We all know the importance of having competent, loyal and hardworking crew onboard including officers with the right set of leadership skills– and we all know the serious consequences of not having it!
Despite this, very often the screening of seafarers new to a company is limited to checking statutory certificates and medical fitness and maybe sea service. There are many reasons for this slim screening:
• shipping companies’ crewing departments do not have sufficient resources to perform the time-consuming process of an in-depth screening and/or
• the screening is delegated to manning agency due to time differences between the location of the shipping company and the seafarer. Unfortunately, most manning agencies also do not have the systems to perform a proper screening and, on top of that, the manning agency is earning its fees by sending seafarers onboard and therefore do not always act in the interest of the ship owner.
In Danica we take our responsibility of being the local representative of the ship owner very seriously. We have developed a rigid screening procedure to map the abilities of each and every seafarer new to us.
We go beyond professional skills by also looking into the personality, behaviour and social skills of every candidate and we use psychometric tests to support our findings.
Most importantly we have a team of experienced recruiters, including senior officers from onboard. Our staff are trained in observing the candidate’s behaviour by psychologists specialising in maritime recruitment.
We have a toolbox of questions and depending on the answers we can get an idea of the personality. For example, if we want to check how dominant and able to put through their ideas the candidate is we may ask them: “who decided the name of your children?” Or we may check how structured a person is by asking, “why did you go to sea?” Some will answer it was a coincidence while others may explain that they wanted to be a chief engineer etc.
We also examine whether the candidate is over-nervous or over-confident. A normal person would be expected to be a little nervous during the interview, otherwise it suggests getting the job is not important to them. It is also fine to tell one joke, as it shows openness and social skills, but being funny or very serious all the time during the interview is not acceptable.
We take the time to get this crucial decision correct. As our Managing Director Henrik Jensen explains: “Choosing the right crew for our Principals is of paramount importance to us and ensures safe and smooth sailings.”