Information for seafarer’s candidates

How we recruit seafarers

Our experienced Recruitment Team is constantly looking for the right calibre candidates to satisfy needs of Columbia Shipmanagement and its clients. Because our Recruitment Superintendents are working only with limited number of clients their superior knowledge of client’s requirements gives you a head start with your new carrier by constant use of all open positions and with support of our extensive database of qualified seafarers and of our large network of regional crewing offices.CSM Baltija Recruitment Superintendents upon receiving properly filled in Crew Data Sheet and registering it in our database will try to match all available open positions against your personal qualifications, experience on a particular type of ships and all other available professional information. They will also constantly search through candidates’ database and then will contact appropriate candidate to establish their interest and suitability for an open vacancy.

Having analysed all available candidates for an open position and interviewed and vetted them , CSM Baltija Recruitment Superintendent will arrange personal intake interviews with you by CSM Baltija Marine or Technical Superintendent in person in our office and/or over the phone or Skype.
Subject intake interview was successful you will be directed for a personal visit either to CSM Baltija office for Latvian applicants or other Columbia Shipmanagement regional offices (which are much more close to you place of residence) in Russia (St.Petersburg, Novorossiysk) , Ukraine (Odessa, Sebastopol), Georgia (Tbilisi, Batumi ) to pass an official MARLINS English Language and CES Professional Tests.
All tests are free of charge for all candidates.

Only for 4 top positions and namely (Master, Ch. Mate, Ch. Engineer and 2nd Engineer) additional professional interview will be arranged from one of our Head Office in Limassol or Hamburg. Such interview with Ch. Mate and 2nd Engineer is final and candidate will be either approved or rejected for the final employment.
In case of successful interview arranged with one of CSM Head Office, both Master and Ch. Engineer will be invited to visit for interview and briefing to one of our Head Offices. Such office visit with all relevant expenses will be for account of Columbia and will be absolutely free of charge for a candidate.

Our goal in recruitment

Using the right and professional recruitment company like CSM Baltija will save your efforts, reduce your time once looking for a job and allow you to get your professional in-house training and briefing before you board your first ship with CSM.

What actually motivates Recruitment Superintendent in his daily job and while contacting you?
They are constantly filling up vacancies for CSM to make company ships to work flawlessly and in order not to delay other crew members on board making crew changes in a timely manner. Our Recruitment Superintendents are therefore taught to “qualify” company’s vacancies against your professional background and relevant sea-service.
Recruitment Superintendents are aiming to short-list a smallest number of qualified candidates. They will be well briefed on company’s background and the exact open vacancy including terms and conditions prior to arranging an intake interview with you.

Open Vacancies – what is Recruitment Superintendent looking for?
• Can candidate be matched against open position as far as his qualification, sea-service, other requirements for the open position are concerned?
• Were wages, terms and other conditions were agreed by the prospective candidate?
• Is candidate is forthcoming, open, co-operative, helpful and communicative?
• Is open position attractive to the Candidate?
• Are areas of prospective’ vessel trading, crew’s compliment, ship’s age and technical condition acceptable for the candidate?
• Is a readiness date being dealt with and agreed?
• Is it a complete commitment from the candidate to pass all necessary tests and interviews and to wait a specified time for a company answer? Depending on a position/rank such delay might take a few days to check the candidate’s qualification and references;
• Does the candidate agree that his references are checked with previous employers?
• Does the package offered match candidate expectations?
• Are the Company and the career prospects attractive to the candidate?

How fast reaction should I expect from Recruitment Superintendent?
This is a difficult question to answer because they concentrate on candidates who as per daily List of Open vacancies match Owners’ expectation for those positions.
Every Crew Data Sheet which you sent to or when you apply on line your application will be automatically entered to the company’s database for a future use however if this is not in accordance with current open positions requirements there will be no immediate reaction.
Having said that we really appreciate every application sent to us and sincerely believes that sooner or later your qualifications will be required for another open position. Without your information we will be not able to know that you are looking for a job. Every candidate counts and valuable for us!
If you have done your job properly in filling up our standard Crew Data Sheet we will have all information which we need to process your job application from you and a proper understanding of your personality, professional background and the job’ fit you are looking for.

