Sometimes you want to be the company everyone is talking about, sometimes you don’t, but if you are hoping to build your workforce with the best and brightest – you do! Especially when the venue is college campuses during recruiting season and the chatter is positive! Working a career fair booth and seeing a line of students who want to talk to your company representatives can be a warm and fuzzy moment for anyone who works in recruiting, however, that line doesn’t form overnight. Building a strong campus brand takes time, creativity, some financial investment, and more time. Then there is maintenance, but that is an entirely different post! Here are 5 ideas to help your company begin the process of building an on-campus brand.
Guest Blogger: Megan Karlin, Agriculture Future of America Marketing & Communications Manager
When it comes to whether or not your company should invest in Agriculture Future of America, I definitely have a biased opinion. However, when it comes to making the most of your relationship with us, I have the inside scoop.
For very nearly five years, I’ve immersed myself in listening to and telling AFA’s story. I’ve interviewed partners, participants and anyone else who would give me a few minutes. I’ve seen what works and what does not.
As I said, I’m biased when it comes to the question of financial investment; so, for the remainder of my time with you, let’s assume you do. That’s the first thing I would tell you. When you partner with AFA, you have a stake in the game. You’re committed to pursuing the opportunities I’ve outlined below. The first, of which, is to connect with our students.
We stress the importance of social media in the job search to job seekers all of the time. However, it is just as important a discussion for employers and their use as a tool for recruitment. Yep, that’s right — investing some time on social media can ease the recruitment struggle!
According to the recently released AgCareers.com Agribusiness HR Review, social media recruitment continues to increase. Seventy-two percent of participating organizations utilized social media in 2016. Facebook was the most favored platform among participants.
So how do you get started?
Once you have determined that you need the help of a headhunter to fill a critical role, you may find yourself deliberating how to find the right one. You obviously want the recruiter you select to have an upper hand over your competition in finding the right candidate for your role. So you may wonder what important qualities should a recruiter possess, what reputation they should have, or what questions to ask them.
Trusted peers within your industry can recommend headhunters they have worked with, and you can easily find a list of them by conducting an internet search. Most headhunters have websites that tell about their process for finding and screening talent, but each is unique in some way and their techniques and philosophies on discovering and assessing candidates is most important. Have a conversation with them – by phone, but preferably in person – to learn the following:
Speak in front of a crowd? No problem. Clearly articulate an issue? You got it. Work efficiently as a team? Consider it done.
No matter the task at hand, FFA members have been equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in the workforce. Through hands-on classroom experiences and leadership development conferences, FFA members are provided with opportunities to explore careers in the agriculture industry and interact with other FFA members from across the nation. It doesn’t take long after interacting with FFA members to realize that they are poised and professional. They conduct themselves with respect and confidence, often making them stand out amongst their peers.
If you’re headed to a career fair, you may be thinking that the students you’ll be speaking with are the only ones who have to make an impression. Wrong! The employer needs to make an impression just as much in order to not only get students to stop and talk but also to even be noticed. Need some concrete ideas? Hear it straight from the source. These student friends of AgCareers.com share what they look for at career fairs, whether it be the appearance of a booth or what the employer offers:
“At career fairs, I’m attracted to very specific things. Naturally, I’m going to stop and talk to familiar faces first. If I’ve seen a company on campus before, I’m more likely to visit with them because they’ve demonstrated they’re serious about hiring college students like me. As a marketing communications person, I’m more likely to approach a company that shows my field is already a priority at their company with well-articulated messages. If their display is drab or thrown together I’m not stopping. Also, I know these events are long and exhausting. If I pass a company where people are still on their feet and engaging with job candidates at the end of the day I’m probably going to introduce myself. I want to work with people who are passionate about their job, even when their feet ache and stomachs are growling.”
– Natalina Sents, 2016 Iowa State University graduate
When considering a recruiting strategy to attract passive talent, employers should note the following important statistics from AgCareers.com’s latest Candidate Motivation & Behavior Survey. With over 1,500 people polled, the survey revealed that while the vast majority (84%) were currently employed, over 40% of them were passively looking for work. This reinforces the unique challenge employers face in targeting what is generally believed to be the best talent pool – passive candidates. Candidates who are not urgently looking for work, and are typically employed, are generally defined as “passive”.
As the leading job board in agriculture and food, AgCareers.com recognizes the need for employers to proactively source talent in addition to seeking job posting respondents. We provide a vast, searchable database of resumes that allows employers to forward candidate profiles to team members, add candidate notes, and contact the job seeker by e-mail without ever leaving our site! We also have a notification tool that sends an e-mail alert when a job seeker matching the employer’s criteria registers on our site. Employers with active job posting packages or paid subscriptions gain access to search our database, which currently contains over 10,000 up-to-date job seeker profiles.
If you are familiar with AgCareers.com, you likely know about our Ag Warriors program devoted to encouraging agricultural employers to actively seek and hire military veterans. You may have also attended our 2015 Roundtable which featured a military recruitment add-on workshop. While we think that military veterans are valuable assets to the agricultural industry due to their skills and qualities gained through military service, it seems that many agricultural employers are unaware of this untapped potential.
Luke Vance, a sergeant in the Army Reserves and a contractor with DuPont Pioneer, has mixed feelings about the receptiveness of the agricultural industry toward recruiting and hiring military veterans.
“I think that the agricultural community has been somewhat receptive to veterans. I don’t feel that the ag community is that proactive about going out and recruiting veterans, maybe out of fear of veterans leaving again,” said Vance.
Recruiting ain’t easy! I feel like I could make money at the AgCareers.com Ag & Food Roundtable selling bumper stickers or t-shirts with that motto. Not just the act of recruiting but achieving the ultimate end goal of finding the right fit for the job, the company, the culture and the employee! Here a few creative methods to finding the right talent:
1. This first one is not rocket science but I honestly feel like many employers forget that this tool is in their toolbox. Previous candidates. Not to be confused with previous employees, which is another creative method. If you are using an applicant tracking system or just a folder of resumes on your desk check back through those resumes! In some cases, they weren’t a fit and they won’t be a fit, but others may have just applied to the wrong job or timing wasn’t right. Maybe they turned down your offer for another that hasn’t turned out so well. No one wants to be the second fiddle but we all like to be given a second chance!
2. References. Not your own, but the ones who’ve helped you find the great employees you have now! Great people surround their self with other great people and you don’t know until you ask. If someone has served as a reference for someone else, they’re probably the type of person who is keeping their eye open for others. Reach back out to those references and make sure they know about current openings you have.
Correction: This post was written by Bonnie Johnson, AgCareers.com Marketing Associate
Each year AgCareers.com reviews job seeker trends on our site and evaluates the future job outlook in the ag industry. With nearly 2.3 million visits to www.AgCareers.com in 2015, we decided to take a closer look at the candidates searching for careers in agriculture and using our site.
AgCareers.com has qualified job candidate traffic throughout the United States, however, the largest region is the Midwest region or those seeking employment in that region. This is reasonable as applicant location traditionally reflects where the job opportunities reside. The Midwest region had the most applications (41%), followed by the South (27%) and the West (16%).
Similar to the U.S., there is job seeker traffic throughout Canada, however, more than 40% of applications were from candidates in the Central region (Ontario & Quebec). The Central region had the most applications, followed by the Western region. The Western region saw the biggest jump in the past year, going from 22% to 34% of total applications.