How to lose a professional or executive recruit

Recently, we’ve noticed a concerning trend in the Ag industry—an unusually high number of executive recruits are turning down offers. Why is this?

From our experience, hiring managers in Ag are struggling with a critical element of our very candidate-short job market: that hiring is a 2-way street. Candidates are looking for employers to sell themselves as they are—to meet them halfway in the process of interviewing and hiring. 

Not many employers have gotten the message yet. They’re still behaving as if they hold all the cards, and candidates are begging to differ. Read on for some of the biggest mistakes that are sabotaging the recruiting strategy for Ag employers everywhere.

Become A Destination Employer in Ag

The main reason executive recruits are turning down roles

The short answer for why many professional and executive recruits would take a pass on job prospects is that they’re not getting the candidate experience they deserve. But a poor candidate experience can manifest itself in several different ways. 

For starters, it helps to consider the experience of the ideal candidate. Nearly all of the executives and professionals looking for a new career or career change in Ag will generally have several different jobs to choose from. It makes sense to imagine that, out of a roster of prospective employers, the candidate will likely choose the employer whose interview process was the most prompt, communicative, and considerate.

Here are the top ten things that tend to happen as candidates get dragged through what some companies think is their pride and joy of a hiring process. 

Top Ten Mistakes Ag Employers Are Making 

At the same time an employer is interviewing candidates, the candidate is interviewing them. What may seem like a commonplace process for interviewing executives and professionals actually becomes much different when the tables are turned:

“We like what we see, and we want to interview you”

That’s great! How about now? It might be hard to imagine, but some candidates don’t get a follow-up response for ten days! There is no reason that an employer sending such a message shouldn’t include a few days and times a candidate can choose for an interview ASAP.

First impressions count

Too often, a candidate’s first point of contact is a “negative” person, or the hiring manager puts them through a lengthy process of overwhelming and excessive assessments. The candidate could use this as a “sneak peek” at the goings-on within the organization and take a pass.

Dragging feet on an offer

Most candidates lose their patience after 48 hours. Employers who feel good about a candidate should promptly make an offer. The trend here is being prompt. Do not let time pass in the interviewing and hiring process. Downtime allows for doubt and second-guessing that can unnecessarily spoil a great hire.


The offer is made, and it’s short of the industry’s median wage for the role, or worse, short of a candidate’s reasonable request. The fact is, Ag employers simply need to budget and pay higher wages—especially in this current inflationary environment—to get new people on board.

Unexpected Changes

Changing any terms in the written offer vs. what was verbalized in the interview happens much more frequently than you’d imagine. Many employers are making a big mistake in thinking their candidates aren’t reading the fine print. 

Ignoring questions

There is no such thing as a dumb question. Especially in interviews, an inquisitive candidate indicates interest and enthusiasm in the company and how they may fit in the workplace. Likewise, ignoring their questions or offering vague, half-answers is a good way to tell a candidate they aren’t interested in them and what they have to offer.

Brag about the company’s successes

We get it; Ag can be a very challenging industry. Employers who are making it happen have a lot to be proud of. But it’s always wise to temper the successes of the company with humility and gratitude for the same reasons nobody wants to hire an overly boastful candidate.

No discussion of the future

Failure to illustrate how a candidate could advance in the organization limits the long-term view of the candidate’s career. Candidates want to know about their future with the company and its culture. Without clarity on either the future or the company culture, even a great wage won’t buy the candidate’s loyalty. It just rents it for a while.

Lip service

Many employers will extend a written offer that doesn’t address everything, followed by verbal promises such as “I know this offer isn’t everything you wanted, but we promise to make those adjustments later.” But candidates know better, and they’ve probably been burned by broken promises. They know that soon as their paperwork is signed, the important perks or benefits that were omitted will move to the back burner and will likely be forgotten entirely.

Employers need to sell themselves

We said it before, but it’s worth saying again—in today’s candidate market, employers need to sell themselves with the same responsiveness and enthusiasm as their candidates.

There is no good excuse for poor or slow communication. No call within 48 hours will affect the candidate’s opinion of the company. More than 48 hours will most certainly send them packing with warnings for their friends and industry peers about their negative interview experience.

Executive and professional candidates are taking a risk considering a new career or career change. So they want to know, why should they make a change if it’s not for the better? 

Hire with success!

Ag employers who want to improve their hiring strategy should get on the bandwagon for improving their interviewing process and company culture. Candidates want to know that you care. 

Perhaps the best way to show them you care and are eager to hire great talent is to work with Ag 1 Source—the most trusted recruiter for executive and professional talent in Agriculture. Contact Ag 1 today and get started on a new path to hiring for success.