How To Hire The Best Employees In 7 Steps

Christina HerrickIn this month’s cover story, Apple Grower of the Year co-winner Jeannette Evans advises growers to “surround yourself with as good a people as you can find. You’re as good as the people you surround yourself with.”

Evans is right. The success of your business depends on hiring the right people to fill your needs. Sometimes staffing can be an afterthought, but your business is only as strong as the employees you hire. But, exactly how do you hire the right people?

In a session at this year’s North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association convention, Judy Kolk of Klayben Farms presented tips for successful recruitment and offered advice on what to ask when you are interviewing potential employees. Here’s 7 steps to hire the best employees.

1. Know What You’re Looking For — Kolk says before you place a help wanted ad or start interviewing candidates, think about:

  • Values most important to you and your business;
  • Qualities and skills your best employees have;
  • Staffing needs you have.

2. Write A Good Job Description — Use all the information you’ve gleaned from the questions above to describe the culture of your business, what your expectations are, and what employees will be getting out of the position. Screen applications and resumes for qualities that you’ve identified as being important to you and your business. Take note of any experience that would also make a candidate a good fit.

3. Seek Employees In Creative Ways — Use your farm’s Facebook page or Twitter account to advertise for a position. You can create a “jobs” or “career” page on your farm’s website as well. Think about asking for referrals from current and past employees and even from local clubs and organizations (4-H, church groups, library, etc.).

4. Details Matter — Kolk says she won’t consider a candidate for a job until he or she has completed a basic application, and this sets a professional tone to the process. She also asks for a minimum of two references with current telephone numbers. Once you’ve selected some potential candidates to conduct interviews with, pay close attention to the little details during the interview — the applicant’s body language, promptness, etc. Little details matter to you and your business, and those should matter in interviews, too.

5. Take Your Time When You’re Interviewing — Don’t rush through the interview; set the tone by making clear what the position is and start by verifying the candidate’s information. This allows the applicant time to get comfortable and relax — you’ll have a better interview experience.
Listen and take notes on the type of answers the candidate is giving — are they positive or negative, critical or resentful? Follow up on vague answers. Ask behavioral questions to reveal how the candidate approaches challenges, their resourcefulness, and personal responsibility such as “Can you describe a situation when you had to do something at work that you did not know how to do?”

6. Do Your Homework — When checking references, ask about the candidate’s reliability, teach-ability, quality of work, and impact on the team. Also think about asking:

  • How did he/she take correction?
  • Would you hire him/her again?
  • Would you trust this person with money or keys?
  • List the top three strengths of the candidate.

7. Follow-Up — As the interview is wrapping up, make sure to describe the next steps. Kolk says that if you have any concerns about a candidate, ask for a third reference as a test. If a third reference isn’t supplied, the candidate shouldn’t be considered. After you’ve made a job offer to the candidate, and he or she accepts, send a welcome letter and include vital information such as start date and time, clothing requirements, and orientation and training requirements.

Although it may seem like a long approach, taking extra steps in the hiring process will help assure that you’ve selected the right people to be ambassadors for your farm market. Your customers will feel welcomed, and this will hopefully result in more sales and a successful season for you and your business.

Topics: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Business Planning Stories

Business PlanningIncrease Your Farmers Market Sales In A SNAP
July 8, 2014
The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — and incentives that can double your sales to SNAP recipients — could be an untapped marketing opportunity for your produce . Read More
Business PlanningThe Most Important Ag Census Number: 257,000 Millennials [Opinion]
June 5, 2014
The recent release of USDA’s Census of Agriculture shows some interesting trends in the demographic makeup of our nation’s farms and farmers. Read More
Business PlanningAg Leadership Names Four New Board Members
June 2, 2014
New board members bring business experience and much more to the the table. Read More
Business PlanningBuild A Better Business Plan For Your Farm
June 1, 2014
Setting goals and plotting how to reach them can help young farmers successfully navigate today’s financially troubled waters. Read More
Business PlanningFarm Credit Of Central Florida Announces Profit Sharing Gains
May 15, 2014
Patronage refunds strong despite difficult economic times. Read More
Business Planning5 Tips To Secure Your Farm’s Financial Future
May 1, 2014
It's never too early to start building your personal and business nest eggs. Read More
Business PlanningFree Trade Dynamics Deliver Possibilities, Perils To Ag Producers
April 23, 2014
In a global economy, growers should be aware of market threats and opportunities. Read More

The Latest

Business PlanningFarm Executive Workshop To Build Management, Leadership…
November 17, 2014
Penn State Extension offering unique learning event for those looking to bolster business. Read More
Business PlanningHow To Hire The Best Employees In 7 Steps
August 8, 2014
The success of your farm market business depends on finding the right people to fill your needs. Read More
Business PlanningHow To Secure A Farm Loan
August 1, 2014
From written plans to balance sheets, there are steps you need to take before moving forward with finances. Read More
Business PlanningIncrease Your Farmers Market Sales In A SNAP
July 8, 2014
The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — and incentives that can double your sales to SNAP recipients — could be an untapped marketing opportunity for your produce . Read More
Business PlanningThe Most Important Ag Census Number: 257,000 Millennial…
June 5, 2014
The recent release of USDA’s Census of Agriculture shows some interesting trends in the demographic makeup of our nation’s farms and farmers. Read More
Business PlanningAg Leadership Names Four New Board Members
June 2, 2014
New board members bring business experience and much more to the the table. Read More
Business PlanningBuild A Better Business Plan For Your Farm
June 1, 2014
Setting goals and plotting how to reach them can help young farmers successfully navigate today’s financially troubled waters. Read More
Business PlanningFarm Credit Of Central Florida Announces Profit Sharing…
May 15, 2014
Patronage refunds strong despite difficult economic times. Read More
Business Planning5 Tips To Secure Your Farm’s Financial Future
May 1, 2014
It's never too early to start building your personal and business nest eggs. Read More
Business PlanningFree Trade Dynamics Deliver Possibilities, Perils To Ag…
April 23, 2014
In a global economy, growers should be aware of market threats and opportunities. Read More
Business PlanningCalifornia Nurseryman To Discuss Land Use Dispute On Na…
April 14, 2014
John Duarte to appear Thursday on Fox Business Network’s Stossel Show with John Stossel. Read More
Business PlanningFundamentals Of The Affordable Care Act For Growers
April 3, 2014
Here’s what small ag employers need to know as you prepare to implement changes required by national healthcare reform. Read More
Business PlanningNew Farm Bill Encourages Growers To Buy Crop Insurance
March 12, 2014
Coverage critical as risks stand in the way of reward. Read More
Business PlanningHow To Handle Human Resource Hurdles
March 1, 2014
Help is available for growers dealing with employee conflicts, looking for training options, and wading through legal matters. Read More
Business PlanningOpinion: Diversify Your Farm Or Die Trying
February 18, 2014
Choosing not to place all your eggs in one basket (so to speak) is being done out of necessity rather than novelty — and it’s paying off Read More
Business Planning2 Ways Growers Can Adapt In An Improving Economy
February 13, 2014
Follow these tips to sustain your profit margin as commerce starts to rev up. Read More
Business PlanningPreparation Pays In Succession Planning Process
February 1, 2014
Experts say the time is right for ensuring the viability of transferring your farm to the next generation. Read More
Business PlanningFlorida Specialty Crop Foundation Draws Strength From W…
January 31, 2014
Organization helps industry members, as well as the local community, excel through education, research, and philanthropy Read More