Anyone who has a part to play in hiring crew for their shipping company or clients’ vessels, knows that maritime recruitment isn’t as simple as just finding a qualified seafarer and placing him or her onboard a ship. If only it was that easy! Recruitment can be a challenging job in any sector, but in the maritime industry it can reduce grown men and women almost to tears!

Filling vacant seafarer jobs has never been easy thanks to the multiple variables that need to align to fulfill all the requirements of the shipowner, vessel, and rank. 

Add visas, seafaring documents, change over dates, contract variance, and minimum safe manning regulations to that list and you have a mind boggling array of permutations.

So how can shipowners and managers make life easier while also giving their maritime recruitment drive the shot in the arm it needs? What is the one thing they can do to reduce time to hire, fill vacancies more quickly and easily, and grow their seafarer candidate database?

They need to develop a maritime recruitment strategy. And that can mean implementing a number of different tactics.

Alongside posting eye-catching and targeted adverts for their vacancies, shipping companies also need to consider developing a recruitment strategy around their social media profiles. They may also collaborate with, or outsource to, maritime recruiters and manning agencies.

And if their strategy is working, they’ll need a way to ensure that they’re not making life harder than it needs to be. In other words, they need to handle all these new recruits to their candidate database cost-effectively and efficiently.

And that’s where an applicant tracking or crewing system can help. 

What is an applicant tracking or crewing system?

An applicant tracking system, or an ATS, in respect to the shipping industry is a crewing software program that looks after a candidate database, search, and hiring requirements. It’s a way of pulling all the information regarding job applicants into one centralized place. 

Basically an applicant tracking crewing system is your best friend if you work in recruitment.

As we shift towards paperless offices, a crewing system or ATS is also instrumental in cutting down on the amount of paper a shipping company uses. 

Every seafarer resume, document and certificate will be stored in the system. That eliminates the need to spend hours knee deep in files trying to find copies of visas, passports, or seaman books. And it also eliminates the horrendous waste of paper that comes with printing absolutely every document out.

A centralized, online filing system saves time and money – and trees!

Plus, if a crewing software is fully integrated it means companies can ask applicants to apply online. That not only further reduces paper usage but also drastically lowers the time spent screening candidates.

“But surely most applicants email resumes and documents”, you say. Right. But those emails are still cluttering up Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook, LinkedIn and Facebook inboxes. And recruitment officers still have to read the messages that come with each attachment.

Not any longer. If applicants are applying online that means they’ll fill in the details normally contained in their seafarer resume directly into a crewing system, and upload their copies of visas and certificates online.

We’ve come back full circle to that one centralized place where companies can access all of their candidate data, instantly, no matter whether they’re in the office or working remotely.

The other BIG benefit of an integrated crewing system

So, we’ve already mentioned it’s going to take far less time to screen candidates for seafarer jobs because applicants are now applying online and their details will all be entered into the candidate database directly.

But how is that quicker than reading a seafarer resume on paper or as an email attachment?

It’s quicker because a good applicant tracking crewing system functions using keywords. Just like in SEO. And if you know even the basics of how Search Engine Optimization works, you’ll know that by entering a word or short phrase (AKA keywords) into Google’s search bar, you’ll be shown relevant results.

Using an Applicant Tracking System in maritime recruitment can slash the time it takes to read resumes and screen candidates by simply searching for what’s relevant to the recruiter.

Let’s say someone is looking for an Ordinary Seaman with more than 2 years of experience and the relevant qualifications. They can use a crewing system to search for and filter only those candidates who have entered OS as their rank, and who match their requirements in terms of experience and education.

A good system will do more than just track candidates

Martide’s crewing system is bursting with features and functions that guide and assist users from the minute we advertise their vacancies right up to the point where the contract is signed with the applicant – and beyond.

Our crewing software solution is also intuitive to use and can be customized to the user’s very specific needs. As well as filtering candidates so that they only see the ones that have relevant skills for the position, they can also add and remove different features for each individual applicant as they create their recruitment pipeline.

If you’d like to know more about how working with Martide can help you surge ahead in the race to find, attract, hire and retain quality seafarers, get in touch with us now

<Eve Jones> for Marine Startups