Thorough groundwork was rewarded

In the process of selecting a new director for Demstrup Hovedgaard A/S, JobAdvice delved into the company, its owners, and their visions. The extensive groundwork resulted in a large pool of candidates and a successful recruitment process.

Demstrup Hovedgaard, a manor placed in East Jutland, needed a new director for its agricultural enterprise, including pig farming, crop cultivation, windmills, and energy willows. Siblings Anne-Mette Harbo Andersen and Niels Jakob Harbo, co-owners of Demstrup Hovedgaard as the third generation, were looking for suggestions for the hiring process from other entities but quickly agreed that JobAdvice and Anni Kohl's approach appealed to them the most.

"Anni has assisted us before, and we felt secure in relation to the significant time and thoroughness she invests in the recruitment process, which is of great significance to us," says Niels Jakob Harbo.


Time well spent

With JobAdvice's assistance, Demstrup Hovedgaard had also found its previous director 20 years ago. Danish agriculture is currently undergoing a transformative period, where new approaches are considered across various aspects, and Demstrup Hovedgaard is part of this development. However, a successful director appointment was not solely about finding a professionally qualified and ambitious individual.

"Anni was very clear from the start that it shouldn't only be about professional and managerial aspects. The right candidate should also be able to work well with my sister and me on a personal level. Anni emphasized that we needed to spend time on this aspect for her to assist us optimally, and we completely agreed and felt confident in that," Niels Jakob Harbo explains.


The right candidate profile

Anni Kohl visited Demstrup Hovedgaard and spent a day discussing with Anne-Mette Harbo Andersen and Niels Jakob Harbo to determine the right candidate profile – both professionally and personally.

"There are many aspects to the leadership role in agriculture today. It is essential that the person  has kept abreast of agricultural developments and is updated on potential optimisations in modern farming. The person should have experience in managing larger farms – preferably also on a practical level. It was an advantage if the person was able to operate a tractor."


Holistic understanding of leadership

According to Niels Jakob Harbo, it was crucial for Demstrup Hovedgaard that the new director not only possessed solid managerial competences but also understood leadership as more than just allocating resources and delegating tasks.

"We were looking for someone with a more holistic understanding of the leadership role in agriculture, someone conscious of the fact that we are dealing with people. How can we motivate them and create a welcoming, attractive workplace?" Additionally, the new director should be a pleasant and genuine collaborator in daily operations. "It was important for us that the new director challenged our thoughts and visions. A director with high personal integrity and the willingness to make necessary and tough decisions when needed. That way, we would feel secure as owners, and we would have each other's backs."


Thorough groundwork was rewarded

The thorough groundwork resulted in a very precise job posting and a larger pool of good candidates than both Demstrup Hovedgaard and JobAdvice had anticipated.

"Anni explored the market and her network, filtering candidates based on the criteria we agreed upon. It was evident that her network in the agricultural sector is extensive. She ended up sending us a shortlist of a dozen relevant candidates. I see the large pool as a clear indication that the job posting was well-crafted and concise, providing a clear direction for both our company and the potential candidate reading it."


A deeply competent approach

The owners of Demstrup Hovedgaard stayed in contact with JobAdvice while selecting the candidates they wanted to interview.

"Anni was always quick to respond to our questions. Until the end, her efforts reflected her serious consideration of how important the process was to us. At the same time, she had a deeply competent approach to all the parameters we were working with. I felt that Anni took her task for us seriously, viewing it as more than just a typical consultancy task that needed to be completed as quickly as possible. The substantial amount of time she invested in understanding us as individuals and a company with a historical legacy, in my view, has been time well spent. It has been a very successful and satisfying process."


The history of Demstrup Hovedgaard can be traced back to 1404, making it one of the oldest businesses in the Randers region in East Jutland. Today, Demstrup Hovedgaard operates as a modern farm with activities within pig farming, crop cultivation, windmills, energy willows, potatoes, carrots, and more. Demstrup Hovedgaard practices non-plough cultivation on approximately 75 percent of the cultivated area. The total area amounts to about 700 hectares, including leasehold.