Douglas Emerson Profitable Horseman
Profitable Horseman Newsletter 
May 6, 2010
In This Issue
Main Article
Live Workshop North Plains, OR
Others Have Said
Back At The Barn

Ten Tips for Interviewing To Avoid Hiring The Wrong Person

If you are like many professional horsemen, finding the right people to help you in your business is one of your biggest challenges.  That's partly because candidates with horse experience are limited, the rate of pay in the equine industry is low in comparison to other industries and much of the work is unsupervised requiring employees with good work habits.

A resume, job application and a short interview will you tell you only part of the story about an employee candidate.

You know what I mean if you've ever had your promising new hire show up for work on Monday morning and you find out that not only did the name on the job application and the face from the interview show up, a whole person came along as well with a life history and assorted baggage.

There are many books and articles written every year on the subject of hiring. Read one, or skim several to expand your skills.

But, like most things, experience is the best teacher on the practice of hiring good people.

Experience has taught me that the following points are important to consider in your interview process. They're in random order and may seem blatantly obvious. But, like a mare with her ears pinned flat on her neck, the obvious is still worthy of your attention.

  1. Does the applicant show up early, on time, or late for the interview? Late arrivals are often backed by good excuses: "heavy traffic, difficulty finding the place, drop children off, etc." These are the same excuses you'll probably hear every day from the applicant once hired. If you expect punctuality every day, lack of it at the interview is deal breaker.
  1. Is the applicant dressed in a way that is acceptable to you for your business image? If unconventional body piercings-offensive tattoos and sloppy general appearance don't bother you or your customers, no need to worry. If they do, keep in mind you are probably seeing the best image of the candidate at the interview.
  1. Does the candidate have reliable transportation? You know what happens when a worker is a no-show. You either find a way to pick up the employee to get him or her to work, or you go through the day running on one less cylinder.
  2. Look for life in the eyes- good eye contact, enthusiasm and energy.  And while the following is not absolute, it's worthy of your careful observation. When someone is remembering details, their eyes move to the right (your right). When someone is making something up, their eyes move to the left. It's usually opposite for left handers.
  1. Bad mouthing and negative comments- past employers, industry, relationships, family, excessive bad luck. If you hear too much of it in the candidate interview, you'll be forever hearing it from the employee.
  1. How many days off, benefits, what's the pay ? If too many questions like these come early in the interview, you know that Johnny is all about his Paycheck.
  2. Lack of enthusiasm for horses and or animals in general. Captain Obvious says this could be a problem.
  3. Messy car - no science or research backs this up, but I got in the habit of walking a candidate to his vehicle to have a peek at the car. Back seats littered with adult beverage cans and fast food wrappers, duct taped door handles and turn signal lenses and out of date inspection stickers tell part of a story.
  4. Poor listener-Even though you will only be doing twenty percent of the talking at an interview, the candidate should show signs of coherence and listening carefully to what you say. After all, carrying out your directions is a key job requirement.
  5. Lacking good manners-you'll never be happy apologizing for your employee's crude behavior and impolite habits. Even though it's not you being rude, his reflection tarnishes your silver.

We both know there is no perfect employee. But, as a profitable business owner, screening for bad habits and attitudes makes good sense. Good attitude trumps work experience.

People with good attitudes, but weak on work experience and skills can always be trained for business.

People with bad attitudes, but strong on work experience and skills are often train wrecks for business.

Fallbrook mainAnnouncing:

Profitable Horseman Live One Day Workshop

Wednesday May 12, 2010
Fallbrooks Farm, North Plains, Oregon

(Appx. 35 minutes from Portland Intl. Airport)



Fallbrooks Farm Hosts an All Day Workshop

With Two Nationally Recognized Experts

"Why Professional Horsemen Go Broke and What to Do About It"

By Doug Emerson of the Profitable Horseman




"Compost Your Horse Manure - Discover Hidden Treasure in Your Barn"

By Peter Moon of O2Compost



Doug will unravel the mysteries of making money in the horse business. He will offer simple and practical solutions to: 1) help you map out your business plan and create achievable goals to build the profitable horse business you've always wanted, 2) relieve anxiety about cash flow in your business by helping you get control of the finances 3) help you overcome the need to be a control freak and micro-manage with practical job delegation practices.  And he'll leave plenty of time for questions from you about your business and how to reduce the stress of managing.

Doug has been a horseman for over forty years and offers thirty years of personal small business experience along with 10 years of business consulting experience to his audiences and clients.

He will offer advice and suggestions that you can implement on the spot for immediate value to you and your business.  

Peter will teach you the fundamentals of composting and show you how to take the labor of pile turning completely out of the process.  Following a bit of time "in the classroom", he will lead a walking tour of Fallbrooks' beautiful new compost system.  Seeing is Believing - you DO NOT want to miss this opportunity!  As a licensed engineer, Peter has over 21 years of experience with composting, and has systems located throughout North America, and as far away as Beijing, China.  Peter offers a "Manure Solution" for every farm and for every budget.  He has even been heard to say, "When you think of manure, I want you to think of me!"

This workshop is designed for every horse owner and stable manager and will be packed full of take home information.  In addition, O2Compost is offering a 15% discount on their compost systems, but only to those who attend the workshop. The day will include "audience friendly" lectures, a workbook, group exercises, a walking tour of Fallbrook's new compost facility and a fabulous lunch.

 To Register:       go to:

Price:    $175.00

Others Have Said 

"I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies." --Larry Bossidy

"When I meet successful people I ask 100 questions as to what they attribute their success to. It is usually the same: persistence, hard work and hiring good people." --Kiana Tom

"Never hire anyone who is going to report directly to you who you do not intuitively just plain like from first impressions. If your instincts tell you you're going to have a hard time working with someone, pass." --Fred Charette

Back At The Barn

barn windowBarn Chatter this week brought up speculation on Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver being suitably chilled in a Belmont match-up with Derby second place horse, Ice Box.

Man, can Ice Box pick 'em up and put' em down on the home stretch.  The next two legs of the Triple Crown will be exciting to watch.

My search for fair market value for an older four horse head to head goose-neck trailer this week had me fantasizing about the non-existent Blue Book for used horse trailers.  It's not always easy to come up with a value for a used horse trailer.

I was fortunate to have two trailer dealers help out with my questions regarding present value and resale potential of a particular trailer.  There was nothing in it for them other than being helpful.  I give away a lot of information for free, but don't always expect others will be as willing.

Thanks to James Maloney of Orchard Trailers in  Whately, MA and Bill Hopkins of Lazy H Sales in Sardinia, NY. 
These two know "paying it forward" a little bit each day is painless and a philosophy that's good for all and for their future business.

I work with professional horsemen and women struggling with the business half of the horse business.

If your business is in need of a spring tune up, contact me about how I can help.
Until next time,


Doug Emerson
Profitable Horseman Deewochagall
Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List

Back to Articles Page