Sunday 29th of November 2020

Five mistakes equine employers make when recruiting

 sarah huntley

‘You’re Hired’ may be the words often associated with Sir Alan Sugar but the majority of equine employers are unable to go to such a lengthy process to find the right person for the job.




We are delighted that Sarah Huntley, MD of Equine Elite, the multi award-winning specialist equestrian recruitment agency, has joined The Gaitpost as our Recruitment Advisor. In the first of a new series, Sarah guides us through common mistakes that are made when recruiting.


  1. Poorly written adverts – The advert is the ‘shop window’ on the employers business. Make sure the advert is about the applicant, rather than about the employer. Obviously, whilst you shouldn’t lie on an advert, make it appealing to the reader and any potential candidates. Keep the advert as broad as possible so that you attract the maximum number of candidates – to increase the likelihood of finding that perfect person!


  1. Discrimination – Make sure your advert does not discriminate on the basis of any ‘protected characteristics’. For example, age, sex, disability, pregnancy – unless the requirement can be legally justified. For example, avoid using words such as ‘mature’ or ‘youthful’ – as these terms could be seen as excluding someone from applying for a role based on their age.


  1. Unrealistic expectations – The saying goes ‘if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’ – and this rings true time and time again. Employers advertising roles that do not meet the legal limits of employment law in terms of wage, hours and holiday often struggle to recruit and have a high turnover of staff. Employers who pay their staff fairly and treat them well gain a good reputation in the industry, and attract the best candidates!


  1. Tunnel Vision – Relevant transferrable skills go a long way, even if they don’t perfectly match your criteria. Nothing is more frustrating to a recruiter than a very capable candidate with a highly relevant skill set being turned down by an employer who has a narrow and fixed view on what they are looking for. Many skills in the equestrian industry are widely transferable – attitude and willingness to learn are key – so look for these qualities first and foremost before turning a candidate down based on their specific experience.


  1. Lack of training and development – In a 2014 study, conducted by the British Grooms Association stated that only 45% of working pupils in the equestrian industry received formal training they are entitled to, in comparison to nearly 90% of employees in other industries. Incorporating training that develops employees toward their long-term career goals can help to increase job satisfaction. A more satisfied employee is likely to stay longer and be more productive while on your team. Employers need to think about how they can motivate their staff – using long and short-term goals, targets and incentives. Your staff need to feel valued and invested in – so make sure you set aside time to spend training and developing your staff once you have recruited them!

Next time: Five mistakes equestrian job seekers make and how to avoid them


About Sarah:

Sarah spent over 10 years as a professional competition groom working in the top levels of eventing, showjumping, dressage and showing in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia. She has groomed at some of the biggest events in the world and has been fully immersed in the equine world – both on yards and in office-based positions. During time working in a variety of top-level yards, she realised the need for a time and cost-effective way for equestrian companies and yards to recruit and retain high quality staff. Sarah has a strong background in Sport and Performance Psychology, is fully trained in Competency Based Interviewing and has spent years working professionally in HR and Recruitment.

Aside from recruitment, Sarah is a bit of a fitness fanatic! She participates in triathlon and open water swimming througout the summer months as well as training in CrossFit during the winter! She rides regularly – and shows a lovely riding horse at County level. 


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