Niche Recruitment v.s. General Recruitment for Agribusiness, Agriculture and Food Production

The agriculture industry is a vast landscape of lucrative career opportunities. However, for being such a major industry, it can be surprisingly challenging to find top talent.

Some would attribute this to the talent shortage of recent years. Despite the growing demand for workers, the labor force has become limited throughout many areas of the industry.

Another aspect to consider is the very nature of hiring in agriculture. It can often be restricted to the first few months of the year before the planting and harvesting seasons start and keep many decision makers far too busy to even think about recruitment.

These are just a couple of the factors that make navigating the hiring process an even more complicated and time-consuming undertaking compared to recruiting for other niche industries.

Without the help of an expert recruiter, you may be in search of your next all-star employee for months and months to no avail. The right recruitment firm will save you a substantial amount of time and provide the resources, network and expertise necessary to find the most skilled, qualified candidate.

So how do you choose the right recruitment agency to help you in your agriculture employee or executive search? Recruitment companies can be categorized into two types: general and niche recruitment firms.

In this article, we’ll discuss why partnering with a niche company is essential for agriculture recruitment compared to working with a traditional or generalist firm. We’ll walk you through how working with experts that know your industry as well as you do is key to finding your next invaluable team member.

General Recruitment v.s. Niche Recruitment

The internet has given rise to several different forms of recruitment services. While the old school paper route of dropping off your resume in person might still be effective for some industries, many job hunters are turning to online services to find their dream job. And by the same token, employers are adopting more modern hiring practices to fill positions.

Traditional recruitment services include classified advertising or posting on wide-ranging search engines such as Indeed or Workpop. These generalist methods of recruiting can connect you with a large selection of potential candidates, but they are limited in tools and resources to properly screen the applicants and filter out the ones that are underqualified. You’ll end up wasting time reviewing applications for candidates that do not fit the requirements of your position.

You could also work with a traditional or general recruiter, one that doesn’t specialize in any particular field. This style of recruiting involves reaching out to a large pool of job seekers and matching candidates that have versatile backgrounds and experience with positions in varying industries.

In contrast to the traditional approach, partnering with a niche recruiter means working with a team of experts who specialize in a specific industry. Niche recruitment firms have evolved today to dominate the modern hiring process with higher success rates and faster turnarounds.

Compared to a niche recruiter that is more selective when bringing on clients, generalist recruiters often work for several clients across a wide scope of industries and locations. This can lead to certain accounts getting less attention than others as they try to juggle everything at the same time.

Niche recruiters keep their account list low, in order to provide each assignment with the necessary amount of time, dedication and focused strategy. This allows them to deliver high quality candidates and treat each assignment with careful attention to detail.


Why Work with a Niche Recruiter for Agriculture Recruitment?

When it comes to recruiting quality candidates for a specific, yet vast industry like agriculture, it is best to work with a niche recruiter. A general recruiter is less likely to have the industry and job market knowledge needed to fill a role in agribusiness, food production, ag technology or other fields that require a unique set of skills.

An agriculture recruitment agency understands the nuances of the industry. They’re a team of experts that are “in the know” about the ag job market and its current standing. They have years of experience and have established connections within an exclusive network of talent ranging from agronomy sales roles to production managers to suppliers to agribusiness executives, and many more.

The following is a list of the benefits you’ll gain by working with an agriculture recruiting firm for your hiring needs.


8 Benefits of Working with an Agriculture Recruitment Firm


1. Access to High Quality Candidates

Traditional recruiters may present you with hundreds of potential hires, but they cannot guarantee they’ll possess the qualities to fit your needs. This is due to the fact that they are limited in experience and knowledge about the nuances of the agriculture industry.

Ag recruiting firms, however, will typically have access to the highest quality candidates. This is true for several reasons.

First, an ag recruiting firm will take the time to learn about you, your company, as well as the specific skills and competencies your open position requires. With a clear understanding of your goals, they are able to seek out candidates with the key characteristics you’re looking for and avoid wasting time on candidates they know won’t be the right fit for the position.

Additionally, agriculture recruiters are heavily involved in the industry. This means they likely attend industry events and communicate with the big players and top talent of the agriculture world on a regular basis. Their involvement in the industry has allowed them to build strong relationships they can leverage when looking for quality candidates. Word of mouth is a powerful tool when it comes to hiring within a specific niche.

Lastly, agriculture recruitment companies not only seek out the top talent, but attract them. High level candidates, specialists and executives are more likely to go through a recruitment firm that has experience, expertise and connections within their field. An agriculture recruiter might already have the perfect fit in mind from your very first conversation.


2. Expertise in the Agriculture Industry and Job Market

Ag recruiting companies are typically a team of professionals that come from within the agriculture industry. They have in-depth knowledge into the agriculture, agribusiness and food production landscape, and keep up to date with what is happening within the job market.

With robust expertise in your industry, agriculture recruiters are able to better understand your goals, speak the language of your field and provide you with valuable insight into the recruitment process. This also allows them to accurately and confidently represent your company when connecting with potential candidates.

The right agriculture recruitment firm will have a team that is well-versed in each area of the ag industry. Whether you’re an agriculture supplier looking for a new rock star sales representative or starting a new agribusiness executive search, experienced ag headhunters will be able to connect with you on your level and have a comprehensive understanding of your company from day one.


3. Extensive Network of Potential Candidates

With years of combined experience, agriculture recruiters have established lasting relationships with an extensive network of executives, specialists, managers, sales representatives and other talented professionals throughout each area of the agriculture industry. By building these connections and becoming reputable ag headhunters, they are able to attract what is called passive candidates.

Passive candidates are workers that are already employed and not necessarily looking for a new position. However, if they’re presented with the right opportunity, they might be willing to leave their current position and join your team.

This is where the expertise, network and skills of an agriculture recruitment firm comes into play. They can leverage their knowledge of the job market to determine what would be “worth it” for a passive candidate to be interested in your job vacancy. Next, they can use their network to get in touch with the candidate, spark up that initial conversation and take the necessary steps to get him or her on board.

Without the experience and network of an agriculture or agribusiness recruiter, you would only have access to the candidates that are responding to your job postings – while the perfect fit is out there waiting for you to contact them.


4. Exclusive Partnership

Niche recruitment companies typically require exclusivity on the position. While many employers and executives might think this will limit their options or take too long, exclusivity is essential to efficiently recruit the perfect addition for your company.

An exclusive partnership guarantees you’ll be working with a dedicated team that will spend the necessary amount of time to understand your company and its core values. Using multiple recruiters does not offer the same level of dedication or time spent learning about your needs. Because they’re racing each other to be the first to fill the position, working with multiple recruiters will often result in under qualified candidates.

Exclusivity on the position also means the ag recruiter will work as an extension of your business using proactive and cohesive messaging. You won’t be risking any miscommunication or false advertising that could harm your reputation and push the right candidates away.

For more information on the benefits of working exclusively with a recruiter, check out our blog Top 12 Reasons You Should Never Work with Multiple Recruiters.


5. Professional Representation

Recruitment is a process that requires more than just posting about the job, collecting applications and conducting interviews. It involves reaching out to your peers or associates throughout the agriculture network in hopes of connecting with the perfect candidate. It is imperative the recruitment agency you work with understands your values, goals and brand messaging if they’re having conversations and sharing information about your business on your behalf.

As a recruiter reaches out to potential candidates within your industry, you want to be sure they are representing your company and using your name in a professional manner. Agriculture and agribusiness recruitment agencies that have a deep understanding of your industry and speak the language have a great advantage over generalist recruiters that do not.

If you consider the hiring process from the perspective of a potential candidate, general recruiters may leave out important details about the position or your company. They’ll often fail to follow up with feedback or to let them know they were not chosen for the role.

A general recruitment process can become confusing, misleading and cause candidates to pursue other opportunities. When your business is being properly represented, you’ll attract higher quality candidates that are extremely interested in what your company has to offer. An agriculture recruitment firm will represent your business in a competent and professional fashion. You’ll be perceived as an organized, well-connected, and desirable company to work for compared to others on the agriculture job market.


6. Higher Success Rate

Niche recruitment agencies have grown to dominate the recruitment industry. More employers are turning to specialty recruiters to handle their high level hiring opportunities because of their extensive knowledge, vast networks and custom recruitment strategies.

It has also become evident that ag recruiters have higher success rates than generalist recruiters. This can be attributed to the fact that they provide a more hands on approach that makes for a better overall experience for both employers and job seekers.

Typical contingency recruiters will simply share a job posting or advertisement and conduct broad outreach to their widespread network. They’ll run with just a few basic guidelines you provide upfront and find a long list of semi-qualified candidates.

