Focusing on placing pursers, butlers, chief stewardesses, heads of service, heads of household and chefs, The Crew Hunter came about as a result of The Crew Academy’s success in the interior training sector. “The training programme focused on interior crew, because they are actually the ones who have been neglected for all these years and, as you know, most of the interior crew in yachting don’t come from the hospitality industry. So basically, following The Crew Academy there was a growing demand from the clients to introduce the trained staff to yachts,” explains Seguela.
Something few recruitment agencies can offer, The Crew Hunter prides itself on how well it knows the crew its headhunters recommend. During training, the staff will spend a minimum of five full days with candidates, and this can extend to three weeks depending on the course. “We really get to know them from seven o’clock in the morning until seven o’clock in the evening,” continues Seguela. “It’s like living with them, whereas the traditional recruitment agencies spend on average between 15 minutes and an hour maximum at a formal interview, where you’re really just getting impressions of how the person presents at the interview. But we can see how they react throughout the day. The training is quite intense, so you see them tired, you see them doing hands-on service with real people every lunch. We can really judge their character and personality, and basically be in a better position to place them in the right environment.”
The Crew Academy isn’t looking to take over the recruitment sector – its focus remains training; the head-hunting division is a boutique arm of the company, relying largely on existing relationships with the industry. “We will only introduce the crew that we know really well, either personally, through training or the long-term relationships through our sister company, Shore Solutions, where our guys have been working with the same chefs, chief stewardesses and captains for the past 10 years, so they know every single person and the way they run their yacht. It makes it much easier to find the right fit for both parties.” This isn’t to say the recruitment agents won’t do their bit for those they don’t know, however – Seguela confirms they are very happy to work with yachts they are unfamiliar with, but they will go on board first and get to know the boat and its crew.
"We really get to know them from seven o’clock in the morning until seven o’clock in the evening. It’s like living with them, whereas the traditional recruitment agencies spend on average between 15 minutes and an hour maximum at a formal interview, where you’re really just getting impressions of how the person presents at the interview."
Seguela is proud of the agency’s invoicing approach and she tells me, “All crew agencies have the same philosophy: as soon as the crewmember steps on board, they send the bill. We will only send a bill after the trial period, when both parties are sure that it’s what they want.” The service also includes a Training Investment programme, whereby clients and candidates can benefit from a contribution by The Crew Hunter for each placement, which is put into a training fund and can be used for any of the courses offered by The Crew Academy.
The agency is also doing something the yachting industry has been accused of falling behind on – that is, bridging the gap between the yachting and land-based sectors in preparation for crewmembers’ leaving of the industry. The Crew Hunter will offer the same recruitment service to land-based households, offering interior crew the chance to easily transfer their skills when they decide to make the move out of yachting.
“We’d really like to be more low key – we want people to come to us rather than us go to them,” concludes Seguela. “It’s quite reassuring for our clients that we have the time to assess the candidates to see whether they’re going to fit in with the rest of the crew. We want our placements to last a lifetime if possible.”
Visit The Crew Hunter website here.