Editor's Note: The following feature was published in the September/October issue of PorkNetwork. Click here to view it and other features from the issue.

There are certainly many qualified active job seekers that are presently unemployed. However, employers also want to recruit passive candidates to join their organization. Passive candidates are usually currently employed and not actively searching for a new position. Recruiting these candidates can be more challenging and time consuming.

AgCareers.com is a top job board for not only those actively looking for jobs, but also for passive candidates. Many passive candidates continue to visit the website on a regular basis. They also subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the industry and find out about career advancement and new job openings that might entice them to make a move. AgCareers.com regularly encourages interactions with thousands of followers on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, too. 

So how do you make your company attractive to passive candidates? What will make these top-notch candidates apply to your positions, and more importantly, accept a job offer?

Emphasize Stability

You may be surprised that many candidates value job security over pay and employers tend to underestimate this in the recruiting process. When AgCareers.com surveyed 1,500 job seekers about what they look for in an employer, they responded that being a ‘leader in the industry’ and having ‘good products’ were more important than compensation. Emphasize stability in job postings by including information about the length of time your company has been in business, awards and recognitions received, and links to testimonials from long-term employees. 

Pay is Still Important

Although perhaps not the most important factor, compensation is still critical when candidates consider the list of reasons to join an organization. Make sure you are competitive in your market. Candidates are constantly comparing themselves to others and have ready access to online pay-scale tools and surveys. Employers need to be just as smart by benchmarking their pay against competitors. You can only do this by collecting data from a third party source. AgCareers.com offers the Compensation Benchmark Review (CBR) which is a salary survey specifically for the agriculture industry. 

If possible, list your base pay on the job posting. We have found that nearly 40 percent of candidates were discouraged from applying to jobs when no salary information was provided. At the very least, list “highly competitive pay” and specify other benefits and perks of the position.

When looking at compensation, make sure you are aware of industry standards for more than just base salaries. Many positions include features such as a company car, cell phone or gym membership. If such features are standard inclusions in salary packages for positions you are recruiting, state this in the job posting so the best candidates will see the total value in your organization. Top candidates know what benefits they want and will be keeping an eye out for them from the beginning of the application stage.


A candidate’s decision about which organization to work for is not just about compensation (as we’ve mentioned), so your organization needs to develop a point of difference. A point of difference can be flexibility, i.e. the ability for an employee to take responsibility for their own work hours. For example, something as simple as a casual dress policy can be a differentiating characteristic for a candidate coming from a formal corporate culture. Not only will these points of difference help attract great applicants but they will also attract the type of applicants who are more likely to be a good fit with your company culture.

If you have a high achieving candidate who is a perfect fit for your organization, chances are they are also highly sought-after by other organizations. This means you need to be willing to be flexible and negotiate with this candidate.

Climate Assessment

Are your company’s current employees happy to be there? If it is known throughout the industry that your organization has a great culture with happy employees, more top candidates will also want to work for you. Think about companies like Google and Starbucks that have promoted their cultures. Word-of-mouth is a powerful recruiting tool! Measuring employee satisfaction will help you to understand how your current employees feel, and whether or not improvements need to be made.


Passive candidates value relationships. You may locate a candidate in the AgCareers.com database or meet them at a tradeshow. Reach out to them via email to find out about their current status. Be sure to personalize your email to them and ask questions that invite a response. If they are not interested in making a move now, keep them in your contacts and regularly check in with them. Invite them to connect on LinkedIn. Career sites such as AgCareers.com engage employers as well as active, and passive candidates in conversations to expand knowledge, make connections and provide networking opportunities.   

Editor’s Note: For more details on the AgCareers.com Compensation Benchmark Review , contact compensation@agcareers.com.  For other questions, contact agcareers@agcareers.com.