Sep 282010
The Animal Science Monitor
In This Issue

About This Issue

In Search Of

The Art of the Courtesy Interview, Part 1

Before the Interview: Do Your Homework

In Focus: The National Grain and Feed Association

Attend the National Conference for Agribusiness!

Coming Up in the Next Issue

Lookingfor a new career in the Animal ScienceIndustry?Please visit:

Connect with TheASM!


Visit us on the web!

About This Issue . . . 

Sometimes, The Animal Science Monitor has a specific theme associated with it . . . even when we don’t try to assign one.  That’s the case with this issue, and there seems to be not one, but two themes: interviews and events.  We’ll tackle the subject of interviews from two different perspectives—that of the job seeker and that of the employer.  And as far as events are concerned, there are two big ones upcoming in animal science and animal nutrition, and we’re pleased to give them both exposure in our newsletter.  As always, regardless of the theme, we hope that you enjoy this issue of The ASM. 


‘In Search of . . .’

Welcome to the next installment of our “In Search of . . .” series, in which we highlight Dan Simmons’s hottest job opening.  The same job might run in consecutive issues, but our goal is to give exposure to as many openings as possible throughout the year.  Below is the position that we’d like to highlight in this issue of The Animal Science Monitor.


Location: Ohio

Established agriculture business in Ohio seeks seasoned business professional to develop and manage the recruiting, training, and mentoring of their workforce.  The ultimate goal of the Leadership Development Director is to make the company the “Employers of Choice” in the counties in which they’re located and in the agriculture industry in the Ohio tri-state area.  You will be an internal consultant to the executive and management team of a growing company.

To be considered, applicants must possess the following:

  • Ten (10) years of work experience and experience in agriculture
  • The ability to work well in a privately held company with less than 500 employees
  • Experience working in a non-union environment
  • A “get-it-done” attitude and ability
  • Ties to Ohio
  • A steady job history of increasing responsibility, maturity, and creativity
  • A B.S. or B.A. degree  

If you’d like more information about how you can give your open positions exposure in The ASM, contact Dan Simmons at (888) 276-6789 or via email at

The Art of the Courtesy Interview, Part 1

(By Dan Simmons) 

There you are, seated at your desk, trying desperately to meet your next deadline when an associate stops by (or maybe a recruiter calls) to tell you that he was just speaking with a top performer from your direct competitor.  We’ll call him “Paul.”  Paul just asked if your company is hiring.  You’ve heard of Paul, and if you had an open position, he would be the first person you’d contact.  But you don’t have an open slot on your team.  What do you do? 

You have two choices. (A) You could go back to the mound of useless paperwork on your desk, or (B) you could pick up the phone and invite Paul to lunch.  The correct answer is (B).  Pick up the phone and extend the invitation. 

Right now, those of you with mounds of paper and tight deadlines are desperately trying to stop reading this article, but you know in your heart that I’m right.  Here’s why: it’s what you don’t know about this situation that could hurt you, and that includes the following: 

  • Paul’s timetable; it might fit your budget year, or maybe he can wait until an opening arrives.
  • How many on your team are presently interviewing for jobs elsewhere?  There may be an opening sooner than you think.

Paul might believe that a big change your competitor is about to make is wrong.  Top performers often get out just before a big mistake.  Knowing about this change ahead of time could help your company capitalize on it, and perhaps you could use Paul because of a change in the marketplace. 

How much do you know about your competitors?  Isn’t there an old adage that states, “Keep your friends close . . . and your enemies closer”?  Use this meeting to get a better perspective on your competitor and a different perspective on your company.  See your company through Paul’s eyes. 

Paul could reach high ranks someday, and you might have the opportunity to join his team in a more senior role.  Wouldn’t a positive meeting today be a nice step to a great job later? 

Should you do this with every person you hear about?  Maybe, but probably not.  You should definitely do this with people who work in hard-to-fill positions and with top 20% performers in their field.

What to say on the call:

“Hi!  My name is XX, and I’m the Director of XX at Great Employer.  I was speaking with XX today and he recommended that I give you a call.  He said that you might want to explore advancing your career, and I’d like to know what you have in mind.”  (Pause and see if Paul picks up on this; if not, ask if XX was correct; and if yes . . .)  “Would you be available for lunch one day next week?”

What to say during the interview:

First, set expectations accordingly.  Start with the truth.  “I wanted to meet with you, as I’ve heard good things about you.  I’m not actively recruiting for a particular job at this time, but things can change at any moment.  I thought it best to learn what you were hoping to do in your next position so that I can review our situation and see if I can make a fit.  Tell me what you’re hoping your future will hold.”  SHUT UP and LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY to what he has to say.  And then follow up with this: “While I try to stay on top of the industry, I certainly don’t have your vantage point on your current employer.  Why do you think you need to look outside of your current employer to achieve your goals?” 

The answer to this question will explain what’s wrong in his situation.  If you can provide the future Paul is looking for and your company does not have the same issues that his does, you can recruit Paul.  However, if he has unrealistic expectations, I hope your meal is tasty, because it may be the best thing to happen during this hour. 

(Editor’s note: Read our next issue for the second part of this article, when Dan will explore the possible outcomes of the courtesy interview.) 

Before the Interview: Do Your Homework

(By Dan Simmons) 

In this digital age, it’s possible to walk into an interview knowing as much about the interviewer as they know about you.  Keep in mind that people like to hire people like themselves and who have had similar experiences.  Armed with this information, you should be able to put your best foot forward in interview situations.  Getting this information is easy, free, and ethical.  I’ll give you an example. 

