The recruitment process for any job involves several different stages:
- Initial job evaluation and production of a relevant job/person profile or description by which candidates can be assessed for suitability.
- Sourcing or attraction of potential candidates by various means, eg, external advertising, recruitment agencies, internal promotion.
- Screening of initial applicants using a variety of methods, such as review of CVs, comparison of academic or professional qualifications held, pre-interview by telephone to shortlist the most likely potential candidates.
- Selection of the best candidate from those shortlisted using selection techniques such as formal interview, psychometric testing, written exercises, group exercises.
- Effective induction of the successful candidate into the new role to ensure successful integration within the organisation and quicker operational deployment.
To increase your chances of successfully negotiating the recruitment process, ensure you apply your best efforts at each stage of the process, such as fully completing application forms, producing effective CVs and preparing thoroughly for interview.
CVs, letters and application forms
These self-promotion tools are the first thing an employer sees about you. If they are uninspiring and difficult to read, what will an employer conclude about you?
The main purpose of a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume is to persuade an employer you have the skills and abilities they require and get them to offer you a job interview.
A well-written and presented CV is an essential part of the job seeking process. Your CV needs to offer a concise summary of your qualifications, competencies, experience and skill set. Try to limit your CV to two A4 pages and have it available in both print and electronic formats.
Preparing your CV
- Target your CV towards the job you are applying for.
- Always check your spelling and grammar.
- Use a straightforward font and keep the formatting simple.
What to include
- All relevant academic/professional qualifications with dates achieved.
- All seafarer certificates with dates achieved.
- Work experience, starting with your most recent post and working backwards. Include position, name of company, dates worked and bullet points outlining your main responsibilities.
- If you’re new to the sector, any previous boating or outdoor activity experience (eg, Sea Cadets, dinghy sailing, windsurfing).
- Any spoken languages.
- Any practical skills (eg, mechanical, electronic, woodwork etc), as well as any IT or office skills.
- If you wish, you can also provide a personal profile that summarises your skills, ambitions and qualities, as well as interests relevant to your work experience or representative of your lifestyle away from work.
- Provide letters of reference which endorse your character and capabilities.
- Keep several copies of your licences and certificates.
- Keep your job application documents in waterproof folders.
- Write in a clear, professional and positive style.
- Keep your CV to two sides of A4 and covering letter to one side of A4.
- Keep a hard copy of both.
- Use keywords that show you match the position requirements.
- Put your most relevant skills at the beginning of your CV.
- Send an impersonal mailshot.
- Email CVs in a format which may be incompatible with an employer's software.
- Use jargon or abbreviations.
- Use dense blocks of text, large blank spaces, lots of different fonts.
- Forget to check spelling and grammar.
Most jobs require you to complete an application form. However, employers regularly tell us they bin hundreds of applications due to:
- Poor spelling and grammar.
- Not completing all the sections.
- Providing opinion rather than evidence.
Companies and recruitment agencies are looking for energetic, motivated and highly organised people who work well as part of a professional team. So, the interview is where you get the chance to market yourself, demonstrate your value and explain you are the ideal candidate for the job.
Getting through the job interview process successfully requires preparation and planning.
Do your homework
Find out as much as you can about the post, employer and the industry. If you have been selected by an agency, they should be able to offer you information and guidance. Don’t be afraid to ask.
First impressions count
Dress smartly and appropriately for the post you are applying for. If you are not sure, ask the agency. And be punctual.
Have copies of your documentation with you, including an up to date CV, copies of your certificates and licences and letters of recommendation.
Psychometric tests can be used as part of the recruitment and selection process by employers to assess your ability in specific skills (eg, verbal, numerical and diagrammatical reasoning) or to find out about your personal qualities by using personality questionnaires.
Ability or aptitude tests
Practising tests can be helpful to familiarise yourself with the types of questions, as well as getting feedback on your performance.
Personality questionnaires assess different aspects of your personality and they explore the way you react in different situations. There are no right or wrong answers, and they are not usually timed. They are used to see whether you would 'fit in' with the culture of the organisation and suit the role applied for. You should answer questions honestly and not try to second-guess what the employer is looking for.
When do employers use them?
Sometimes they are used in conjunction with a face-to-face interview and are often carried out at an assessment centre, along with other tests. They are sometimes used as a 'first sift' of applicants (ie, only candidates with a certain mark proceed to the next stage).
There are several websites where you can practice ability/aptitude tests and personality questionnaires:
SHL Talent Measurement: Timed verbal and numerical tests with feedback on how you compare with other applicants.
Morrisby: View examples of the ability tests found in the Morrisby Profile. Advice and information about taking psychometric tests.
Psychometric tests and questionnaires: Contains a list of online practice psychometric tests and questionnaires.
Prospects: For more detailed information on psychometric testing.
What are assessment centres?
They normally form the final part of the selection process - if you’ve reached this stage, you’re doing well.
Along with the formal interview stage, you'll be set exercises designed to assess whether you possess the competencies and personal qualities sought by the employer for that role, and your suitability for the organisation.
Exercises will assess competencies, such as leadership skills, analytical skills, oral and written communication, numerical skills, ability to work under pressure, and team working skills.
Employers will also want to see how you work with other people and how you react in social situations.
Tasks may include a range of activities including the following:
- Psychometric tests and/or personality questionnaires
- Interviews – with one or more interviewers
- Individual and/or group presentations
- Group exercises – such as a team-building task or business case study
- In-tray or e-tray exercises
- Social events
- Written exercises or case studies