We have received a number of queries from users of our website about the credibility of The Mermaid Group, a London-based recruiter of cruise jobs. So, is The Mermaid Group a scam?
The Mermaid Group are a relatively small family business who established themselves as professional recruiters in 2008. As the business currently operates from a temporary office, it has its mail directed to the office address mentioned on its website.
Suggestions have been made that The Mermaid Group charges jobseekers £10 to complete a psychometric test before they can apply for jobs.
Others claim that they have been asked to apply for jobs using a code that can only be obtained if they purchase the Mermaid Group's guide to cruise ship employment.
In the United Kingdom, it is an illegal practice to charge candidates for products or services as a precursor to applying for jobs.
According to their Terms and Conditions, "The Mermaid Group would like to make clear that the non purchase of this guide will not in any way, shape or form result in the candidates application being rejected. The Guide has been published purely for educational purposes only."
The Mermaid Group’s guide is available for purchase at £24.99. Candidates who apply for a job through the Mermaid Group receive a discount code for the guide, which they can use if they wish to.
"We have found that generally candidates who do download our book are more committed and not just jobseekers trying their luck which probably makes up 70% of applicants. This is the main reason for the book. To show commitment", Jamie Brune, the proprietor of The Mermaid Group explained.
Jamie also commented that: "We only get tests sent to shortlisted applicants. We do not charge for the test."
Some have been led to believe that the logos of the twelve major cruise lines displayed on The Mermaid Group's website are an indication that the Group recruits directly for these companies. This is not the case.
As Jamie of The Mermaid Group stated, "We do not and have never stated that we recruit for cruise lines, although this has been mistakenly mentioned in forums. We only recruit for concessionaires. Although we don't recruit directly for the companies whose logos we display, our candidates do end up working for these companies through our clients."
We believe The Mermaid Group to be a genuine and trustworthy recruiter. As a relatively small business, the way in which the group operates has been perceived by some to be questionable.
Jamie Brune of The Mermaid Group has provided sound answers in response to the queries raised by some users of our website.
We are convinced that the explanations given by Jamie Brune are satisfactory.
We therefore recommend The Mermaid Group to jobseekers who are serious about working on a cruise ship.
In July 2012, two years after this article was first published, we investigated the Mermaid Group again. We sent emails to nearly 8000 job sekers who applied for positions with the company via All Cruise Jobs and asked them to get in touch with us if they managed to secure a job on-board a cruise ship. We have not heard from a single person who got hired with their help. However, we have received hundreds of emails from people who purchased their eBook manual and took psychometric tests but never got a job on a cruise ship.
After further investigation we came to the following conclusion: The Mermaid Group do recruit for cruise ships. We have seen evidence of this. However, they also ask selected applicants to take psychometric tests on a misterious website called Outsourced Test Centre (no contact details for this website are available) and they suggest candidates could benefit from buying their eBook since it could prepare them for the test. Although their eBook has a lot of useful information, we think the Mermaid Group mislead job seekers - their eBook does not prepare candidates for the psychometric test. It contains information about working on cruise ships and what to do to find a job on-board a ship.