Many manning agents who work with clients in the shipping industry are struggling to stand out amongst their sea of competitors. After all, crewing agencies are two-a-penny in traditional port towns and cities, and in seafaring nations.
But what are the reasons behind this issue? What makes one manning agency more successful than another? Why do seafarers who are looking to line up their next contract go to Agency A but not Agency B? And why do some agencies seem to have a long list of clients who they find seafarers for while others have just one or two?
There are a number of factors at work that make certain agencies more popular than others. Treating seafarers fairly and with respect and always going above and beyond for their clients are just two. And in this post we're going to take a look at another: Technology.
Why manning agents need to learn to love tech
Outdated-looking, poorly designed and hard-to-use websites or, worse still, no website at all, don’t do agencies any favors when it comes to attracting a new generation of seafarers - or new clients.
Meanwhile social media accounts that haven’t been updated in years just look bad and scream inefficiency and a lack of commitment.
And running operations through an unwieldy combination of Excel spreadsheets and physical files and documents is not efficient and doesn’t inspire client or candidate confidence in an agent’s maritime recruitment process.
Put bluntly, some manning agents could benefit from looking at a new, improved and more up-to-date way of doing things.
And yes, that means embracing technology.
Martide uses technology to streamline operations
No matter how many individuals or even companies in the shipping industry may try and resist it, there’s no getting away from the fact that technology has a huge part to play if manning and crewing agents want to keep up.
Manning agencies are such an integral part of the industry that at Martide we didn’t only design and build our end-to-end software solution for small to medium-sized shipowners, we also included manning agents in there too.
Our aim is simply to make maritime recruitment easier, faster and a lot more streamlined - for everyone.
And while job adverts are a big part of attracting candidates, having a fully functioning Applicant Tracking System to make the recruitment process a breeze, for both the employer and manning agent - as well as the seafarer - is a must too.
A clunky, manual process is only going to result in more headaches for staff as seafarer candidates (almost literally) abandon ship and take their job search elsewhere. Elsewhere meaning a direct competitor.
How Applicant Tracking Systems can help manning agents
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) were created to make anyone who works in recruitment’s life a lot less stressful. And for manning agents, obviously, a big part of your job is to track the status of your seafarer candidates as they move through the recruitment pipeline.
The good news is, at Martide we’ve made that quick and simple! We know that manning and crewing agents have any number of hopeful applicants to keep tabs on and that they need to support both the employer, as well as the seafarer, in a timely fashion.
Knowing where candidates are in the maritime recruitment pipeline is crucial. Luckily it’s also as easy as ABC when using a software solution - as opposed to Excel spreadsheets, notebooks, sheets of paper, and even post-it notes.
A truly great ATS will support your industry and all of its...quirks, shall we say! There’s little to no point using a tracking system that has been created for general recruitment. The maritime industry is so unique in the way that it hires that a software solution will need to acknowledge that.
For example, in Martide’s platform you will see not just how many candidates have applied to a position, how many have been hired, and the status of their application, you will also see the vessels, seafarer ranks, if any candidates are ex-crew, and the crew change over date.
You can also filter and sort vessels and vacancies to make it easier to find what you’re looking for as well as, of course, dig deeper into each candidate’s personal information, work experience, documents and certificates, and preferences - i.e. what vessel or engine types, or DWT they prefer and their availability date.
And like any good Applicant Tracking System, Martide’s software solution will also allow you, and your designated team members, to approve stages in the recruitment process and take them to the next one so they can continue to approve the application. Or withdraw them if you feel they aren't suitable for the vacancy.
Why technology is the way forward
Maritime recruitment, manning, and crew planning is complex and needs discipline if it is to be executed correctly and in a timely fashion. Using outmoded forms of organization and communication simply don’t translate into a successful crewing agency any more.
And with a plethora of recruitment companies for seafarers and prospective clients to choose from, manning agencies who are still relying on Word, Excel and pen and paper, and who want to see their business thrive, really do need to start considering an alternative way of doing business.
What to do next
It might surprise you to know that this is not going to be a sales pitch ending! That’s because, for your manning agency, the majority of Martide’s features and benefits are absolutely free. For example, it costs nothing to post your seafarer job vacancies on our website and to track candidates through the system.
Yes really! There are no strings attached and no hidden costs.
So if you’re a manning or crewing agent and you’d like to learn more about how Martide can help you grow your seafarer database by posting your job vacancies on our website, and then simplify your recruitment process by using our software solution, get in touch with us today.