Recruitment: Five questions great job candidates ask

Sheep Central September 16, 2016

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sheep handling recruitment staff


BE honest. As an agribusiness employer, raise your hand if you feel the part of the job interview where you ask the candidate, “Do you have any questions for me?” is almost always a waste of time.

Thought so.

The problem is most candidates don’t actually care about your answers; they just hope to make themselves look good by asking ‘smart’ questions. To them, what they ask is more important than how you answer.

But great candidates ask questions they genuinely want answers to, because they’re evaluating you and your company, and whether they really want to work for you.

Here are five questions great candidates ask:

What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?

Great candidates want to hit the ground running. They don’t want to spend weeks or months “getting to know the business.” They want to make a difference – right away.

What are the common attributes of your top performers?

Great candidates also want to be great long-term employees. Every company or business is different, and so are the key qualities of top performers in those organisations.

Maybe your top performers work longer hours. Maybe creativity is more important than methodology. Maybe the ability to perform well without close supervision in remote locations is important.

Great candidates want to know, because 1) they want to know if they fit, and 2) if they do fit, they want to be a top performer.

What are a few things that really drive results for the company?

Employees are investments, and every employee, regardless of the size of the agribusiness, should generate a positive return on his or her salary. Otherwise, why are they on the payroll?

In every job, some activities make a bigger difference than others. But its important for the person responsible for hiring to find the right candidates because that results in higher retention rates, lower training costs, and better overall productivity.

Great candidates want to know what truly makes a difference. They know helping the company succeed means they succeed as well.

What do employees do in their spare time?

Happy employees 1) like what they do and 2) like the people they work with.

Granted this is a tough question to answer, but its especially relevant in situations like remote grazing properties, where staff live, work and socialise in the same small community. But unless the business is really small, all any interviewer can do is speak in generalities.

What’s important is that the candidate wants to make sure they have a reasonable chance of fitting in – because great job candidates usually have options.

How do you plan to deal with…?

Every business faces a major challenge: technological changes, competitors entering the market, shifting economic trends, weather … there’s rarely a Warren Buffett moat protecting any small agribusiness.

So while a candidate may see your company as a stepping-stone, they still hope for growth and advancement… and if they do eventually leave, they want it to be on their terms and not because you were forced out of business.

Say I’m interviewing for a position in the livestock team at a feedlot. What will you do to deal with rising feed costs, or difficulty in sourcing feeder cattle in a declining national herd?

A great candidate doesn’t just want to know what you think; they want to know what you plan to do – and how they will fit into those plans.


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