Making a job offer

Find out how to check references for your preferred applicant and how to go about making a job offer.

Tips for making a job offer

Remember that often farm positions are advertised at a similar time of year. This means that job seekers are rapidly entering and leaving the job market as they find a new position. Because of this, timing is critical and the entire recruitment process needs to be completed reasonably quickly. You don’t want to lose your top applicant because you weren’t quick enough to offer a job.

How to check references

At interview, everyone is usually on their best behaviour – this can sometimes lead to false impressions. Reference checking is critical to ensure that the information you were given in the interview is correct and also to understand how the applicant has performed and behaved in the past.

It's best to use a standard set of questions to ask each applicant’s referees. Remember that legally you can only contact referees that the applicant has nominated. References might be bound to company policy and only able to give factual information, such as role title, salary, duration of employment and so on.

What sort of questions can I ask?

These are the kinds of questions that might be useful when you are checking references:

  • On what date did the applicant start working for you?
  • On what date did the applicant stop working for you?
  • Were they in full time, part time or another type of employment at your organisation?
  • What was their official job title?
  • What was their working relationship with you?
  • What was their punctuality and attendance like?
  • Was the applicant ever subject to disciplinary action? If so, please provide details from your official records.
  • Are you satisfied that the applicant is suitable for work in an organisation with safeguarding obligations?
  • Do you have any further comments about the applicant?

How to make a job offer

When the references have been checked and you’re happy with the person you’ve chosen, you can call and offer them the job. Make sure you follow up in writing.

If they accept, ask them to meet with you as soon as possible to look over an employment agreement. If they live some distance away, you can send them a copy of the agreement. Either way, you need to discuss each section of the proposed agreement to ensure that it is clearly understood. If you both understand the expectations clearly then the chance of a successful and productive relationship is much greater.

Your legal obligations when you offer someone a job

An employment agreement is a legal document, so the applicant must be given time to seek legal advice and negotiate the terms of the agreement. You should never pressure the applicant into signing. One week is generally considered an appropriate amount of time.

Contacting unsuccessful applicants

It is professional to let other interview applicants know of your progress in making a decision, especially if they ask. However, do keep great applicants on side as your first choice person may not accept the job. Once the successful applicant has signed the employment agreement then it is good practice to inform the unsuccessful applicants of the outcome in writing.

Useful links 

Choosing who to interview

How to conduct an interview