You have stopped contacting me. What went wrong?
Please make sure that you indicate as many as possible contact numbers (including your Next of Kin), including e-mail, SKYPE, Fax numbers, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc to enable us to contact you on constant basis.
Please don’t change your contact numbers or at least keep one contact number always the same because otherwise you will be not reachable for us. In case of any changes please find time to inform us accordingly. We are going a great length to keep our database updated all the time but your input and help are absolutely necessary and important.
Recruitment Superintendents are learning from your feedback, updates and personal contacts. Lack of feedback or communication, impossibility to contact you on your contact numbers, switched off mobile phones, incorrect e-mails and other wrong contact information clearly indicates that the candidate is no longer interested in filling the open position or have found another job at sea.

Keeping in touch with your Recruitment Superintendent.
You need to know that Recruitment Superintendent is very interested in you, particularly the best ones, who may be looking at several other options simultaneously. Our Recruitment Superintendents will be working with you throughout the process to keep your expectations managed and to avoid any disappointments. If Recruitment Superintendent doesn’t know what’s happening at your end, you keep silent, not responding to phone calls, e-email messages it becomes difficult to do this.
We know that every recruitment is built on mutual trust and correct information shared by both parties and the whole process can easily come to the wrong conclusion about your true intentions and ours if proper communication is ignored. Contact is everything in the recruitment process, on both sides.

Should I meet my Recruitment Superintendent?
This is a best possible solution! The better you know each other, the better a job your Recruitment Superintendent will be able to do for you.
Don’t spare a chance to remind to Recruitment Superintendent that you came back from your last tour of sea-duties, about your new readiness date, about your new promotion, about your last sea-service, about your new qualification, about your new contact numbers, etc. Good dialogue makes opportunities for you to multiply.

Please always remember that all services provided by CSM Baltija in recruitment process are free of any charge to the candidate.

Crew Data Sheet advice

Your Crew Data Sheet is your personal advertisement. Together with a covering letter, it gives you an opportunity to “sell” yourself and impress a potential employer.
Please always remember that Recruitment Superintendent may have another few applications for consideration for the very same vacancy. Lots of Crew Data Sheets don’t even get considered because they are not completely filled in and important information is missing. To avoid this we attach for your kind attention a specimen of correctly filled in Crew Data Sheet to enable you to make your own application to stand out from other candidates. Please make your Crew Data Sheet to be filled up with required information as much as possible to make it easy to read, understand and easy to find out whom you are.

Additional rules for your application.
Together with correctly filled in Crew Data Sheet please always attach a short summary.
• Don’t send your summary and Crew Data Sheet to numerous recruitment companies at the same time. It shows that you are just “shopping around” and not completely serious about employment with our company.
• Please keep it short ;
• Attach any other important documents like additional qualifications, Letters of Promotions, Appraisal Reports, Letters from previous Employers, any other important information which will show you as the most suitable candidate for an open position;
• Please always provide us with Reference’s numbers from your previous employers to make reference checks faster;
Always include a short summary to the body of your e-mail which you sent to
Good summary “grabs” recruitment Superintendent attention within the first 10 seconds of reading of your application.

What to expect after submitting Crew Data Sheet

We will try to provide you with best possible services which normally will save your time to find employment with Columbia Shipmanagement and its clients, who operates exclusively via our office.
Information down below will help you to get the best out of us.

Take professional advice.
As a potential candidate you might be lost in numerous offers, great number of specialist web-based forums and direct solicitation from other Crewing and Manning Agencies. Under normal conditions you are not obliged to take any advice from anyone including CSM Baltija. After all, it is your personal decision and no one understands your requirements, likes and dislikes better than you however CSM Baltija is handling similar vacancies every day and is able to provide you with valuable and the most important with impartial information on a current available level of CSM salaries and other fridge benefits and bonuses for all open positions and even positions which don’t appear as open for a moment but might be available in the future.
Please remember that CSM Baltija will be always able and willing to offer a helpful insight when it comes to evaluation of your current offers for a job’ placing with different companies.

How many offers should I expect?
This is a difficult question to answer, but you will be matched against open vacancies which are published daily on our web site and therefore should not be receiving a large number of offers.
If you have done your job properly with filling up Crew Data Sheet or by applying on line, we will have a full application from you and a proper understanding of the person and the cultural fit that we are looking for. Our aim as Recruiter is short-list only a small number of qualified candidates. They will be invited for a personal interviews in our office or via phone/Skype.

