We hear the same question from clients and ag businesses.  “How do I find good employees?”  While we hear the same question, businesses face different struggles:

  • We are based in a rural area, how do I find good employees in a small town?
  • We have job openings but we can’t get anybody to apply.
  • No one wants to do this work.
  • At this point we are hiring anyone because we just need a body.

Have you said any of these things?  Or felt these pain points?   Not only is it difficult for you, your leaders and your team members, it is a direct hit on your bottom line.  The average cost of a bad hire is $14,900 per bad hire, according to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey for Small Businesses.

Stop wasting your money on bad recruiting practices or poor hiring decisions.  Not sure what to do or where to start? Here are 4 tips:

Finding Good Candidates

  • Clearly identify what is needed in the position. Get SPECIFIC. Don’t just stop at “good customer service.” Go further – what kinds of skills and abilities are needed for someone to show “good customer service”? Are employees expected to learn customers’ names, to greet them as they walk inside the store, not just stand behind the counter? Are they expected to manage customer complaints in a way that maintains the relationship? Think of your rockstar employees.  What do they do?  What skills do they have that you want in other employees?  GET SPECIFIC.
  • LOOK in your networks and get the word out in your community.
    • Share what you are looking for with your current employees – who do they know who might be a good fit?
    • Consider an employee referral program, with payment made to the employee at the time of the candidate’s hire and at 3 or 6 months.
    • Does your business use a social media page for marketing? Put this same posting out there as well.

Identifying Good Employees

  • Now that you’ve gotten more specific, pull the top two qualities or characteristics for that role and develop BEHAVIOR BASED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS to pre-screen candidates.  Many businesses choose to pre-screen candidates when they drop off their applications. That’s okay. We recommend pre-screening candidates using a phone screen as it allows you to focus on the questions without interruption.  Either way, be intentional and consistent in your pre-screening questions – ask ALL candidates the same questions. 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.
    • (Put your behavior-based interview questions here) For 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.
  • Now you’ve narrowed down your pool of candidates to bring on-site for interviews, be sure that you have behavior-based questions ready to go. These questions should be job-related (the WHAT) and should also reflect values that are important to your business culture (HOW).  Behavior-based questions focus on past behavior.  They ask, ‘how did you’ rather than ‘how would you’ and typically start with the words “tell me about a time”.  Common behavioral based questions include:
    • Tell me about a difficult interaction 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?

Schedule time with Erin and Kristen to discuss how to apply these concepts to your business. This is a complementary 45-minute call.


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