Best Ways to Hire in the Controlled Environment Agriculture Industry
Recruiting in a technical field like controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is not an easy process. Not only must you understand the job requirements of a highly nuanced industry, but you also need to know how to source and hire top talent. All things considered, only the most skilled recruiters are able to find success in the CEA space.
If you keep losing good candidates to competitors, it’s probably a good time to reassess exactly how you hire in the controlled environment agriculture industry. By rethinking your recruitment process from the top down, you will create an engaged and productive employee team that is dedicated to your CEA operation.
1. Learn About Controlled Environment Agriculture
Especially with large organizations that have a dedicated HR department, often the people that are responsible for candidate sourcing don’t have a great understanding of the CEA market as a whole. If you are hoping to tighten up your recruiting practices, you need to learn a bit more about the jobs you are filling.
While every job in CEA doesn’t necessarily require people to work directly with crops, the entire industry still revolves around the plant sciences to an extent. Whether it be an Engineer designing a new grow facility or a Salesperson selling lettuce to grocers, knowing the basics of plant sciences is important in just about every CEA position.
The controlled environment agriculture industry is also a rather technical field to work in. That being said, it’s also a good idea for your HR department to have at least a cursory understanding of the types of technology that powers an indoor farm. Doing so will help you develop a healthier rapport with candidates while also gaining their trust.
2. Develop a Strong Brand
While most businesses only consider brand value as it relates to potential customers, branding is also an important part of being able to hire in the controlled environment agriculture industry. When candidates know that your business is a great place to work, word will spread throughout the industry to other leading CEA professionals.
Once people in the horticulture industry are aware of your business, you will start to see much more inbound activity from interested applicants. In the end, the more quality candidates that you have coming to you, the fewer resources you need to put into actively sourcing candidates.
3. Get Out There and Network
To be good at recruiting, you must enjoy talking to people and networking. Between in-person events like trade shows and online platforms such as LinkedIn, recruiters in the CEA indsutry have near-endless opportunities for networking. All things considered, the more connections you make, the more options you will have for candidate sourcing in the future.
Once job searchers in the CEA industry come to know and trust your company, they will want to work with you in the future. As your network grows and evolves over the years, you will develop an ecosystem of candidates from personal referrals and relationships. While it takes a long time to develop this type of candidate network, having it makes the job of a recruiter or HR department much easier.
4. Use Digital Marketing Tools
Since digital marketing has become such a powerful tool in the modern business world, today’s best CEA recruiters have learned to use online platforms to their benefit. When it comes to social media platforms like LinkedIn, your page is a representation of your personal brand as a recruiter. Don’t be afraid to make a lot of connections online, while also having engaging discussions on relevant platforms in the CEA industry.
Your marketing team should also ensure your website is designed to attract candidates to your business. In fact, spending a little bit of time developing search engine optimation (SEO) strategies to market CEA jobs on your website is a great idea.
5. Know Your Business and How to Sell it
Before you get out there and start recruiting, it’s a good idea to understand your business and what differentiates it from competitors. When it comes time to speak with potential candidates, you can get them interested in the prospect of working with your business.
When you want to hire in the controlled environment agriculture industry, getting applicants excited with things like new product releases and novel technologies is a great way to stand out from competitors. You should also explain your brand values to candidates. If you can identify with them on a personal level, candidates will be much more likely to take a job with your company.
6. Streamline Your Hiring Process
One of the keys to effective recruiting is streamlining your hiring process. Having done recruitment for nearly 20 years, nothing is more frustrating than when a candidate loses interest due to a slow and drawn-out interview process.
Before you even begin sourcing candidates, make sure your HR team and hiring managers are on the same page. Not only should you have the whole interview phase choreographed, but you should have relevant and targeted interview questions ready to go. Taking these extra steps will help ensure that no quality CEA candidates slip through the cracks at your operation.
7. Create Competitive Salaries & Benefits
While attractive salary and benefits packages are obviously important in any hiring scenario, increases in pay have become even more necessary due to inflation. According to CNBC, “Amid record inflation and a labor market with two open positions for every worker, the average annual salary increase reached 4.8% [in the year 2022], the highest pay bump in decades for employees.”
In response to this rapidly changing economic climate, hiring parties in the CEA space have had to pivot and reassess their compensation packages. Aside from pay bumps to help cover increased living expenses, many companies are also incentivizing new hires with better benefits packages.
Contact Us to Hire in the Controlled Environment Agriculture Industry
As the leading staffing agency in the controlled environment agriculture industry, M&F Talent knows what it takes to effectively hire in the controlled environment agriculture industry.
Contact Us today if you have questions about job searching or hiring in the CEA industry.
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