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How to Overcome the Challenges in Agricultural HR

WorkHorse Hub June 3, 2019

So, it’s time to hire a new employee. For some, this process is exciting as the opportunity of adding a great person should be! While on the other hand, many view this task as daunting. From creating the job description to interviewing, it can be a cumbersome process. Many struggle to execute on the steps to finding a pool of candidates then narrowing them down. A few of the questions that crosses the minds of employers include - how can you determine if the person sitting in front of you is qualified for the position? Will this person fit in well with your company culture? Add on top of that, are they actually being honest about their skill sets?

Over the last few years, we at WorkHorse have come to recognize these challenges and continue to work towards providing solutions. Whether you’re hiring skilled employees such as Service Technicians or are trying to fill an entry level role such as a General Labourer, each present their unique circumstances. Find out how you can stop dragging yourself through the hiring mud and plow through the obstacles by checking out our tips!

Challenge #1: “I can’t find any local, qualified candidates!”

This evident challenge is the one we hear the most and unfortunately it will only continue to progress. According to the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council, by 2025 there will be over 114,000 jobs in the ag industry that will be unfilled. However, there is hope! The opportunity and solution lies with international candidates. At WorkHorse, we have matched global job seekers with employers in Canada and have heard awesome success stories! Don’t shy away from this option as these global employees are eager to work and can be a valuable asset to your agribusiness.

Challenge #2: “My job ad isn’t bringing in the type of employees I want.”

This is a popular topic amongst our clients. How can you create a job ad that drives the right people to apply? To begin, we must explain that no matter what, there will always be job seekers who apply that are not qualified. Despite this, maybe they have other strengths that could benefit your company. Try to keep an open mind!

For the job ad itself, we always suggest keeping it short and concise. Provide a description of your company and give it some personality. Then, dive into the details of what an employee can expect their day-to-day tasks to look like. Finally, give a few points to the type of person you are looking for. Such as, will they need to be team-oriented or be able to work independently? These details and more are important. Use bullet points to make it easy to read and drive the point you are trying to get across.

Challenge #3: “Are people not interested in working in agriculture?”

As an industry overall, it’s evident that many are unaware of the opportunities within agriculture. Companies have recognized this and have started to make changes in order to overcome it. In the past few years more programs have started to educate various age groups on why they should consider working in this industry. From career fairs to post secondary programs, the educational aspect has ramped up and brought in those who would never considered this sector. Additionally, machinery dealerships are providing apprenticeship programs for students to work with them while obtaining an education. While this is not an immediate solution, it will continue to drive the idea of making agriculture a destination career choice!

Challenge #4: “I reach out to potential employees and never hear back, why?”
Unfortunately, this happens more than we’d like to admit. With many job opportunities available, job seekers can be particular in the position the acquire. Most commonly known in the online dating world, “ghosting” is a term that is now used in the recruitment sector to describe employees who never respond to employers or start the hiring process and disappear.

In order to decrease the chances of this happening, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, are you offering a competitive compensation? Are the perks of the job appealing enough? Do some research and see what other companies are offering for similar positions. Another tip is many people don’t actively check emails and answer calls from numbers they don’t know. Try texting! Finally, if a job candidate does apply, respond with a sincere message. Avoid copying and pasting a generic message and show you’ve read their resume and appreciate their qualifications.

Hiring employees for the agriculture sector comes with some unique barriers. If you can adapt to these changes while managing expectations, we can assure you that you’ll find that right candidate! Stay patient, keep an open mind, and challenge yourself to try new strategies for searching for employees.

Tell us, how have you overcome these challenges and others when hiring a new employee?


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