The result of your screening and selection process for new employees is only as good as the requirements you have defined for the job and for your recruitment process. If the job requirements feature only a few issues concerning work experience to be associated with the responsibility areas, you are at risk of hiring someone who will mismatch the company culture and who will then appear not to perform well.

In the maritime business the dominant approach for hiring has basically been based on technical skills and years of experience. However, if a shipping company wants to strive for excellent performance, it is essential to have the right people with the right attitude and personal competencies on board.

It is a common saying that “We hire for skills, but fire for attitude.” There is an absolute truth in this. To avoid such a situation, we should therefore broaden our focus regarding recruitment criteria and to a higher degree hire for attitude and personal character and train for skills.

What personal traits should we be looking for?

The personal traits to look for, which is basically the typical behavioural traits, should of course enable the performance you want to see! The list can be quite long covering areas such as being a good communicator, possessing collaboration skills, showing good social interaction, positive attitude, and constructive approach, being open, innovative etc. etc. There is no complete list or “one size fits all”. But it must be decided what is essential for the rank, position and for the working culture in your company.

The point is that instead of relying on your faith in or the perception of an external recruitment agency to decide the required character or attitude, the recruitment process should be based on deliberate considerations. This is done by establishing a recruitment framework that aims at hiring for the right fit.

Recruitment framework

A recruitment framework defines the most important company and position requirements needed for ensuring successful and timely employee attraction and recruitment.

The recruitment prerequisites should be determined on the basis of decisions made through the business and HR strategies. These prerequisites provide information about the number of required new candidates, the positions and recruitments areas, what the job positions require and what they entail as well as links to other HR functions, like internal promotions and relocations policy.

Company and job presentations shall be developed, distributed and promoted to attract the right candidates. This activity should not merely be seen as part of the general company branding. Instead, you get a good basis for branding your company towards a particular segment by being certain about who you want to attract.

Finally, the job requirements come into play. By setting up the requirements to correspond with the different stages of the screening process, you can ensure that the screening works as a funnel, and that you only spend time on candidates who have passed the previous “hurdles”.

Recruitment process

When a pool of candidates has been attracted, a thorough recruitment process should take place. Besides the first screening of the candidates that regards education, experience, certificates and specific technical skills, this process should also evaluate the soft skills, attitude and personal character of the candidate.

The screening process should be structured to ‘filter’ the candidates in order to obtain an optimal match between the present or envisioned company culture, the work team’s culture, job expectations and a candidate’s personal prerequisites.

By selecting candidates purely on formal job requirements, there is a risk that the candidates will either underperform because they lack other required competencies or they will leave the company because they don’t match the company culture – factors that could have been revealed during the recruitment process.

The recruitment framework and process should optimally be linked to the overall company strategy to reinforce and strengthen the envisioned company culture and performance. The cultural fit reccruitment shall be used based on the goals of the company to retain, enrich or diverse its work culture.

The recruitment is only one of the building blocks

It is essential to keep in mind that successful recruitment does not stop at the candidate match and hiring of the employee. It should be followed up by timely and qualitative induction of the employee whether it is on board or at the office.

The recruitment process should therefore be closely linked to the company’s:

- HR strategy and process by ensuring a clear link between the recruitment framework
- Job descriptions
- Induction and familiarisation programme
- Performance appraisal
- Promotion criteria

Is it worth it?

Yes, it is worthwhile to invest in the increased efforts, resources and cost needed to accomplish deliberate recruitments.

Companies that have made the effort to calculate recruiting costs (advertising, candidate screening, interviews, induction, familiarisation, more training), and in particular the possible loss connected with hiring the wrong person, are obviously interested in doing the groundwork to ensure the best match. It simply pays off. The business case of doing good well-based recruitment versus “routine” recruitment is strong.

Need help?

Contact us for personal advice

Stine Skelbo
Stine Skelbo
Senior Consultant

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