How to Attract Top Farm Talent

How to Attract Top Farm Talent

Farm job candidates need to impress you, but for top performers, it is equally important for you to impress them

Agriculture is a dynamic industry. There's a war out there for good talent. With this war on for talent, how do farms successfully compete? How can we attract candidates to our operations?

TALENT BATTLE: Agriculture is a dynamic industry. There's a war out there for good talent. With this war on for talent, how do farms successfully compete?

The process in which a candidate selects a job today is much different from in the past. Candidates are evaluating your company throughout the entire process, from the words on your posting, to their visit to your website all the way through the interview process and finally the offer.  Their job search process is much like the way a consumer purchases a product. They are analyzing the "brand" of the product and your company is the product. They are researching you and trying to figure out your reputation and what other people are saying about your company.

According to a CareerBuilder 2011 survey of job seekers, not only do prospective employees seek out "entities with identity," 70% of job seekers will accept a lower salary to work for a company with a strong employment brand. They are more likely to select you as an employee if you have created a great impression during the recruitment process or the company has positive press or reviews online.

Yes, farm candidates need to impress you, but for top performers, it is equally important for you to impress them. Their experience and interaction with you counts on whether you can attract them into your company or they pass you by.

Quick tips on attracting good candidates:

  • Clearly written farm job descriptions that start off with a paragraph describing your company and the great culture you have created. Attract and impress them from their first read.
  • Update your website for current content, a fresh look and professional appearance. Job seekers often look up a company's website before they even apply. You don't want to rule out top talent due to an under kept site.
  • For in-person interviews, be ready to take them for a tour of your farm or facility.
  • Have one of your best employees meet the candidates to talk about what it is like working for your company. Hearing it directly from one of your employees is more impactful than hearing it from an owner.

Some planning, time and focus invested in your own image and presence can go a long way toward effectively building an all-star team of professionals to advance your operation's goals now and for the future.

– Lennard is owner/operator at management consulting firm Agprovise (www.agprovise.com), and manager in a family farm business headquartered in Ida, Mich. Read her blog, "Managing Talent," at www.FarmFutures.com

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