Ranch and feedyard managers know that good employees are critical to the success of the operation. They also know that finding good employees is one of their most difficult challenges. Employment interviews can be an important step in the hiring process, but can be difficult for managers and applicants alike.

Ohio State University Agricultural Economist Bernie Erven lists nine steps that can help managers use the interview process effectively, to identify suitable employees and to sell their businesses to top applicants in a competitive environment. Managers can conduct an interview including each step in about 30 minutes.

1. Relax the applicant and build rapport. (two to three minutes)

2. Give the applicant a copy of the job description and describe the job in considerable detail. (three to five minutes)

3. Determine the accuracy of the information on the application form. (Four to seven minutes)

4. Ask a series of open-ended questions previously prepared. (ten to 15 minutes)

5. Encourage the applicant to ask questions. (two to five minutes)

6. Summarize your mission, objectives and business philosophy. (two to four minutes)

7. Summarize the opportunities provided to the person in the position. (two to four minutes)

8. Encourage the applicant to ask questions. (two to ten minutes.)

9. Close with information about plans for making a decision. (two to four minutes)

Dr. Erven stresses the importance of preparation, saying the manager should use the same format and the same list of job-related questions with each applicant for a particular job.