At the Farm Futures Summit an attendee asked my thoughts on recruiting military candidates for the farm. On our family farm our Director of Operations is a vet with excellent leadership skills, work ethic and strategic thinking. I am a strong supporter of military recruiting. In my opinion there are five key reasons to hire.
Work Ethic – They understand the importance of adhering to a schedule and coming to work prepared and ready to be productive. They have worked the early, late and long shifts. A lack of work ethic is not accepted in the military and quite frankly should not be accepted on the farm.
Strong Communicators – Most soldiers have traveled across the US to train or have served overseas. They are constantly meeting and interacting with new people. They have typically developed stronger communication skills and have the flexibility to work with just about anyone.
Transferrable Skills – There are several jobs in the military such as heavy equipment mechanics, operators and supervisors very similar to roles on the farm. Sometimes when searching for candidates the titles won't match what is typical in our industry you will just have to look past titles and dig into what tasks they had to handle.
Training and Education – Training and education is extensive for those that serve. Not only job training for what role they are in, but management and supervisory training for the higher ranked individuals.
Team Players – The military trains, strives and prides itself on having everyone work together as a team. They only way they succeed if everyone is doing their part and working together to get it done.
Its structured environment can be a great benefit when hiring. If someone is used to excelling in a structured environment and they come to an unstructured environment on the farm that sometimes can be a miss for the employee and the employer. The employee may not produce as well and it is often due to the lack of structure they are used to.