Questions to Assess a Candidate's Skill

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6 Minute Read
Posted by Karyn Moyer
Questions to Assess a Candidate's Skill

Typically, initial interviews with candidates take about 30-40 minutes. To many, that doesn’t seem like much time to truly get to know the job seeker. Our expert agriculture recruiters shared some of the top questions they utilize to dig deep with potential ag candidates before moving them onto the next stage.

Tell Me More About Yourself

Before you get into details about the position or the agribusiness, allow the candidate to tell you about themselves. This will give them an opportunity to authentically share before learning about the position and not feel as though they must adapt to what they believe you are looking for. Listen for cues that help you identify not only that this person is a good fit for the position, but a good fit for your team.

What Are You the “Go-to Person” For?

Asking this question can give you an idea of their skill set vs the job description. Did they mention skills that fit this position? Did they mention skills that would be helpful for your company but in a different position? This simple question will allow you to decide whether a candidate is a good fit based on what they see as their strengths and what others have noted.

If you want them to dig deeper you could ask, “aside from skills in this industry, what else are you naturally great at or proud of?” This gives you an understanding of their personal strengths and skills outside of their career.

What is the toughest feedback you have received?

It's great when candidates are self-aware of their weaknesses. Assess how they answer this question. Do they simply give you a story of constructive criticism or do they give you and reflect on what they want to improve upon? This question allows you to identify if this person can take responsibility for every situation, good or bad. In addition, you can determine if this candidate is willing to improve and is eager to learn new skills.

What Got You Started Pursuing “X” Industry?

This opens the door for a casual, candid conversation and can lead to determining if they are truly passionate about what they do. If a candidate is passionate about the industry, this can allow you to see longevity and lessen the worry of turnover.

You could also ask, “what was your intention with your degree post-grad?” If you require a certain degree, you can find out why they chose this degree and how they would like to pursue that industry post-graduation. Again, this is a great question to determine longevity because it can show you their passion.

Do You Have Personal Experience in Ag?

Did they grow up in the agriculture industry or is their background strictly professional? This question typically leads to who mentored them, licenses, certifications, or if they learned on their own and how. It’s good to note whether they learned on their family farm or in a different environment. Neither is better than the other, but this gives you a better insight into their background.

In addition, you could ask, “which parts of this role will be new to you and how would you like to learn?” How they answer shows if they have an inherent motivation to learn on their own, or if they would like to be trained in the field/on the job.

Do You Work Best Alone or on a Team?

Knowing the candidate’s ideal work environment is crucial. Do they prefer to be in an office setting or do better in a remote role? Will this candidate be suited for the types of tasks for the open position? While the candidate might fit the role perfectly, you need to identify if they fit your company culture. If the overall team environment is social, and your new employee is more of a lone wolf, it might throw off the overall culture of your agribusiness. The same can be true on the flip side. If your new employee enjoys interacting with their co-workers, but most of the team prefers to keep to themselves, it could throw off the balance of the team.

Have You Made Any Changes to a Process in Your Current or Former Role?

What changes did they make? How did they implement those changes? Was there any resistance to that change? Did they make the process more efficient? Is that implementation still being used? Consider your farm or agribusiness. There may be certain areas you think could be changed to be more efficient. Listen for areas of opportunity where this potential applicant could be a good fit and help your business thrive.

Do You Have Any Questions?

This is a great question to end the interview. Eager candidates will likely have questions to learn more about the position or the company overall. However, if the candidate doesn’t have a list of questions by the end, you may have answered all of their questions, or they may have asked questions throughout the interview.

It may seem impossible to dig deep and get to know a candidate in such a short amount of time. A great place to start is by asking questions about their strengths, accomplishments, and weaknesses. Make it a priority to meet with a candidate a few times to get to know them more. AgHires recommends a minimum of three interviews before an offer is extended. Allow your team to interview candidates to ask their own questions and get their perspective of their potential new co-worker. Adding some extra time with candidates will give you a better understanding of how they work and how they will fit in with the rest of the team.

Interviewing and assessing candidates for job openings is time-consuming and can be stressful. AgHires can help to streamline the hiring process and put quality ag candidates in front of you. Our expert agriculture recruiters get to know your farm or agribusiness as if they work there themselves and will relentlessly attract passive candidates and deliver you a short list of high-performing hires. We don’t just focus on landing a hire, they want “THE HIRE,” the one that will greatly impact your organization. Contact us today to learn more.


It may seem impossible to get to know a candidate in a short amount of time. Our expert ag recruiters shared some of the questions they utilize to dig deep with potential ag candidates.
Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer is the Senior Marketing Manager at AgHires, with over 13 years of marketing experience, over 9 of which she has spent in the agriculture marketing industry. Growing up in a small farming town, Karyn has a deep appreciation for the importance of agriculture and its role in our communities. Since joining AgHires in 2017, Karyn has used her wealth of experience and knowledge to help job seekers and clients achieve their goals. She has a passion for learning and discovering new ways to support the industry.