Crew » Career & Training » Crew Placement - Should You be Exclusive to One Agent?

Crew Placement - Should You be Exclusive to One Agent?

"Joey - it's Estelle!"

While watching an episode of Friends the other day, a thought came to mind. In the world of Hollywood, actors have agents and these agents help find their actors jobs, much like how things work in the superyacht industry, however there is a very big difference. An actor will have a preferred or an exclusive agent, someone they will only work with and have a contract with. Could this work in our industry too?

The benefits are definitely there, you do get a more personal and reliable approach when you work closely with a ‘favourite’ agent; they will strive to help you as best they can as they know that you have entrusted them with getting you a new (hopefully better) job.

Such a relationship would also benefit the yacht – I’m connected with many of the candidates I work with on WhatsApp or Facebook, which means we can have quick catch ups, and I can also see their lives outside of work which can be really helpful when it comes to telling a client about the candidate’s personality in more detail. For example, I have managed to secure work for some crew members because I know they have strong family values, or they work on classic cars on the weekend, or they enjoy fitness which will help them fit in with a more active team on board. This benefits the candidate as well as the yacht, as it helps to present the candidate as an individual and as a person, rather than just a number on a yacht.

On the other hand, we as agents aren't miracle workers and can't always guarantee you a job in two weeks, any more than we can guarantee the pay rise that you want or the type of owner you are looking to work for. Some yachts don't work with certain agencies and some agencies don't work with certain yachts; that’s just the way the industry works and for good reason. I myself wouldn’t send candidates to certain yachts, either because I know their reputation, or I know it will be a step down/across rather than a step up in their career so, if you are exclusive with one agent, you may miss out on a small percentage of yachts.

However, I do feel that being exclusive to one agent that you work closely with is better than going to 10 different agencies and bombarding the world with your updated CV. You will have a better relationship with that one agent and it’s easier to explain exactly what you want them to do for you.

Another thing to bear in mind is that many of the candidates I work with have been in the industry for over five years and have their own contacts and colleagues to assist in their job search; it’s a small industry after all. I understand this is how our world works and when a candidate comes to me and tells me they have an independent offer and would like to know more about the yacht, I’m usually happy to help. At the end of the day, we all need jobs and I am always happy to see my candidates get a new job, whether it’s through me or through their own network.

So, is this the right thing to do and is it possible? As a recruitment consultant I should encourage you to stay with one agent (us!) but, as we are all lovely people at wilsonhalligan, we recommend crew should choose around three GOOD agencies. It’s always good to do your research to establish if an agency is dedicated to a particular vacancy or if they have a consultant dedicated to your position.

At wilsonhalligan we have one person dedicated to each department on board, so Kelly is our chef recruiter, Liam places our captains and James places engineers, which means our clients benefit from specialist knowledge and experience. The partnership between a candidate and a recruitment agent is an important one, whether you are green or have been in the industry for years, and I wish you all the best with yours!


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