5 Interviewing Tips for Finding the Right Equine Business Employee

Here are five tips to help you get the most out of a face-to-face interview with a potential horse farm or stable job applicant.

The face-to-face interview with potential farm or stable employees is key to getting the right person on your team.

Spring and summer are the busiest seasons at a horse farm or boarding facility and often are when you are hiring additional employees. How can you make sure you are hiring the right employees? This series on finding the right employee should help.

Before offering someone a job, you’ll want to invite them to an interview. Set yourself and the candidate up for success with these five tips.

Enable Candidates to Perform Well

You’ll want an idea of how a candidate will respond under pressure because client interactions are never scripted. However, there are ways to arrive at these conclusions without catching a candidate off guard. Let the candidate know if he or she can expect an individual or group meeting and if the person will be asked to perform a task during the interview process. 

For example, if the person will be responsible for handling client and school horses, it should be told to the person that you will observe him or her catching and leading a horse from the field to the barn or vice versa. 

If you are hiring a riding instructor, it would be within your realm as the potential employer to ask to see the person teach whatever levels would be required in the job you are offering. That might mean you have to go to where the person is teaching now, or that the person comes and teaches students (or staff) you select for a demonstration. However, don’t spring that requirement on the potential employee.

Know the Candidate

The right candidate will learn as much as possible about your business, the services you offer, your facility and perhaps even who your other staff members are. Grant the interviewee the same courtesy. Do your research. That means at the least you have read the person’s resume. It would be in your best interest to have called references and found out what you can about the person from mutual acquaintances.

This knowledge base creates a more comfortable atmosphere when you are interviewing. It also gives you the best opportunity to hire the right person if you have done your homework.

Don’t Worry About Silence

If you ask a question and the interviewee doesn’t answer right away, fight the urge to fill the void with more conversation. Sometimes the most revealing information comes from a candidate when he or she has a moment to collect his or her thoughts and proceed with an answer.

The Questions

Choose behavior-based questions that encourage the individual to elaborate on how they would respond in different scenarios. Here are two examples:

  • “Have you ever been in a situation where a client asked you to do something you thought was questionable or unethical? What was it, and how did you respond?”
  • “When working with clients, we sometimes are placed in a position where we promised more than we could deliver. Tell me about a time when you over-promised and under-delivered. What happened and what could you have done to prevent that situation?”

Questions to Avoid

The federal Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the hiring process but doesn’t outline a list of specific questions that are off limits. Familiarize yourself with the general categories covered by the legislation. This includes family status (“Are you planning on getting pregnant in the next year?”), marital status (“Are you married or living with a woman or man?”), political or religious affiliation (“Do you attend church each Sunday?”), race, age, sexual orientation, etc.

A candidate might reveal some of this information voluntarily in the course of a discussion. If that happens, direct the conversation back to the topic or question at hand. Jot down a note that the candidate self-disclosed potentially sensitive information.






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