Last week I sat down with a client and we discussed his team and the recruitment strategy for a new position he has open. He of course wants what most farmers want from an employee; drive and ambition, critical thinking and mechanical ability. As the client described his ideal candidate, "they just get it."
Last time I checked that list has nothing to do at all with farming. Most of the inherent traits and abilities we are looking for in candidates don't actually have to do with farming. Isn't it true that a smart, driven individual could be taught how to operate equipment in a relatively short time? Than why would that be hiring criteria? I have hired plenty of operators with farm backgrounds that can't actually operate well and yet have hired ones that have never operated and are great at it.
I can guess what you are going to say. You have concerns that those individuals can get up to speed quickly enough and become productive in a short time. You're worried about the amount of time it will take to pass on farming knowledge. These are valid questions. If you hire for some of those attributes we mentioned prior, the new employee will be able to get up to speed rather quickly and they will not need to be told four times to get something done like some of your other employees.
What can your farm gain from hiring outside of the industry? A ton of value if you are open to it.
The employee that has no prior knowledge of your industry does not come with a pre-conceived notion of how to handle various situations. He will bring a new perspective and fresh ideas that may offer solutions no one else has come up with. He can bring new ways to solve old problems. If you hired everyone with the same exact talents your company's potential will be limited by only what you know.