Tips to Successfully Recruit New Hires

January 8, 2014 03:14 AM

Tips to successfully recruit and onboard new hires

Businesses often hire new employees to alleviate the work load of others, but they can’t just be thrown into the mix and expected to succeed.

"The No. 1 challenge in bringing in a new employee is underestimating the time commitment," says Barb Dartt, GROW Family Business Advisors. "A new employee requires a lot of time spent selecting, training and monitoring."

"A new employee requires a lot of time. It should make life harder for a while—even with a fabulous hire."

You can’t give anything away until you have a competent employee who’s been around for a little while, she says, noting that in the interim, a new employee doesn’t make life easier. It should make life harder for a while—even with a fabulous hire.

Many farmers lack experience in the recruitment and selection practices that increase the odds that a new hire will be a good fit.

"Farmers cannot meet their goals by hiring from the bottom of the barrel," says Tracey Renelt, South Dakota State University Extension dairy field specialist. "We need to attract good people who are willing to work for others. The answer to hiring a good employee lies in developing a plan for filling positions."

Dartt encourages farmers to use the right tools and to bring on new employees in a way that’s commensurate with the kind of impact the new employee can have on the team.

Once you’ve selected a new employee, get them off to a healthy start, Dartt says. Two things you can do to get your employee started right are prepare an offer letter and provide an orientation as part of onboarding. The offer letter should offer them the job and include wages, benefits, vacation time, start date and any contingencies, such as a background check, drug test and successful review of references.

While all of these things should have been discussed in the interview process, the offer letter is a formality and sets expectations. It gives you an opportunity before you hire to set expectations in a way that should make the challenges of the role very clear. This is your last chance to assess a candidate’s fit with the role.

Don’t ask the candidate to sign the letter right away. Give them an opportunity to go back and look at it. Let them know that they can call you if they have questions. If you don’t hear from them in a day or two, follow up and let them know that you are happy to answer any questions. They should sign the offer letter; that’s part of their signaling that they are comfortable with the expectations that you’ve outlined.

Once they’ve signed, you’re ready to begin orientation. 

Tips to hire new employees

  • Create a position outline. Define the outcome you want from the role being filled. This starts with a results statement outlining how performance will be measured and details day-to-day tasks and standards of behavior.
  • Recruit "passive" candidates. A passive candidate might be one that isn’t actively looking or is someone actively looking, but is only going through their network and they’re already employed.
  • Spend time planning the selection process. Once you have a candidate pool, how will you proceed? Will you screen by phone? Will there be a skills-assessment test? Will others be involved in the interview process?

For more tips and resources to help ensure a successful hire, check out

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