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Hand-written "help wanted" sign Getty Images

Stand out in recruiting in today's pork industry

Not having any social media pages is going to hurt you. Business social media pages are an excellent tool to show off your farm's innovation.

Driving traffic in your direction definitely earns you a seat on the struggle bus. It's rare to find a pork producer who is fully staffed. Organizations across the industry are finding it difficult to find quality applicants while remaining within the recruitment budget. Swine Safety Designs has compiled a few ways to help improve your chances at attracting job seekers without breaking the bank.

It all starts with the ad
The advertisement may be the first impression of your farm. While creating it, keep the needs of possible applicants in mind. When an individual is seeking employment, what are they most interested in? They'll be looking at salary, location, work-life balance, company size, type of work they'd like to do and a particular job title (often a promotion or a change in career direction).

The ad should emphasize why it would benefit the candidate. The person reading the advertisement needs to be able to see themselves fulfilling the role. Having a short list of hard qualifications is appropriate to help weed out under-qualified individuals, while an extensive list will detour even qualified job seekers. Same goes for listing required skills, abilities and education. Too many words in these areas comes across as too demanding for a work-life balance.

The sweet spot for all help wanted ads is between 90 and 135 words. Upper leadership or technical positions use a guideline of 500 to 675 words. Shorter job descriptions receive a higher response rate. Ninety to 135 words is not a very long job description; however, it is proven effective.

The appropriate recruiting ad doesn't need to be that long in order to tick all of the boxes its reader probably cares about. An active job seeker will spend hours reading (or rather, scanning) job descriptions, so it needs to be concise and to the point while inspiring action.

Have appropriate contact information listed so inquiries are taken care of efficiently. Job seekers will move on if there is a large gap between initial contact and response. Keep a separate detailed job description in PDF format. This allows you to easily send possible applicants a detailed list of the daily expectations of the position, as requested.

Clichés not welcome
Have you been on a job hunt recently? While doing research for this project I searched the term "swine manager." There are hundreds of postings. I can't tell you how many of them have cliché phrasing such as "must be a self-starter, team player, with a passion for pigs."

You want your ad to stand out. Don't waste your limited wording on clichés. Seriously. Don't even think about it. The ad will get lost in the masses, and as a result will lower your response rate. Think of it as an opportunity to sell your company to the applicant.

Focus on why they'd want to work there. For example, "We treat our people like we treat our hogs. Exceptionally." In just 10 words you have grabbed attention, sparked curiosity about your organization, set an expectation for the position and inspired them to find more information.

Use the AIDA technique
The acronym AIDA stands for …

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

These are the responses you want to prompt when placing an ad. Following the acronym in order is generally most effective. Ensure that your ad jumps out and grabs the people you want it to. The goal of attention grabbing is to cause a pause within the title.

The next one to three sentences pique interest. How is your farm different than other organizations competing for their talent? Now move on to sparking desire. This is the body of the advertisement; about three to seven sentences. Can they see themselves being a valuable part of your team? Why? What's in it for them?

Finally, inspire action. Do this in the closing two to three sentences. Give job seekers a reason to reach out. Make it easy to submit a resume or fill out an application. Provide usable contact information. It may be an email address, a link to your website's contact information or business page. It's critical a representative be readily available to where you are directing them to contact you.

Company websites, social media and public online platforms are your friend
Now that you have formatted an effective recruitment ad, remember we are in an age that requires companies to have several outlets to research. Before you post an ad, it's a good idea to have something for them to research outside of the ad itself. Those looking for employment will research your farm online before they apply.

Point blank, not having any social media pages is going to hurt you. Business social media pages are an excellent tool to show off your farm's innovation, volunteer work, team accomplishments and daily projects.

When forming a business page, you will be able to set parameters such as requiring approval for posts or comments, deciding whether or not you'll allow reviews or feedback and assign administrators to maintain the page. You're able to use these forums to easily drive traffic to your company's website. Use all these platforms as a positive representation of your farm.

It is recommended to enlist the services of a designer to assist with initial set-up. Swine Safety Designs offers initial set-up and/or maintenance services. Website design and business social media pages will either sell you or hurt you to the job seeker. Understanding the industry is vital to producing an effective page for job seekers. Make sure your designer sets you up for success.

Don't be afraid to use the resources that are included with your pages. When used conscientiously newsletters, social media ads, email campaigns and search engine optimization plans all have potential to boost your company's reputation, thus driving traffic in your direction.

Happy recruiting
The creative process to recruitment may be daunting at project start. Redirecting attention to those looking for a career change is well worth the effort. Use your 135 words wisely as you follow the AIDA technique. Be readily available to applicants. Use social media to your advantage while recruiting. In the words of Robert Half, founder of global human resource consulting firm Robert Half International, "Time spent on hiring is time well spent."

Source: Samantha Marais, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.
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