When you are ready to start recruiting a pool of possible applicants, be creative. Many of us come from an era of looking at “help wanted” ads in local newspapers or shoppers. However, many jobseekers these days never look in printed media. Depending on your needs, contact area schools who may have students seeking farm employment. Iowa Workforce Development is another source for listing your employment opportunities. Many local radio stations have on-air or online job boards or help wanted sites. You may want to print a simple help wanted flyer with contact information and post it on community bulletin boards. Finally, remember that word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to seek good employees. Ask your current good employees if they know anyone who may be interested in a farm labor position.
Determine what information you want from potential job applicants. Obtain or prepare a job application form for this purpose. Be sure that the form used does not seek information that is inappropriate or even illegal to request from job applicants. You will want to ask job applicants for references.
Prepare carefully for job interviews. Make a list of information that you want to share with applicants, such as the position description. Remember that many of your applicants will be unfamiliar with how a dairy farm operates and the kind of hours and duties that are required. Describe the hours and working conditions, and outline the training that will be provided to the new employee. Share information about the pay structure and benefits that come with the job.
Make a list of the questions that you want to be sure to ask each applicant. Again, seek legal guidance regarding inappropriate areas of inquiry. ISU Extension and Outreach offers some interview guidance at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/html/c5-101.html.
Check references. References may be former employers, teachers, volunteer work coordinators or even neighbors or community members. While persons acting as employment references may need to be careful regarding statements made about another, a potential employer can always ask a former employer to confirm employment dates and positions held. It is reasonable to ask the simple question, “Would you hire this person?” Ask the reference about the applicant’s former job duties.
When you have interviewed possible applicants, make your evaluation and selection(s) and determine the nature of the job offer you wish to make. While the initial offer may be by phone, it is a good idea to follow an oral offer with a written offer of employment. This written offer can confirm the details such as pay, benefits, hours, duties and flexibility required in the position.