What if I not receive any offer?
It might happen only for two reasons:
• You didn’t fill up completely our Crew Data Sheet or on-line application whereby some valuable information is missing. Please always try to provide as much information as possible ;
• Your qualification, sea-service, wages’ expectations don’t much Open Vacancy as published on our website. It is not a problem and we will keep you application for a future use and you will be regularly kept informed about open vacancies relevant to you on our fleet by SMS or by e-mails.

You’ve stopped sending me offers by e-mails and by SMS. Why is that?
The most simple answer is that there are no open vacancy on our fleet which match your qualification, sea-service and wages’ expectations.
Another most likely reason is that we have not received constructive feedback on previously sent e-mails to you , refusal to pass necessary tests and verbal interviews, failed to answer our phone calls or ignored our invitations for an office visit. CSM Baltija Recruitment Superintendents always learn from available feedback and they also struggling from serious lack of feedback or communication that seafarers are no longer interested in filling the job or found it somewhere else. There is an old saying “It takes two for a tango…”

Should I meet CSM Baltija Recruitment Superintendent in person?
If you are invited to our office, then absolutely YES! The better we know you, the better dialogue established between us the better it will work in process of securing a proper and well paid job for you.
If you did your job in filling up our Crew Data Sheet properly or provided us with full information by applying On Line you made a very important step in finding a job with Columbia Shipmanagement!

Intake interview advice

Make your own research about company you applying to.
It is not a good practice when you apply to the company and don’t know basic facts about that company. Just make a proper research about company you applying to on their website and specialized marine forums. If you can’t give good answers to yourself it might be a wrong decision to apply.

Study carefully open positions on our Website.
Always read carefully description of open position on our corporate Website. Please pay attention to ship’ type, size, main engine maker and main engine output. We are trying to put open positions descriptions together carefully based on our client’s requirements. If for whatever reasons you are not able to “fit” to the open ship’s position’ description our clients will not consider you for that open position. Don’t be disappointed! Sooner or later you will find a position which will correspond your own qualification, sea-service, experience and wages’ expectations. In any case you will be kept informed about open positions corresponding your rank, ship’s size, type, etc. via e-mails and SMS from us.

General requirements for Senior Officers for our fleet:
Not less than 2 full contracts in a Rank on a similar size’ vessels engaged in the international trade.

Show to Recruitment Team that you’re interested.
Once you are contacted by our Recruitment Team don’t hesitate to ask the Recruitment Superintendent questions about our company, wages’ level, carrier opportunities, ship’s trading area, nationalities mix on board, etc.
Try to demonstrate that you are really interested in employment with CSM and not just “shopping” around.
It might be a very good idea to have your questions written down in advance to make sure you don’t overlook anything during your first contact with our Recruitment Team. Try to record name and contact number of our Recruitment Superintendent for a future contacts.
At the end of the first contact with our Recruitment Team don’t be afraid to express your enthusiasm for the position and don’t hesitate to ask what the next stage in the recruitment process will be and when you can expect to be invited for the professional intake interview.

Dress code for a visit to the office.
We don’t expect candidate to come for an interview dressed smartly. Just dress conservatively and casually.
If senior officers invited to our Head Offices for a final interview and briefing we do expect our candidate to dress in white shirt and black trousers or suit. Officer’s uniform is also very welcome.

Competency based interviews for seafarers.
Competency based testing and interviewing is an industry requirements.
Candidates are expected to pass following competence interviews:
• CES professional on-line test for all officers;
• MARLINS on line test for all officers. (CSM Baltija is an approved test centre for MARLINS);
• Verbal competency interview with our Nautical or Technical Superintendent in our office or over Phone/Skype;
• Only for 4 top officers verbal competency interview from Head Office (Cyprus, Germany) by Phone/Skype in our office;
• Only for Masters, Ch. Mates and Ch. Engineers obligatory visit to our Head Office in Cyprus for a final intake interview and briefing.
Please note that all tests are absolutely free of charge to any applicant. The same apply to visit to our Head office. All expenses are always for our account.

