Posts

Things to consider when recruiting in AgriTech

Sam Clayton, Managing Director and Recruiter at AgRecruit shares his views

Running an AgriTech specific recruitment business means that I spend my time working with companies in the AgriFood domain when it comes to recruiting for roles that are non-traditional for the sector. This sees me working on roles in Software Engineering, AI & Robotics, Data and various Engineering disciplines, as well as commercially oriented roles focused on a tech service.

For start-ups, or perhaps more established entities delving into the tech market for the first time, recruitment can mean stepping outside of the Agri world and into a wild-west where you’ll be fighting tooth and nail for the in-demand talent you need, against companies across the likes of Banking, Retail, Energy, Healthcare and any other sector you can think of.

This post focuses on elements that need consideration before you even dip your toe into the water and start engaging with candidates. Some may seem obvious, but hopefully there’ll be one or two you hadn’t thought of which will help you on your way…

Does what you’re looking for exist?

You may have 3-4 business needs that require addressing, varying from Sales through to Software Development – but, if you’re expecting one miracle worker to solve all of these, you might have to think again. With the odd exception, generally people will specialise in one discipline; so you need to decide which of these is the most pressing, or work out if you can recruit for more than one post.

How challenging is the role to fill?

You’ve decided that your requirements are feasible and it’s all systems go. Will it be straightforward though? Software Engineers and Data Scientists, for example, are established role types – but are still notoriously hard to find and attract. Are you looking for a skillset that is abundantly available, or is this a highly specialist role that could prove challenging?

Can you make life easier for yourself?

If, based on the above point, you’ve deduced that this could be challenging, can you take measures to open up the pool of viable candidates? Some flexibility on aspects such as remote working or the role requirements (could elements be learned on the job?) can significantly facilitate your journey.

What do you have to offer?

What is standout or unique about you and your proposition that will be enough to not only convince somebody that the upheaval of changing jobs is worthwhile, but also that you should be their first choice versus the other parties vying for their attention? How are you making your ‘USPs’ (Unique Selling Points) apparent to candidates?

Do you have an interview & selection plan?

What type of interview(s) do you want to carry out and across how many stages? Are all decision makers agreed on what is needed and reading from the same hymn-sheet? Will your process give people a chance? Of course, the barrier for entry can’t be set too low… but, on the other hand, a process that is overly arduous or drawn out may result in great candidates being ruled out for minor imperfections or becoming disengaged.

Do you have the time?

You doubtless have other tasks and responsibilities that require attention; do you have the time to make this a priority right now? Can you review CVs in good time? Do you have time to vet candidates on the basics (e.g. salary expectations, are they serious about looking or just ‘window shopping’, etc) before committing to interview? Are you and all other decisions makers available to move through the interview process at sufficient rapidity?

Will you need help?

If you’ve exhausted your own network and your job ad isn’t yielding results, you may need to enlist help and look at going down the Recruitment Agency route. It will need to be a sufficiently attractive proposition for an agency to invest time & resources into. Surprisingly to many, the fee % you’re willing to pay is not the most important thing here; experienced Recruiters are more likely to prioritise the prospect of a healthy working relationship and partnership. To aid this, consider whether you’d be happy to work with one agency exclusively, or will there likely be further assignments to come should they deliver for you?

All the above points could lead to a blog post on their own, but hopefully this is enough to help make your life easier and start to maximise your chances of success. We are passionate about building further relationships in the AgriTech space and lending a helping hand where possible to growing companies in this domain, so will always be happy to provide advice and guidance for free on the topics mentioned here. Happy hunting!

Contact Sam Clayton at AgRecruit for help on anything covered in this post, or any other recruitment related enquiries:
(+44) 01908 035950
sam.clayton@agrecruit-ltd.com

Agri-EPI Centre welcomes new COO

Kirk Siderman-Wolter has joined the growing Agri-EPI team as its new COO, working to support CEO Dave Ross and taking responsibility for the operational, financial and support functions of the organisation.

He started on the 1st of December, with a vision of ensuring Agri-EPI has the infrastructure to empower world leading precision and agricultural technologies.

Kirk has an extensive career ranging from work in central government to social enterprise and innovation companies. He has worked from audit to board level in the private, public and charities sectors all round the world, and has held posts with the Ministry of Justice, BEIS, the Home Office and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

A Chartered Accountant, he also holds an MBA from the London Business School and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Guelph, Canada’s largest agricultural university.

Committed to the idea of giving something back to the community, Kirk is also a non-executive director of PTSD999, a charitable affiliated group for PTSD sufferers within the emergency services and is a governor for the Education & Training Collective (formerly Stockton & Riverside College Group).

Having worked with everything from start-ups and rapidly growing companies to large and multinational organisations, he has a strong understanding of what it takes to run a business and how to work with central, devolved and local governments; as well as socially minded organisations.

More recently he has also worked with an innovation house, supporting their growth from two functioning operational units to a site with seven highly advanced research and design facilities, bringing technology and skills with global relevance.

“I am excited to be joining this dynamic and rapidly growing organisation,” he says. “I have a vision of Agri-EPI operating as a fulcrum to bring our members and partners together with government and the investment community to create a fertile and productive environment to support agri-tech innovation in the UK.”

A word from the acting Chair Vincent Gillingham, Director AgSpace:

“I have the pleasure to congratulate Kirk on his new role as COO, I know the whole Board is wishing him a successful mission. Agri-EPI has made an excellent choice based on expertise, experience and talent.“