Author: Katrina Waters, Texas Tech University
Reviewers: David Doerfert, Texas Tech University; Michael Swan, Washington State University; Diane Jackman, Texas Tech University
As an owner or manager of an agricultural business, you are faced with daily challenges. One of the greatest challenges—and perhaps the most important to your business—is hiring a new employee. By creating and following a recruitment and selection process each time you’re faced with this task, you can substantially improve your chances of hiring the best employee for the job.
Upon completion of this module, participants will be able to take the appropriate steps to more effectively recruit and select agricultural employees.
It is important to determine exactly what characteristics a potential employee needs to be successful in this position. Consider what special skills, abilities, and personality traits are required for the job. Additionally, make note of any necessary licenses or special certifications.
Writing a thorough job description is an instrumental part of the hiring process. A good job description gives potential employees an accurate idea of what the position requires and therefore helps them to decide whether or not to apply for the job.
The first aspect of the job description is the time requirement; for example, determining whether the position is full-time, part-time, seasonal or temporary. In order to further analyze the job, it might help to answer basic questions about the employee’s duties, such as: Will this person have to read, write, drive, operate machinery, manage other employees, etc.? An employer should take no skills for granted. Below is an example of a job description for a crop supervisory position with a family farm and swine operation.
The most important things to keep in mind are the needs of your business. Only when you determine what you expect out of an employee can you recruit and select the best candidate.
Once you have created a comprehensive job description, it is time to begin the recruitment process. There are a variety of popular methods for recruitment. Some of the most practiced include:
Concentrated recruitment efforts are generally more effective long-term than a shotgun approach where efforts are scattered and include random groups of people, such as advertising a herdsman position in a national industry magazine rather than a regional newspaper. No matter which recruitment methods best suit your company’s needs, the most effective tool is having a company people want to work for. Being a great employer makes it easier to retain quality people and develop a reputation of being the employer of choice.
Once word has spread about the open position, the resumes will begin to arrive. One way to set your company apart as a choice employer is to acknowledge each resume with a brief note or e-mail. In this case, going the extra mile can really pay off. Even if an applicant is not chosen for the job, he or she is likely to tell others about your operation’s professionalism.
Before thoroughly evaluating each resume, it is important to set off blocks of time where you are able to go through at each setting. Trying to analyze 20 or more resumes in one sitting will only lead to frustration and confusion. As you are reading through the resumes, it may help to divide them into three piles: one for the candidates you wish to interview; one for the candidates you may interview; and one for the candidates you will not interview.
When evaluating the resumes, it is important to not only consider the requirements of the job, but the personality and attitude of the ideal person for the job. Additionally, consider the professionalism and neatness of the resume, and note any typos or grammatical errors.
Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Before scheduling any interviews, you may want to do a pre-screening by telephone, calling your top candidates first. During this phone call, you should discuss:
Interviews should be scheduled with applicants who continue to meet your criteria. Applicants who do not appear to meet the company’s needs should be thanked for their interest and time and told you are looking for someone whose background better meets your requirements.
Before the formal interview, you should carefully prepare a list of core questions to ask each candidate, as well as any specific to one applicant, such as clarifying areas in the person’s job history. Preparation will help you keep the interview rolling and guarantee that the format and questions are the same for each applicant. If possible, the same person or persons should interview all candidates. Below are a few sample interview questions:
Although there are many great interview questions, there are a few topics that must legally be avoided. Some of them are:
An efficient interviewer does the following:
Once you have asked all of your questions, it is important to answer any questions the applicant may have about the job. If appropriate and time allows, you may give the applicant a tour of the workplace after the interview. At the close of the meeting, let the applicant know what will happen next.
After completing the interviews, it is important to evaluate the candidates to determine which one or ones would best fit the position. Once the field has been narrowed, it is time to perform reference checks on the top applicants. Recommendations from former employers speak volumes and should be an essential part of the selection process. Finally, if the decision is still a difficult one, consider the following:
Once you have identified the candidate you wish to hire, make sure you have the appropriate approval and the salary range available for the position prior to extending an offer of employment.
After the successful applicant has accepted the position, all candidates should be informed of the outcome of the search — this is especially important for those who are internal.
Record keeping is a vital component of the recruitment process. It is important to maintain various records, such as a current job description, recruitment methods and sources, applications, evaluation logs, candidates interviewed, names of the persons providing references, interview questions reference questions, the candidate selected, and the reasons for selecting the candidate. All notes should be business-related.
Recruiting and selecting the right people for your business is a significant challenge. There are no easy solutions to these problems because every situation is so unique. The best advice for managers who are looking to recruit is to be innovative, persistent and realistic. Recognizing the strengths of your business and the positions you offer will go a long way toward enticing quality people to build careers with your business.
Position Summary: The swine production associate will be involved in all aspects of breeding, farrowing, feeding, health care and handling production. Additionally, duties include maintenance responsibilities on machinery, buildings, and livestock equipment.
Background Information: This is a three-generation, expanding family farm that operates a 4,500-acre diversified crop operation and a 1,400-sow farrow-to-finish swine facility. The farm has a strong reputation for long-term employment, with employee service ranging from 5-30 years. The business is currently expanding and values employees who are interested in increased responsibility and opportunities for promotion.
Opportunities and Responsibilities: