Creative Hiring Techniques

By: Don Tyler, Tyler & Associates

One of the biggest challenges that feedlots are dealing with at this point in time is the ability to find quality employees. When we have tried several of our traditional recruiting methods and gotten inadequate results, it may be time to try something creative. Here are a few techniques to consider:

Contact Former Employees

Go back through your list of previous employees who left on good standing and give them a call. Find out what they are doing and see if they know someone who would be interested in working with you. People tend to socialize with others who have similar values and ethics, so by focusing on your better former employees you will tend to find people with the same attitude and performance level. These former employees may even be interested in returning as a result of your contact.

Always be Looking

When running errands or visiting local establishments, be on the lookout for people who are pleasant, hard-working or otherwise seem like they are good employees. Establishments with a high standard for performance and attention to detail may be your best option as well—like banks and insurance agencies. Feel free to ask them, “I always like working with you when I come in here. You seem to enjoy your work and are working hard every time I come in. Is there anyone that you know of that is looking for a better job or needs a job? We have some openings in our business and wanted to know if you could help me out…”

Again, if we are interacting with a person who is congenial and seems to be a good employee in their current position, they probably have friends that are like them. Also, asking this question is “safer” than asking them directly if they are personally looking for a job if we are sensitive about the perception that we are “stealing” a local business owner’s good employee.

Have an Open House

Set a date a few weeks in advance, do some promotion with social networking and local advertising, and have an Open House for potential employees. Schedule it for later in the day, perhaps from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM. This allows you to catch people when they are going to and from work for afternoon and evening shifts, and provides a range of times for those who might need to arrange for child care after they get off work.

Be sure to have blank copies of applications ready so they can fill them out on the spot, and be set up to do interviews after the applications are completed. You should also have Job Descriptions for open positions available for them to read or take with them, along with an application, in the event that they are stopping by to get the information for a friend. Create a pleasant atmosphere, have snacks and drinks available, encourage open discussion and have your management, office staff and supervisors available to assist and do interviews.

Use local sources

Contact the local Chamber of Commerce. They often have job boards or free postings on their website for local employers. Also, look for bulletin boards that are in grocery stores, the library, employment offices, convenience stores, courthouse, high schools, community colleges, etc. They are often good places to find local people who are seeking employment.


Use your own network of people. Former college professors, local community colleges, vendors, drug reps, veterinarians, equipment dealers, mechanics, lenders, etc. Sometimes you find someone just by talking to people not directly connected to your industry who have contacts and resources in other areas. Refresh these contacts every 60 to 90 days.

Internet Sites

I mention this method last because frankly, this one has been disappointing lately. There are some good sites online but the experience of many livestock producers over the recent years has been inconsistent at best. It seems that the best sites for production employees are those with a local connection that we know for a fact are used by people in our area to find jobs. If we are seeking to fill a management position, the national sites might offer some results.   

For more information about this topic and others, give Don a call at 765-523-3259 or e-mail him at

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