Hire to Fit the Farm

October 3, 2013 09:51 PM

Make employee choices that fit your farm values

What is the biggest cost for a company? Most CEOs will answer "people," but it’s not the people—it’s the wrong people who might not be aligned with your farm’s values and culture.

Best Hiring Practices:

• Don’t hire just to fill a spot. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. WAIT!
• Hire using a job description and needed skills.
• Interview for skills and values (fit to job and fit to farm).
• Use behavior-based interview questions to get specifics.
• Forget gut hiring.
• Use only legal questions.

According to a 2012 CareerBuilder poll, 41% of participating companies had experienced a cost of at least $25,000 per single bad hire, while 24% had incurred $50,000. The cost includes loss of productivity and time, cost to recruit and train a new employee, and employee morale being affected. No matter how established your organization, bad hires negatively affect it.

"You need to hire to fit your culture; not only to fit the job," says Laura Cornille-Cannady, a farm business consultant who specializes in human resources. "Farmers get short-handed and need to fill jobs quickly, but remember, you are not just hiring hands—you are hiring a body, soul and mind. If you hire someone with the wrong values that doesn’t fit your culture, it can spoil the whole bunch of employees."

Ask Behavioral Questions. One way to hire employees who fit your farm values is to ask behavior-based questions that help identify core values and competencies.

For example, if one of your core values is passion, you might ask candidates to describe a situation where they felt strongly about a project, what steps were taken to accomplish the objective and what was the end result.

The premise of behavior-based questions is that past behaviors are a good predictor of future ones.

"You can teach a skill, but it’s harder to teach core values, so make sure those match your business," says Cornille-Cannady.

It is best to combine both the traditional job-fit interview questions with your culture-fit questions; you want people in your organization to live and represent your core values, but you also need these people to be able to deliver results that will help you and your organization achieve your goals.

Human Resource Tips at EWA

ExecWomenInAg FINAL small

To hear more from Laura Cornille-Cannady and several other farm business experts, plan to attend our third annual Executive Women in Agriculture conference, which will be held Dec. 5-6, at the InterContinental, Downtown Chicago. To register and view a tentative agenda, visit www.execwomeninag.com.

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