Dec. 17 2014 08:21 AM

Select the best person for the position

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On NFL draft night, the team with the worst record picks first. They are, in theory, in need of the best talent. It used to surprise me that the most touted college players, like Heisman Trophy finalists, didn't get selected first, second and third. Now, I understand it is more about how that player would fit into the current organizations team dynamics.

If you already have a quarterback with potential, why draft another quarterback, just because he is the best player available? If you did that enough, you'd have too many play callers and not enough talent to support them. The same can be said for farms. Well-managed operations need skilled players at all the positions – milking, calf care, reproduction and so forth. Having top-notch people at only one or a few positions can create weaknesses.

Imagine a "dairy draft" with the top college students. Scouts report experience strengths, workouts with your current employee team and a complete physical. Then, as the owner, you could determine if you could effectively use their strengths, their fit with current employees, and if they could physically handle the job's demands.

I read an article for an agricultural manufacturing company who was expanding their facilities and was having a "walk-on" event to find new employees. At this job fair, potential hires for full-time, entry-level jobs (and some supervisor spots) took a written test and were interviewed. There were a variety of positions available, but all candidates needed to have the legal right to work in the United States, a high school diploma and steady one-year job history.

The written test, administered in English, covered basic math, reading and logic. They hoped to find entry-level people who were mechanically inclined, computer proficient, could follow protocols and work well with others. If they did well, they were given a drug test, fitness evaluation and a physical. Those that passed were offered employment that day.

While for manufacturing, and not on a dairy, I thought it was still a great way to evaluate potential hires. It allowed management to really see what applicants brought to the table, rather than shuffling through resumes. Or, in some case, just hiring the first guy who walks on your farm after an employee leaves.

Finding good employees is tough, especially in areas where dairy is not dominant. While we cannot all draft from the very top every time, there are some interesting ways to encourage applications and methods to sift through potential candidates to find the right fit for the job and your operation.

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The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.