For example, they might present a candidate with a resume dripping in impressive sales experience, but completely lacking in the extensive crop and soil production knowledge you need for your agronomy sales role. While some employers may be willing to provide the necessary training as part of their onboarding process, others may have time restraints that would require the new sales rep to get started right away.

Agriculture recruitment firms, on the other hand, will start off with an advanced discovery process to learn about the position, the key qualities of an ideal candidate and the current job market. They’ll carefully screen each candidate, explore their employment background and check in with their references, so they can put together an in-depth brief of their experience, skill sets and what they can bring to the position.

Additionally, an agriculture recruiter will take a consultative approach. As they send you briefs on candidates, they’ll take the time to walk you through their information, while explaining why they think they’re the right fit. You can trust you’ll receive their honest advice and feedback. Throughout the entire process, they’ll work alongside you to ensure you’re making the best decision.

This proactive approach combined with their extensive experience and knowledge in the industry allows for agriculture recruiters to have a much higher rate of success than that of generalist or traditional recruiters. You’re guaranteed to find the perfect addition to your company in less time and in a more cost-effective way.


7. Save Time, Money and Energy

The hunt for your next star employee can end up costing you valuable time that could be spent more productively on other responsibilities. Hours of researching, posting, calling and interviewing can definitely add up. Hiring a recruiter to handle the heavy lifting of the hiring process will save you a significant amount of time and effort, so you can focus your energy where it is needed the most.

However, working with a general recruiter may not offer the same gift of time you’ll get when working with a niche recruiter. Without knowledge in your specific field and a deep understanding of the job requirements, a general recruiter may need more hand-holding and multiple consultations early on in order to fully grasp the nuances of your line of work. You could find yourself having the same conversation more than once to ensure you’re both on the same page.

When you work with an experienced agriculture recruitment firm, you’ll spend less time explaining the basics and more time discussing your goals and company’s needs. Your initial conversations will be centered around developing an effective recruitment strategy.

Ag recruiters will also be selective in who they present to you as a potential candidate. Each potential applicant will undergo a rigorous screening process. Those that don’t meet all of the essential requirements for the role will be filtered out. You won’t waste any time reviewing under qualified briefs and rejecting applicants that don’t quite fit.

Additionally, agriculture headhunters are more likely to find the right candidate to fill the position at a faster rate. While general recruiters can take months to fill a role, an experienced ag recruiter can typically get the job done within 4 to 8 weeks.

The longer the process, the more time, energy and resources spent in your search for the perfect employee. Choosing to partner with a niche recruitment agency guarantees you’ll find the right hire in a reasonable amount of time without any added expenses.


8. Better Overall Experience for Hirers and Hirees

A niche recruitment agency, such as agribusiness or produce recruiters, will work as an extension of your team. They’ll take the time to build a partnership with you that is deeply rooted in open, honest communication and integrity. You can trust they have your best interest in mind and they won’t stop at anything to find that all-star employee that will have a positive impact on your business.

By partnering exclusively with a team that has experience and expertise in your niche, you’re more likely to have a better working relationship and more effortless communication. You’ll feel confident in their understanding of your unique requirements and goals. Plus, you’ll gain a trusted partner you can keep in your network to help you with all of your hiring needs moving forward.

Niche recruitment can also mean a better hiring experience for the candidates. Searching for a job can be challenging and overwhelming. General recruitment can cause added stress because it can often mean more competition, poor communication and misleading information about the position.

Agriculture recruiters know exactly how to speak with candidates on their level in language they’ll understand. They strive to provide straightforward and accurate information. Candidates can also expect updates throughout the process and insightful feedback on their job eligibility or ways to improve. Choosing a niche recruitment agency is a better experience for everyone involved.


In Conclusion

When it comes to recruiting for roles in agribusiness, agriculture or food production, it is best to choose a partner that understands the industry as well as you do – especially for roles that are more difficult to fill. Agriculture recruitment firms can offer the expertise, experience and priceless connections to help you find your next best employee in as little as four weeks.

You’ll not only save time, money and energy by working with an ag recruiter, you’ll gain peace of mind and confidence that you’ll be seeing the best candidates on the job market. While general recruitment can lead to months of searching with no luck, niche recruitment ensures a frictionless process, high success rate and a favorable experience overall for both you and the candidates.

Here at AgHires, we serve each of our clients with our deep knowledge and insider experience in the world of agriculture. Our extensive experience working in the ag industry has helped us establish lasting relationships with the highest quality candidates and companies. We pride ourselves in our ability to build authentic partnerships with our clients and develop unique recruitment solutions to their individual needs.

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