Often used in the corporate world, psychometric testing is beginning to find its feet in superyachting’s recruitment sector. Lulu Trask spoke to those who offer this type of service, and those who are subject to it, about the benefits and potential pitfalls of using this method when it comes to recruiting superyacht crew.

Examining people’s personality and behaviour in the workplace, whether you call it psychometric testing or personality profiling, is used copiously in the corporate world, but only relatively recently has it started to be seriously considered as a tool to support the recruitment of superyacht crew.

“There are basically two schools of psychometrics when it comes to personality testing,” explains Sarah Fenwick, psychometric specialist. “One is the type-based. These are very good for personal development and understanding team dynamics, but are not considered best practice when it comes to recruitment. The other is based on personality traits; looking at the different elements and how people interact with each other.” The key is to know which school of thought to use.

Perceptions surrounding profiling (as it will be referred to hereon in) are not always positive, arguably because of the terminology. “I hate the word ‘testing’. It’s not testing. We call it profiling,” Simon Harvey, owner of crew-team builder N2 People Skills, tells The Crew Report. Harvey began profiling as a captain some 25 years ago, when the yacht’s owner requested he come shoreside and take charge of profiling for his land-based company. Since then, Harvey has used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which identifies 16 personality types based on personality ‘preferences’, and DISC (dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance), the latter of which is his preference for the superyacht industry.

But it’s when we start looking at these different models that the confusion increases. With so many models on the market, different people will favour different applications. When asked about the DISC method Fenwick says, “It’s absolutely fine for personal development and team dynamics, but I personally wouldn’t recommend it for recruitment purposes.”

“I think it can be a useful tool but not the all-seeing eye or oracle that some people believe it to be."

- Captain Dave Evans, S/Y Clan VIII

Thomas Personal Profile Analysis (PPA), meanwhile, is used by Peter Vogel, managing director of Interior Yacht Services, who also uses DISC and believes the two add an additional level to the gut-instinct factor in recruitment. “Applying psychometric tools to the recruitment process ensures you have done everything in your power to look at the candidates from different angles before you offer the position to the successful candidate.”

There’s a lot of talk of profiling shoreside and the cynic might ask why wouldn’t shoreside companies offer profiling if it presents the opportunity to make money? Recruitment is a business after all. So what do captains think?

“Psychometric testing is a funny one, especially in yachting. I have done a couple and the companies have never given me the results, but I was offered a job so I guess they saw what they needed to see,” says Captain Dave Evans of sailing yacht Clan VIII. “I think it can be a useful tool but not the all-seeing eye or oracle that some people believe it to be. I have had some owners ask for my time of birth so they could do a star chart, so let’s face it, whatever they feel will give them the answers they need will be used.”

Find the full article in issue 74 of The Crew Report - coming soon.

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