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Creating a candidate checklist: What to look for in a farm employee

This tip can help you determine the best candidate when it comes to the interview process.

Kristine Penning

March 3, 2020

2 Min Read

When you begin the hiring process for a new farm employee, it’s important to know what you want.

Sure, you likely know what skills and knowledge you want your candidate to have to fit the position—that is certainly important to know and adhere to. But it’s also important to identify some traits and qualities that would fit well within your business’s culture.

To make the best hire for both the position and your farm, create a candidate checklist. A candidate checklist is a set of desired qualifications you would like your candidate to possess. This can help you build a job posting or description and determine the best candidate when it comes to the interview process.

Here are some categories and tips to create a candidate checklist:

Technical skills

Technical skills (or hard skills) encompass an individual’s ability to perform specific tasks. These include their education level, certifications, knowledge, and teachable abilities. For example, these might include:

  • High school diploma

  • Welding certificate

  • Agronomy apprenticeship

  • Computer skills/program knowledge (Microsoft Excel)

  • Experience around livestock

To transfer your desired technical skills, you might include the following on your candidate checklist:

  • Planting and harvest experience

  • Class A CDL

  • Experience with GPS/mapping technology

  • Experience with welding, mechanics, and irrigation technology

  • Experience with late model farm equipment

  • Experience with bins, elevators, and dryers

Employability skills

Employability skills (also known as soft skills or people skills) are broad skills that are applicable across many different situations. These skills are personally driven and are also difficult to measure or prove. Employability skills include:

  • Communication

  • Leadership

  • Organization

  • Teamwork

  • Accountability

Under employability skills on your candidate checklist, you might include the following:

  • Excellent communication skills

  • A team player

  • A good listener and self-motivator

  • A problem-solver

  • A positive attitude

  • Goal-setter

A candidate checklist can help you create a well-outlined job description, and more importantly, aid you in determining the best hire for your organization or farm.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

About the Author(s)

Kristine Penning

Creative Marketing Specialist, AgCareers.com

Kristine Penning works as Creative Marketing Specialist for AgCareers.com, the leading talent solutions provider in the agricultural industry. She resides in Central Iowa and farms with her husband Reece. Reach her at [email protected]

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