Crew Life » Career & Training » Yacht Crew Recruitment: How to Spot Flakers and Fakers

Yacht Crew Recruitment: How to Spot Flakers and Fakers

Alison Rentoul crew coach20

We’re entering the peak recruitment period now and according to my crew agency contacts there are plenty of jobs on offer for experienced crew at the moment. But as those first guest trips and charters draw closer, don’t be tempted to rush your recruitment process – making a poor hiring decision could cost you dearly as the season goes on!

When it comes to choosing the right people for your team, you need to be able to weed out the fakers and flakers.

Sometimes people have all the right accreditations, a glowing CV and can talk the talk at their interview, but after they’re hired they fail miserably. This is usually for one of two reasons: either they genuinely believe their own hype but their abilities fall far short of their beliefs, or they want to pull the wool over your eyes and try to get away with doing the bare minimum to get by. 

Here are 4 tips on how to spot the fakers and flakers in an interview so you don’t make the mistake of hiring them.

Expect and ask for direct answers

If someone seems uncomfortable when answering a question or gives you a roundabout story instead of simply giving you the information you requested, this could be a red flag. Probe a little deeper and if they can’t give you a direct answer it often means they have something to hide or they’re not being entirely truthful.

Ask a question unrelated to the job

Asking an unexpected and unrelated question can be a great technique to reveal your candidate’s true colours. For example a leading question such as: “What’s your favourite bar in town?” or “What are some of your pet hates” could uncover a range of interesting things about the person such as whether or not they go out a lot, what irritates them about other people, what their preferences are in general and simply whether the question throws them off guard. A person with nothing to hide won’t think anything of the question and should be able answer it easily and honestly - in fact it may actually help them relax. But someone who has rehearsed a script for an interview could be thrown off track by this, as they’re not sure what they should say to sound good. If they struggle to answer, get nervous and try to bring the conversation back to the interview so they can get on with the script, this could be a bad sign. 

faker 600Read between the lines

Genuine and modest people are a little shy when talking about themselves as they don’t want to seem arrogant. This is not the case for the faker or flaker. If you ask them to tell you about their greatest achievements they love telling tall tales of their adventures and the central figure will always be them. Listen to how they speak about others, especially fellow crew, and how much they take the credit for past successes. If they cast themselves as the hero and make everything all about them, they could be a nightmare to work with and probably aren’t much of a team player either.

Look out for responsibility avoidance

No one has a perfect career and most people will have experienced a setback at some time, but a person’s true character is shown in how they dealt with it. Ask them to tell you about a time something didn’t go well or a time they failed to achieve what was expected of them. The faker or flaker will usually have many reasons and excuses that preclude them from any responsibility, whereas a good candidate will be able to acknowledge their mistakes and share what they learned from the experience. People who take responsibility for their part in a failure and see setbacks as positive learning opportunities are the people you want to hire.

Do you have any other red flags to share to help spot fakers and flakers? If so post your comments in the box below!


Alison Rentoul is ex yacht crew with 15 years of yachting experience, and a professionally trained personal development coach working with crew worldwide, helping them realise their highest potential at every level. See for more information.

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