Advice for a verbal interview/assessment.
Always listen to the questions carefully. Every particular question being asked for a very serious reason.
It is a good idea to refresh your professional knowledge by reading professional books, manuals or surfing the web. Reflect on your previous experience on board of your ships and try to be fully aware about latest changes in maritime legislation, environmental protection which are relevant to you rank.
Competency based verbal interviews and computer-based professional tests are designed to demonstrate whether you can fulfil the job in question and to operate modern equipment on board of our ships efficiently and safely.

DOs and DON’ts





• Register with agencies with proven records
Most Manning and Crewing Agencies specialise in a specific shipping
market segments and usually work for own “Mother Companies” and as a
result will have serious difficulties with providing a high level of
service to every candidate that registers. The closer your background
matches the Crewing Agency specialist area of business the better
response and the level of service you will receive.

CSM Baltija is working exclusively for CSM and CSM Clients.

• Be realistic in your expectations
CSM Baltija will only put you forward as a candidate for open position
in case we think that you have a chance of being approved by CSM or by
CSM Client. Please don’t be disappointed if we can’t offer your
employment if it requires skills, competences you have no experience of.

• Only apply for a position which specifically match your skills,
competences and past experience

CSM Baltija will be not able to offer you a job or forward your
application to CSM and it Clients if you don’t possess minimal
requirements for that open position. We can’ consider applications which
require immediate promotion. For example current 3rd Mate is applying
for a position of 2nd Mate even all other his skills, competence and
experiences are in line with CSM own requirements.

• Keep constantly in contact

In recruitment process communication is the most important aspect. Final
decision about your employment opportunities is always with CSM/Owners
and Clients and not with CSM Baltija and therefore failure to
communicate properly, in time and able to respond quickly to Recruitment
Superintendent’ request for an additional information, readiness for
interview, etc. demonstrates either a proper commitment from a candidate
or a complete lack of interest or unprofessionalism and may lead
Recruiter Superintendent to select another candidate.

To make your connection with CSM Baltija easy and at no cost to you we
placed two Skype buttons on our Website to enable you to contact our
Recruitment Superintendents easily at any time.

• Don’t work with Crewing and
Manning agencies who send your CV to others or publish your application
on line without informing you

There is a very serious danger that you will work with unprofessional
agencies or your personal information might end up in a wrong hands.
Still, there are a lot of agencies which will try to get money from you
for offering you to Principals with dubious nature and shaky financial
situation. Reliable agencies will never ask for any fees from seafarers
and will always provide information about their Principals and Owners
for whom they are working for.

• Don’t think you don’t need to prepare for intake interviews

Modern days shipping is full of challenges and this is ever changing
words of new information, legislation and new standards. You need to be
on top with latest requirements for your rank and position on board and
for open position you applying for. Make sure that you prepare yourself
thoroughly and it will show in the interview. CSM Baltija has a good
training class, large library, computer-based training and last but not
least professional trainers who are always ready to help you to refresh
your professional knowledge.

Recruitment and the law

Current legislation in Latvia in respect of recruitment and manning agencies.
Any recruitment and manning agency in Latvia (and CSM Baltija is not an exclusion at all!!) should be guided by national and international bylaws, laws and by the international conventions currently in force for a maritime industry.
Latvian Maritime Administration requires any crewing and manning agency in Latvia to pass an annual audit with issuing relevant Certificate of Compliance.
In addition CSM Baltija has passed an independent audit by Lloyd Register (see Our Certificates) both, for ISO standards and ILO (MLC 2006) Convention.
One of the most serious aspect of our daily job is protection of seafarers’ personal information.
The law demands respect for the privacy of each individual seafarer.
CSM Baltija can not introduce seafarers to CSM and to CSM Clients unless we have the following information:
• The true identity of the seafarer;
• Readiness date to join ship;
• Fitness for Duty as evidenced by the most recent medical examination in approved medical centres;
• Readiness to accept offered terms and conditions for on open position. Crewing Superintendent will explain in details: ship’s type, area of navigation, Union Cover, type of work, hours of work, any risks to health & safety, etc.
• The past experience, education, training, qualifications and necessary Flag State authorisations required;
CSM Baltija quarterly is providing a list of all seafarers who joined our Fleet to Latvian Maritime Administration.