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Psychometric Testing and Crew

Jan 26th 10
By Louisa Beckett

The use of psychometric tests – standardized exams designed to evaluate a candidate’s personality and occupational aptitude – is certainly not new in the employment field. Anyone applying for a job in the British Royal Navy or Royal Marines, for example, must take the standard psychometric Recruitment Test.

“This selection process has been in use for many years and has proven successful in placing individuals with the ability to cope with Naval training and who will enjoy Service life,” wrote the Royal Navy in its Procedures and Practice Test Booklet, which is handed out to each candidate prior to taking the test.

While psychometric testing is far less common in the more informal (and less dangerous) yachting industry, as yachting has become more security-conscious, psychological evaluations of potential employees has started to make inroads. TopCrewDownUnder, a yacht crew recruitment agency in New Zealand, now offers psychometric assessment as part of its services, along with an in-depth interview and multiple reference checks of potential job candidates.

One of the requirements of psychometric testing is that it be carried out by trained and qualified practitioners. TopCrew DownUnder ( is able to provide this type of testing thanks to the degrees in Organizational Psychology held by its two directors, Stephanie D’Audney (a former Chief Stew) and Haddo.

“Psychometric assessment is a way of finding out very useful information about someone’s personality,” D’Audney said. “Some of these, for example, are: how they might act in a team; how they handle stress; how conscientious they are and if they are compliant, trustworthy, anxious or an extrovert.”

These traits are particularly useful to assess when considering hiring crew for work on superyachts. D’Audney said, “As we know, living and working with the same individuals in a relatively confined space is an unusual and unique experience. The more accurate information we can gather about a candidate, the better the placement that can be made, and therefore a more cohesive crew can be achieved. Psychometric assessments can provide information about a candidate that helps a captain hire a new crewmember who will fit into the already existing culture of the vessel.”

Many yacht owners also find it useful to have a psychometric assessment of a prospective captain available before offering him or her a position.

“Having used psychometric assessments in my previous roles and finding them extremely useful and accurate, I decided to use them in recruiting my candidates for superyachts,” D’Audney said. “As mentioned, having a cohesive team is crucial to the smooth running of a vessel and I feel this can make or break a successful charter.”

In general, she said, “More emphasis should be made on the recruitment of crew. It saves a large amount of time and money if captains get the right crew from the onset. It can be stressful having to find a new crew member right before a charter and in the middle of nowhere when you’ve had to remove a destructive member of the staff.”

Looking at both sides of the crew employment equation, TopCrew DownUnder will carry out psychometric assessments on an individual basis for anyone who would be interested in the results, including owners wanting to assess potential captains; captains wanting to assess potential crew, or other yacht service agencies.


Related Topics:

What Not to Say to a Captain

Teambuilding: Essential for Crew or Waste of Time?

Top 10 Things Never to Say to a Captain


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  • sure another perk for captains who don't know how to hire. Cqn't conduct an interview and don't have the stones to can the bad apple. Corporate clones will be running the ships next.
    Posted by tubby 28/01/2010 13:20:23

  • Personality tests have been used in resturants and other service oriented business for years. But many folks don't believe that they are a smart measure on one's over all ability, skill, or over all personality for that matter. I suggest those who like to read, (and critically think) check out Barbara Ehrenreich's "Brightside". In her book, "Brightsided", Ehrenreich discusses the absurdity of these kinds of tests and the naive expectations that come with it (from employers). That and she discusses FOLKS like many of you who are a bit "too brightsided" in which she conveys as basically being dumb and pretencious -- and being less of a critical thinker. Here's my tip, instead of having one of these so called psycho-dumtrick about this: wise up, grow up, lay off drugs, respect others including guests and owners, and your job...whether one is part of your "clique" or not...and you should be fine. Hell, I'd even hire you. Course you need to be a legal resident in the port where you apply for work.
    Posted by runningoutofusernameideas 28/01/2010 06:04:43

  • Louise, I have to correct you it's not the BRITISH Royal Navy .... just the Royal Navy. Without giving an intricate history lesson into the reason why, just believe me, after spending 20 years in it I should know! For interest, any other Royal Navies also include the name of the Country: Royal Brunei Navy, Royal Canadian Navy etc etc. The English Navy is just the Royal Navy........

    On the thought of psychometric testing, it will sort the able from the none able very, very quickly! This will be tremenous for improving the current professional standards in the industry, and hopefully, put it back where it was 10 years ago or so!
    Posted by Captain Andy_1 28/01/2010 05:42:12

  • I think screening candidates for jobs and entry into courses is well overdue. Far too many people come to yachting with unrealistic expectations, yachting is not for everyone.
    Posted by Bob_8 27/01/2010 14:46:58

  • I have worked in the corporate sector for ten years where this kind of testing is standard and the truth is either they want you for your experience or they don't.
    Depending on your mood, sugar levels and fatigue can vary your answers which are never right or wrong add some interview anxiety and the test will show exactly how you wish you really are in a perfect world.
    The only real test is a trial, for example the mock questions at the top of the page seys do you have a wide circle of friends high or low?
    Are you honestly going to say you have a small circle of friends and by who's definition is a circle of friends large or small.
    I have a lot of friends which I consider to be a large circle but compared to Susan Boyle it might be considered insignificantly small.
    The truth to me is that agencies adopt these test to fancify their process and give the impression that they are thorough and that there is a sense of gaurantee that it's a good match however there is no gaurantee.
    You would be better off having a few drinks with each candidate until you see the true colours coming out.
    Posted by Ash_4 27/01/2010 01:03:15

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