Farm workers – choosing the best person

Farmers who don’t put much effort into interviewing prospective new employees are looking for trouble, warns Roelof Bezuidenhout.

Farm workers – choosing the best person
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Even if you’re a developing farmer, you will need to hire workers at some point. It is, after all, a sign that you’re doing well. But farmers who don’t put much effort into interviewing prospective employees are looking for trouble.
All too often questions are limited to the following: Where did you work and why did you leave? Can you drive a tractor? Do you drink alcohol?

This is not good enough. According to human resources consultant Andrew Wilson, not asking the right questions is taking a serious risk. “A perceptive interviewer encourages the applicant to talk. He’ll be able to pick up messages regarding things such as the candidate’s motivation, self-assurance, maturity and overall personality,” he says.

But Wilson adds that it’s a mistake to fire off questions in rapid succession. An interviewer should listen and observe. Here are some questions that will help you to know applicants better. The questions should be adapted to fit the level of the applicant’s education, as well the job he or she is applying for.

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  • What are your good points and why? What are your weaknesses?
  • To what do you attribute your successes?
  • What contributed to the personal disappointments or failures you’ve had?
  • What motivates you?
  • What kind of people irritate you?
  • If you could, what would you change about yourself?

Plans and goals

  • What do you see in your future?
  • What do you want from your job that you are not getting now?
  • What things would you like to avoid in a job and why?
  • If you could have any job, what would it be and why?

Attitudes towards people

  • What qualities in people do you like and dislike?
  • What did you like or dislike about your last boss?
  • If you had your boss’s job, what would you do differently?

Your work history

  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What do you like best about your work?
  • Discuss your general impressions of your last job.
  • If you could, what would you change in your job and why?

Current staff
Asking existing employees these questions will help you to get to know them better as well. But be warned: the answers could teach you as much about your failings as a manager as about the personal feelings of your employees. That’s as it should be.

Phone Andrew Wilson at 082 575 3861, or email [email protected].