Interview techniques will vary from captain to captain, but using an interview to get as much information about a candidate is key. In a conversation with Captain Dave Evans, captain of sailing yacht Clan VIII, we hear about his particular interview technique when it comes to recruiting crew.

“My interview technique is a bit old school,” he tells me. The first port of call for Captain Dave Evans is the recruitment agencies – but those where he knows the person handing him the CVs.  “I try to give as much information to them as possible about the boat, the job description, the owner and the crew, so they are able to get a picture of what we need.”

The next step is a discussion with the recruitment agencies about the people they have recommended that seem of interest. “I remembering to write down the name of the company who provides the CV first on the paper copy, so I know who to pay for the finder’s fee,” he adds.

Then it’s time to check the CVs, with a particular look at layout, spelling and punctuation. “I particularly giggle at those with ‘word processing skills’ on the CV and obvious spelling errors – but do not rule them out. I am looking for content and useable experience, not English degrees.”


"I particularly giggle at those with ‘word processing skills’ on the CV and obvious spelling errors – but do not rule them out. I am looking for content and useable experience, not English degrees.”



Captain Evans then whittles it down based on the length of time candidates have spent on previous boats, age, experience, type of boat and previous positions. By this time, he explains, there are normally two or three candidates left.

“I then go to references and I specifically look for the references that are not there. If they say they were on sailing yacht Munchkin for three months but have not got the captain down as a reference, I will call that captain first. I will also check the other references and always prefer a phone call to a written reference.”

It’s now that the face-to-face time becomes important, and Skype becomes a very useful tool. “I can get a lot of information like expected wage and experience from paper, but from Skype I feel I can get compatibility, sense of humour, demeanour and a better impression.



“I mostly offer the position on completion of the Skype phase. If I am still torn I will want to meet the candidates – perhaps over lunch so we can talk about food and drink and social things, which would make up the last part of compatibility and also allow them to meet the crew. They will be in a box with these people when they join so it is better to get a gauge on this sooner rather than later.”

Another area Captain Evans looks at is food habits. “I also want to check on fussy eaters. I know we have a chef looking after our dietary requirements but fussy eaters are not that welcome. Vegetarians and pescatarians are difficult to cater for during the busy times and the, ‘I will just make it myself’ approach doesn’t work, as there is no room in the galley for the chef and anyone else at meal times. It is easier to rule it out from the beginning. Allergies will be catered for, but we can’t pick up owners’ habits as crew and turn into food hypochondriacs.”