There’s one question we hear time and again from our clients in the ag business and beyond: “How do I find good employees?” While they all face the same general struggle, each company has its own challenges including:

  • How do I find good employees in a small, rural town?
  • We have job openings, but we can’t get anybody to apply.
  • No one wants to do this work.
  • At this point, we’d hire anyone who can fog a mirror. We just need another body!   

Have you said any of these things or felt this frustration? Probably. You know that having inadequate staffing makes things difficult for everyone on your team. It’s also a direct hit on your bottom line. Research shows the average cost of a single bad hire is $14,900.

It’s time to stop wasting your time and money on bad recruiting practices or poor hiring decisions. Here are four tips to help you start hiring right—right away. 

Define the role and what you’re looking for

Clearly identify what this position entails. Get SPECIFIC. Don’t just stop at “good customer service.” Go further—what skills and abilities does a candidate need to provide excellent service? Do you want your employees to learn customers’ names? To come out from behind the counter to greet people when they enter the store? How do you expect your team members to manage customer complaints? It may be helpful to think about how your current rock-star employees behave at work. What do they do? What skills do they have that you also want in other employees? Again, be concrete and specific.

Leverage you network

Spread the word in your business- and personal community that you’re hiring. Let your current employees know what kind of person you’re looking for, too. Who do they know who might be a good fit? You might even consider implementing an employee referral program, paying the employee at the time of the candidate’s hire and at three or six months.

Of course, if your business uses social media for marketing, share your job posting there as well. 

Perfect your pre-screening

Many businesses pre-screen candidates in person when they drop off their applications. That’s fine, although we tend to recommend pre-screening by phone to avoid interruption. Either way, be intentional and consistent in your pre-screening process and ask all the candidates the same questions. It helps to focus on the top two qualities or characteristics for the open position and develop behavior-based questions to understand how a candidate handled real situations in the past. Here are our top three pre-screening questions.

  • Tell me why you’re interested in this role.
  • Tell me about your experience as it relates to this position.
  • Include a behavior-based interview question here. Example: Tell me about a time when you had to manage a challenging customer complaint and were able to resolve it. Or, tell me about a time when you were able to anticipate your customers’ needs.


Make the interview count

Once you’ve selected which candidates to bring on-site for interviews, it’s time to create a longer list of behavior-based questions. These questions focus on past behavior. Instead of asking, “How would you …”, start your question with the words, “Tell me about a time.” These questions should be job-related (the WHAT) and should also reflect values that are important to your business culture (HOW). Common behavioral-based questions include:

  • Tell me about a difficult interaction you had with a customer.
  • Tell me about a time you took initiative to complete a task without being asked.
  • Tell me about a time you provided great customer service.
  • Tell me about a time you went above and beyond to help out a team member.
  • Tell me about a time you had to manage large orders without errors. 

Are you having a hard time finding and keeping good employees?

Shoot us an email or book a free call to discuss how to apply these concepts to your business. 

Download the guide: Achieve Your Business Goals Through Your Culture and People Strategies.

Download the guide: Achieve Your Business Goals Through Your Culture and People Strategies.

The success of your business depends on your culture. Therefore, it is critical to establish an intentional culture in your business and build strategies that support and reinforce it. The purpose of this eGuide is to provide a foundation for your business culture and ensure your people strategies and practices are aligned with it. Grab the guide - it’s free!

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