From a farmers’ perspective you have to be mindful how you advertise jobs. If you don’t get it right you’re likely to further embed those misconceptions around farms, or worse still, hire the wrong person.
Essentially, it’s about highlighting why farming is an attractive career option and to show others that we are focused on changing the dynamics of how we employ and treat staff to reflect modern society.
Let’s look at some of mistruths. We often hear of long hours, no regular days off, little health and safety, high accident rates and low pay.
Then there’s the assumption you’ll have free housing, free supply of meat and it goes on.
I know most farmers will disagree with this, but they don’t help themselves by using advertisements that portray as much. Perhaps, they rush it, or they’ve always done it that way or just copied others.
Whatever your reason or excuse, please stop it. Federated Farmers advises you to be clear what the role entails, the hours involved and if accommodation is included.
I’m no lawyer or human resources specialist, but there’s no rocket science in attracting good employees that are smart, trustworthy and hard working.
For a start, think of the best possible way to promote your job and farming industry. Tell the story of your business and strategy, what the preferred applicant’s skills should be, their education and the qualifications you value.
Put together a job description with a salary, potential hours worked, a roster and state whether rent will be included or deducted out of the wage offered.
Housing is expensive these days and you should get a rent appraisal or find out what is a similar rate in your area. Renting in town varies depending on the neighbourhood and a $300,000 valued property will be at least $300-350 a week to rent and likely more.
Have a competitive salary in your package. If people want to rent your house, deduct the rent from their wage and have it in the agreement.
Meat and milk is bloody expensive to buy so don’t give it away. Place a value on it, annually it can be worth a significant amount.
You might also discover when working out the salary package that it’s a decent hourly rate, so expect plenty of interest because it’s likely to be more lucrative than town jobs. Never sell a farming job as a cheap job.
In your job description, make it brief on the ad, but attractive. The description can be requested and sent back to those who may make the cut.
It might encourage people to ask questions about your farm at the interview. This can help you understand their knowledge and whether you should proceed with their application.
Always research similar industry advertisements to yours, know the market, be cheeky and copy the good bits in your own words.
Before advertising, make sure you have the relevant agreements covering employment, drug and alcohol and health and safety.
All these can be ordered from Federated Farmers, while DairyNZ has job description templates and a roster builders program.
Employees if you are reading this, no text lingo, spellcheck everything, have an honest timeline of experience and education, and yes, look at your Facebook page and decide whether something is likely to offend as most businesses do check nowadays.
Be competitive if you are after the best job or applicant, don’t over inflate the job or skill, lies always come out.
For those hiring, be proud of your reputation and the industry. Always showcase your farm at its best, because ads are public and people can see it, especially those connected to our overseas markets.
Remember, farmers that show leadership and practise what they preach, will always get respect.
- Chris Lewis is the president of Waikato Federated Farmers.