Hiring a Precision Farming Specialist?
The Article You've Been Waiting For: How Do You Find Them?
|Dawn Hillrud has worked in HR management since 2007, and with Knibbs/
associates specializes in recruiting talent in the tight agricultural labor markets, including agricultural management and sales positions. For more information, click here.
Dawn Hillrud, B.Admin; CHRP
The process of recruiting employees has changed. This article on recruitment, the last of four, will discuss that finding candidates and the processes to do so have changed.
Step Four: Find the Candidates
There has also been a dramatic shift in how all employers — not just farm equipment dealers — find candidates. To find strong candidates employers must go beyond simply posting their jobs in a local newspaper. They must capitalize on the opportunities that the Internet offers, look beyond their region, create relationships with post-secondary schools and consider candidates from associated industries.
Use the Internet — Farm equipment dealerships need to be investing time and energy in familiarizing themselves with the Internet and online social media sites such as LinkedIn. Today, many tech-savvy people create profiles on social media sites. This creates a great opportunity for employers to search and reach out to possible candidates. The employer should explore these online sites and become members of social media groups that potential employees belong to.
You might be surprised at the wide variety of social media groups out there – some that I have come across include the “Tractors and Farm Machinery Professionals Group,” the “Farm Machinery Repairs” group, etc. Use groups like these to contact potential candidates, post jobs on the page and even get a list of the members for candidate contacts.
Post your precision farming specialist jobs on the many online job boards that are available; lots are free. Seek out the job boards that are tailored specific to the farm, GPS or electronics industries. You can find the popular job boards by asking recently hired employees what job boards they searched when they were looking for work. Ensure your online ads use many “keywords” that describe your job so when someone is searching on the Internet your ad will come up. For example, a precision farming specialist might search the words “data management, precision support or auto-guidance technology.” Have key words in your online ads so that if any of them are searched your job comes up.
Look Beyond Your Local Region — As mentioned in article one, people are mobile. They will change locations and jobs easily. Capitalize on this and seek out professionals from outside your geographic area. Draw candidates to your dealership by explaining why your workplace and your area are better than where they currently are. Don’t be afraid to post on job boards that are for a different geographic region. If you are in Alberta, post on the Manitoba boards — you never know who might see the ad and are interested.
Create Relationships With Post-Secondary Schools — Connect with the instructors and career counsellors of post-secondary institutions that train the candidates you seek. Get face-to-face with students (don’t become one advertisement in a sea of ads posted on a schools job board) and explain what sets your dealership and job apart from the competition. Create relationships with students long before they have graduated so when they are ready to start their career you are first and foremost in their mind. Setting up a booth at the institution’s career fair might work but go beyond that. Don’t be afraid to do things that may be considered out of the ordinary (like serve pizza to the ag or electronic students over lunch) to stand out.
Consider Candidates from Related Industries — When hiring in a tight labor market, farm equipment dealers also need to consider candidates from outside of the agriculture industry. For example, remind yourself that an electronics specialist in the mining industry who has a natural electronics and customer service inclination will have many skills that transfer to being a precision farming specialist.
Furthermore, keep in mind that a good salesperson in any industry knows how to build relationships and if they are “truly great” at sales they will learn the product you’re selling. If a salesperson has sold successfully in one industry — know that once you invest the energy in training them on your precision farming products and technology — they will do well in the farm industry too.
Commit to finding candidates that can achieve the requirements of your specialist position and extend this commitment to providing them with the industry knowledge that will speed up their success with you.
By going beyond a simple job posting, employers will be more successful in finding the best candidates.
Part One, January 19th issue: Understanding the Changes
Part Two, February 2nd issue: Before Placing Your First 'Help Wanted' Ad
Part Three, February 16th issue: Use 'Dynamic Messaging' to Increase Number of Applicants