Contact Sam Clayton at AgRecruit for help on anything covered in this post, or any other recruitment related enquiries:
(+44) 01908 035950
sam.clayton (@) agrecruit-ltd.com
A little while ago I put together a blog post regarding where to start and things to consider for any company in the AgriTech domain looking to recruit for tech talent (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/recruiting-agritech-things-consider-where-start-sam-clayton/).
Whilst many of the points raised are hopefully easy enough to take on board, one point in particular struck me as perhaps needing further attention & elaboration…
What do you have to offer?
In other words, what are your unique selling points (‘USPs’), why should somebody want to work for you? How do you attract people and, furthermore, convince them that they should be choosing your role above the job that they’re already in and the other hiring companies vying for their attention?
If you’re lucky, you might not have to think too hard about this… perhaps the answer is as simple as being willing to pay way above market rates, you’ll gazump everyone else if required. Or maybe, people are already desperate to work for you; if you’re a destination employer such as Google or Microsoft, just stick your name brightly and boldly on the job ad and high quality people will apply in their droves. Unfortunately, however, most companies don’t have these luxuries – especially if you’re a smaller and/or less established entity. So you might have to dig deeper…
• If you’re in AgriTech, it’s likely that you’re automatically sat on selling points that don’t apply to companies in most other domains; you’re in a sector that affects every single person on the planet! Are you working on solutions that could help farmers become more efficient & productive, or contribute towards a greener more environmentally friendly society? OK, you might not be able to claim that you’re single-handedly going to solve world hunger… but if you’re playing a small part in contributing to something like this, shout about it!
• Whilst you may not be a global brand name or have an endless pot of money to reach into, there is another benefit that many companies can offer which makes a huge difference; a flexible working culture. This is becoming increasingly common, so offering flexi hours and some home-working may not on it’s own help you secure somebody – but, for certain professions, it may stunt your recruitment efforts if you don’t.
• Please, please, please avoid relying on the same generic claims that are being made by every other company out there. These include “it’s a really nice environment”, “everyone here is lovely and friendly”, etc – sorry to be a party pooper, but opinion-based and unsubstantiated statements such as these often fall flat when somebody is weighing up their next career move. Don’t get me wrong, these things should be applauded and it will likely lead to your staff retention and happiness levels being consistently high… but to attract people in the first place and convince them to uproot, you’ll need something more tangible to hook them in.
• Are you going places? Throwing around generic cliched claims can be dangerous… but, if you are on the up and can actually substantiate this it can be a huge draw. Have you just raised significant funding for example to build a new team, or launch a new ground breaking product? Is your solution set to take the market by storm? Is this an unmissable and rare opportunity to join a small company that’s likely to triple in size in the next 2 years, offering massive potential for role and career growth in the process?
• The role itself. Purely describing and listing daily duties and responsibilities in a job spec is not likely to get a candidate excited. A Data Scientist generally knows what a Data Science position will entail at a granular level and has probably seen hundreds of other job specs regurgitating this (incidentally, you may have experienced this same frustration when sifting through role descriptions on candidate CVs!). What’s the bigger picture of the role, what does it exist for? Perhaps it’s a brand-new role that’s been created to spearhead the building of a new cutting edge solution. Or maybe you’re looking for someone who can be groomed to become a future leader in the business as it grows. If you’re skimming over all this, then you’re missing a trick.
• How do you convey your selling points? It’s no use saving all of this until giving a big glamourous pitch to your star candidate at the end – you may have lost them by then. It has to be apparent throughout all of your communications – from the initial spec, into the interview process. Yes, you need to put candidates through their paces to ensure they cut the mustard, but candidates will need to be motivated in the first place and throughout to jump through these hoops for you; this comes from being engaged in and excited about the opportunity.
• The points raised above avoid one glaring issue – what if your job just isn’t the best out there, or isn’t even close to being so? How do you dress up a position that you know deep down is a dead end position, perhaps a small cog in a big machine? The likelihood is, you can’t, and it’s probably unfair on candidates to do so. This is where realistic expectations are imperative. Perhaps you’re seeking a Software Developer to work on an application that, whilst critical to the business, is made up of clunky, dated software and tech, with no plans to update this any time soon. Does this person, therefore, really need to be the cream of the crop, or just a capable and safe pair of hands who can get the job done?
This can be quite a complex topic but it’s imperative to properly consider, and any recruiter you work with who’s worth their salt will expect tangible selling points provided by you that they can use to attract candidates. Honesty is also vital – over-sell your role, and you’ll only find yourself back at square one when the candidate you hired realises it was all gobbledygook and jumps ship!
We are passionate about building further relationships in the AgriTech space and lending a helping hand where possible to growing companies in this domain, so will always be happy to provide advice and guidance for free on the topics mentioned here. Happy hunting!