts are primarily looking for a dynamic profession, where, among other things, individual skills are important, such as the ability to handle a kite, teach scuba diving, conduct yoga training for example. As superyachts get bigger, more and more professional sailors are coming on board, having years of training and all the necessary certifications for ocean sailing. It takes time and effort to retrain them, so a person needs to adapt easily to new conditions and assimilate new knowledge well. If applicants show interest in such work, are ready for professional growth beyond the minimum set of job responsibilities, do not mind learning from more experienced crew members, understand their weaknesses and are ready to strengthen them, then they have a place on private yachts. These are the people who make up the best teams later.
The initial responsibility for recruiting the crew rests, of course, with the vessels Owner. After the initial CV selection, candidates must provide the required documents and undergo serious interviews in several stages, including a meeting with representatives of an Owner or management company. Often, Owners of superyachts operated by Imperial Yachts fully trust us and do not go into the details of crew selection for their yacht. But the opposite also happens when the client personally examines CVs of key applicants and even conducts interviews. Unfortunately, the yachting industry has a staff turnover problem, and if the crew of a yacht has not changed for two years, this is already considered to be a good indicator. The fleet of ships entrusted to us is constantly growing, and we are interested in having professional crews working for Imperial Yachts for as long as possible; after 2-3 years they can move to another yacht, but they still stay within the company. If people see working on a yacht as a long-term career rather than a temporary part-time job, they understand that in addition to training and certifications, they need real practice at sea, which can be a problem if a ship is constantly berthed or anchored. If we talk about the sources of applicants, then, of course, we first try to search for people on our own, using internal connections in the industry and applications received through our website. We also use social media to get the attention of potential job seekers, such as posting job advertisements on LinkedIn. Sometimes we use the services of crewing agencies, but we work only with those agencies that understand and comply with our strict requirements for client confidentiality, and this is a very limited range of companies. Confidentiality is extremely important to clients of Imperial Yachts, so background checks and phased interviews can take a long time.
In addition to the actual selection of the crew, we provide a full package of services related to the work of the crew on a ship, including employment contracts and notices of their termination, accounting for personnel costs, and we also do everything related to employment in accordance with the requirements of a particular flag state. In addition, we provide crew members with uniforms and make sure their appearance meets the established standards, constantly improve the qualifications of stewardesses in terms of service, compile brochures with useful information and menus for our guests. Finally, we help to resolve conflicts arising among the members of the team.
Nowadays, superyacht crews are usually multinational: different cultures and languages enrich the group, and we consider this a great advantage, we encourage mixed teams. Of course, English remains the language of communication onboard. Our practice shows that crew members with additional skills such as paramedics, nurses, hairdressers or cosmetologists with experience in yachting and their respective professions are always most in demand. Especially appreciated are people who are mentally and physically able to combine completely different duties on board, because not every hairdresser is ready to become a steward.