By now, you’ve likely heard the term company culture. It plays a large part in the workplace and a new hire’s potential to succeed there. As a farm or an agribusiness seeking a good fit for your company culture, having the right questions ready is a good place to start.
But, before even scheduling an interview, it may be a good idea to do some self/company reflection. Identify what’s important to you and your agribusiness so it’s easier to pick out a candidate who similarly embodies those characteristics.
As a hiring manager, you should list the top traits and values of the organization to refer to as you interview each applicant. If the job candidates’ answers align with your organization’s values, it can indicate a potential cultural fit. However, if an applicant’s answers don’t seem to align with your company’s culture, they might not be a fit.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment, and why is it your greatest?
“Assess the entire question,” AgHires Recruiter Dakotah Smiley said. “Did they give credit to any other team members? Was it all about themselves? What steps did they take to achieve it? Did they receive/need support along the way, or was it self-driven?”
Analyzing the details and logistics of how the individual handled a situation can tell you whether they work best independently or on a team, if they’re a good problem solver, and if they know when and how to accept help from others.
It’s not just the answer that will give insight, though.
“You can find bits and pieces of cultural fit while actively listening to the candidates. With always keeping their environments in mind, sometimes their mannerisms or answers really answer the culture fit question without even asking,” Smiley noted.
When was a time you made a mistake/had a conflict with a coworker, and how did you handle it?
Regardless of the size of your ag company, mistakes will be made, and conflict will occur. It’s important, then, for the individuals employed and the ones you hire to know how to be accountable and responsible when the time comes.
Have them give you a specific instance. Instead of letting them describe how they might handle things in a hypothetical circumstance, ask for a story. “When did it happen,” “How did it happen,” and “What did you do to make it right?” “What did you learn, and will you do anything differently next time?” This creates the potential for intel and follow-up questions to address any specific concerns you might have.
How would your current employer/teammates describe working with you?
“This gives them a chance to reflect on both their strengths and weaknesses,” said AgHires Recruiter Haidee Larson. “I have found that I uncover a lot of red flags with this question!”
When searching for an ag employee, it’s just as important to find what you don’t want as it is to find what you do. Be sure to highlight the answers that present concerns and ask follow-up questions or eliminate them accordingly.
What are you looking for in your next employer?
When learning about the dynamic of their last role, it is also important to learn what they’re seeking that would make them a good fit for your job posting. This may look like them describing their perfect boss or explaining how they best receive feedback. It could also be where they explain how much importance they place on flexibility or work-life balance. Fashion the question to best suit what concerns you need it to address.
What is your dream job?
While not dissimilar from the last, this more generalized question can be very telling. What would make them excited to go to work on Monday morning?
“It will shed a lot of light on if they are just looking for the next pay raise or if they are looking for a good team environment, strong support system, autonomy, family-oriented setting, or whatever it might be,” AgHires Recruiter Haley Pool said.
If your candidate is a homebody, and the job opening is on the road half the year, this is where you may see some of that come to light. If the individual describes their dream job as one in which they work independently and your company culture revolves around collaboration, make note. Do they prefer to work four 10-hour shifts and the role is a 9-5? Learn what they prioritize in their ag job search and whether it aligns with what you’re offering as a hiring manager.
Although company culture is clearly an important factor to consider when hiring for ag industry jobs, it’s not the only factor. It’s still important to incorporate different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives into a team to strengthen it. Hiring just for cultural fit may result in a team that gets along well and enjoys their job but struggles to problem solve or be productive. You don’t want to be left with a team that all think, act, and look alike.
Use the questions above and the list of traits important to your farm or agribusiness to guide you as you find a candidate who will be an asset to both your culture and company. Count on the AgHires team to guide your agribusiness through the complexities of the current job market. Our team of skilled recruiters stands prepared to connect your organization with top-tier talent through our comprehensive recruiting and job advertisement solutions. Explore further or reach out to us today to initiate the process.
For additional insights for employers, browse through our Hiring Advice Blog.