Finding and Interviewing Employees
Advertising your employment opportunities can help you find a suitable person to fill your staffing needs. How you advertise the job will affect who applies for it. Job ads should be based on the Position Description and include:
- a brief description of your farm
- the job title and status
- a brief description of duties
- any required skills, qualifications, certificates, or experience
- your contact information
- how to apply for the job and a closing date for applications
(See sample job advertisement below)
Think about where the person you want is likely to look for work (this isn’t necessarily where you would look!) e.g. noticeboards at schools and employment websites. You should have a budget for all the costs of your advertising. Prices vary across different newspapers and websites. Some places to think about advertising include:
- jobactive is the Australian Government’s way to get more Australians into work. The service connects employers with job seekers and is delivered by a network of jobactive providers in over 1700 locations across Australia. As an employer, you can use a local jobactive provider for tailored recruitment services, at no cost to you. To advertise a job or find a provider in your area visit jobactive.
- private employment companies that service the agriculture industry or industry websites (see references below)
- noticeboards at local shops, schools and TAFE colleges, backpacker hostels, agricultural suppliers, sporting clubs
- your local newspaper and the regional rural paper
- relevant industry publications
Sample Job Advertisement - Word Doc
jobactive the Australian Government employment service that connects employers with jobseekers, at no cost to you.
Ag Careers offers information on agricultural jobs around the world and can locate specific regions in each country
Primary Positions Australia may not have as many jobs as other sites but they are all agricultural and primary industry based
Careerjet is easy-to-use and offers a range of agricultural jobs around Australia (and also has an App)
employment Made easy (eMe) is an employment and people management service for dairy farmers. Currently, it provides a dairy noticeboard showing job opportunities and potential employees in Victoria, South Australia, Southern NSW and Tasmania (with more locations to be added).
Backpacker and traveller websites, such as Gumtree and Harvest Trail. Gumtree is designed to connect people who are looking for work all around Australia. Gumtree has an App called My Gumtree (iPhone and iPad).
There are a number of fee for service private recruitment companies that specialise in the agricultural industry. Some of these include NetworkAG, Agricultural Appointments, Rural Enterprises, and AG Workforce
Seek has the thousands of jobs advertised for all different careers. It doesn’t have the same number of on-farm jobs as other sites, but is still relevant for agricultural jobs.
When looking at job applications, you will need to decide which ones should be followed up with an interview and which applicants can be ruled out immediately. This process is known as short listing.
You can short list applications by comparing their skills, qualifications, certificates, and experience with the job description.
To assess the short listed applicants, there are a number of things you should and shouldn’t do:
- do arrange an interview to get to know the applicant and find out a bit more about their experience and why they want the job
- do complete a skills assessment (if it's relevant to the job)
- do talk to their referees, (after the interview) making sure you ask specific questions about their skills and experience. See sample referee check questions below.
- don’t ask job applicants to work an unpaid trial. You can ask them to demonstrate a particular skill but if you ask them to do productive work, you'll need to pay them the minimum hourly rate for the job.
- don’t ask personal questions that aren't related to whether or not they can do the job. Questions about race, religion, place of birth, gender, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer's responsibilities, pregnancy, or political opinions, can be offensive and discriminatory. This applies to their referees as well - only ask questions that are relevant to the job they'll be doing. Exceptions apply where the discrimination is taken because of the nature of a particular position. See the Guide to Discriminatory Questions and A Fair Go for Job Seekers in the reference section below.
An interview is usually structured into three parts:
- Opening the interview and welcoming the candidate, outlining the purpose and structure of the interview.
- The body of the interview. The fact finding part, ask questions and allow the candidate to answer. See reference section below for sample interview questions
- Closing the interview. Advise the candidate when they can expect to hear from you, thank them for their attendance and ask them to confirm their referees.
There are some simple guidelines for conducting interviews:
- be on time. Allow plenty of time for each interview including time to make any further notes once the candidate has left
- set up a suitable space which is comfortable and free from interruptions
- be ready to describe the job - have a copy of the candidate’s application and CV, and the position description with you
- if more than one person is conducting the interview, make sure everyone has a copy of the interview questions
- ask each candidate the same questions
- listen carefully to the candidate’s responses and ask further questions or for more information as needed
- make sure you ask plenty of ‘open’ questions – that is, questions that require more than just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers
- take notes, it is easy to forget information later if it isn’t written down
- try not to make judgements based on first impressions
- don’t spend too much time talking about yourself or your ideal candidate. You need to give the candidate an opportunity to answer questions freely and demonstrate their experience and opinions
- at the end of the interview, give time for the candidate to ask questions and answer any relevant questions or requests for information freely and honestly
- don’t ask questions that weren’t included in your interview preparation. This will help make sure you don’t ask discriminatory questions
- close the interview in a friendly but clear manner
Part of the interview process should include showing the applicant around the farm. Allow some time for the tour as candidates will ideally want to know a lot about the farm business.
Above all, throughout the interview keep in mind the position you have advertised and keep looking for the skills and attitudes you are after.
Sample Interview Questions – Word Doc
Sample Referee Questions and Response Record Sheet – Word Doc