Suppose you have a big interview at Land O’ Lakes Purina Feed and among those you’re meeting that day are the big bosses of the feed division.  So I go to and ask “Who is the VP of Nutrition at Land O’ Lakes Purina Feed?”  The fourth search result displays an article from Business Week that includes the fact that Dave Hoogmoed replaced Palacios as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.  According to the article, “Hoogmoed’s long experience in the Purina feed business and his strong connection to its dealer network, the co-op system, and national accounts will be important assets supporting his leadership of this business going forward.” 

Okay, now we know who; let’s find out about him.  I type “Dave Hoogmoed” into Google, and the second search result is from, which has a brief bio about Dave.  We see that in 2010, he is the first Vice-Chair of NFGA, and that in 2007 he was quoted in Farm & Country, a Canadian publication.  Purina’s Mid-America Manager at the time, he spoke on the swine industry. 

The 11th search result takes me to the Land O’ Lakes corporate site, where his bio is also provided.  Dig a little deeper, and you will find a newsletter from a co-op that shows Dave in a picture.  Now check him out on LinkedIn.  Go to and type in his name.  You will soon find his profile.  Do the same with FaceBook. 

Here’s what we know.  Dave has been with LOL for a while and most likely came via the Purina acquisition.  We know he has expertise in the swine industry and what he looks like.  We see that he is respected by his peers (NFGA position) and that he has 30 years of experience in sales and business leadership.  You now know as much about him as he does about you with your resume. 

Do this with everyone you interview with—use Google, ZoomInfo, Linkedin, FaceBook, and the company’s own website to understand who you will meet with, so as to present yourself in the best light possible. 

If you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact me at 

Connect to Dan Simmons on LinkedIn. 

In Focus: The National Grain and Feed Association

Next month, the Pet Food Institute and the National Grain and Feed Association will host the Feed and Pet Food Joint Industries Conference (JIC).  This conference will be held on Wednesday, September 22, through Friday, September 24, at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago.  For more information, visit  In the meantime, The ASM will be profiling both organizations leading up to their joint conference.  First up is the Pet Food Institute. 

NGFA overview 

The National Grain and Feed Association, founded in 1896, is a broad-based, non-profit trade association that represents and provides services for grain, feed and related commercial businesses.    

Its activities focus on enhancing the growth and economic performance of U.S. agriculture.  NGFA member firms: 

  • consist of more than 1,000 companies comprising about 6,000 facilities.
  • handle more than 70 percent of all U.S. grains and oilseeds utilized in domestic and export markets.
  • encompass all sectors of the industry.
  • represent a balance of small and large companies, including both privately owned and cooperative firms. 

NGFA purpose statement

The NGFA is a broad-based organization representing and providing services for grain, feed and all related commercial interests.  Association activities are focused on the growth and economic performance of U.S. agriculture.

Mission statement

The NGFA will foster an efficient free-market environment that produces an abundant, safe and high-quality supply of grain, feed and feeding ingredients for domestic and world consumers.  This is accomplished through representation of member interests, and effective education and communication to members, the public and government.

Strategic alliances

The NGFA also has strategic alliances with three respected organizations to benefit the industry:

Pet Food Institute (PFI), whose members manufacture 98 percent of total U.S. dog and cat food, a  nearly $20 billion industry.  The NGFA works closely with PFI on public policy, issues management, communications and education programs to benefit the feed sector.

North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA), established in 1912, whose member companies ship virtually all U.S. bulk grain and oilseed exports.  The NGFA and NAEGA are co-located and coordinate policy and government representation on trade-related issues.

Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS), established in 1927, an international professional society of 2,500 persons who work in the grain-handling and processing industry.  The NGFA works with GEAPS to enhance the efficiency and safety of facility operations.

NGFA categories of membership

There are four categories of membership within the NGFA.  Those four are Active Members, NGFA Associate/Trading Members, NGFA Regular Associates, and NGFA Affiliated Associates.

For more information about these categories of membership, click here. 

For more information about the National Grain and Feed Institute, visit 


Attend the National Conference for Agribusiness!

At The Animal Science Monitor, we like to highlight upcoming events of interest in the areas of animal science and animal nutrition.  We believe these events are extremely valuable for those who choose to attend them.

That’s why we’d like to promote the 2010 National Conference for Agribusiness, which is scheduled for Tuesday, November 16, and Wednesday, November 17, at Purdue University.  The theme of this year’s conference is “Pushing Boundaries and Discovering New Ways to Grow.”

The featured keynote speakers for the event are Carl Hausmann and David Reid.  Hausmann is the Managing Director of Global Government and Corporate Affairs for Bunge Limited, while Reid is the Vice President of Corporate E&P Business and Technology at National Oilwell Varco.

There are a number of benefits associated with attending this year’s National Conference for Agribusiness.  If you attend, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Challenge your basic assumptions and beliefs about growth and innovation
  • Discuss important talent management topics, such as recruiting and managing the Millennial Generation
  • Explore how sustainability is affecting the agribusiness industry
  • Understand agriculture’s responsibility for innovation
  • Meet, network, and share ideas with a group of your peers

Click here for more information about the conference and to register.  For more information about this event, contact April Sauer at (765) 494-4328.

If you’d like to give your event more exposure within The Animal Science Monitor, send an email to


Coming Up in the Next Issue . . .

In our next issue, we’ll continue to look at the interview process, which is extremely important for both job seekers looking to land a great opportunity and employers who are hoping to find their next great employee.  And of course, we’ll have a bunch of other fun things for you, as well.  After all, that’s what you’ve come to expect from us.

The next issue of The ASM is scheduled for publication during the week of September 27 .

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.