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Business Owners & Managers

Tips on How to Hire for "Fit" for Your Landscape Company

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You may need to hire frequently as a landscaper, due to the seasonality of the business in some parts of the country. Whether you hire often or not--whom you hire is crucial.

Hiring the wrong person affects your company morale, wastes time and money in training, and possibly leads you to fire the person, with all the hassle the termination process can bring.

Most importantly, hiring someone who does not fit your team or your company affects your business’ bottom line and can even lead to lost customers.

Check out these hiring tips and strategies from successful landscaping companies across the country, to make your next hire your best hire.

Preparing to Hire a New Landscaping Company Employee

Before you being the hiring process, clarify the essential duties, skills and goals of the position--so that you don't lose sight of practical concerns for success in the job role.

Think about qualities a past (or current) ideal employee had or has-but remember diversity in skills and strengths among team members helps improve and develop your workforce overall.

Also factor in the following universal, but sometimes not top-of-mind, qualities to look for in new landscaping hires. At the most fundamental level, your new hire (for any position, at any level of the company) should be:

  • Someone you will like working with: You and your team deserve a strong new team member who is personable, friendly and approachable.

  • Trustworthy and dependable: If the candidate is recommended from a trusted source, that may help you to judge whether s/he possesses these crucial qualities. Going with your gut feeling or intuition is quite reliable, but anyone can be fooled. Checking references and background post-hire is important as well-even if you’re “sure” the person is a perfect fit for your landscaping company.

  • Open to learning: If someone appears too set in their ways, this can be a bad sign, since businesses must be flexible these days. Experience and decisiveness (decision making ability) is important and desirable, but you need someone who will listen to others and be open to suggestions, too.

  • Up beat, optimistic: These qualities inspire the rest of the team around your new hire.

  • Fits company culture: Evaluate if the new hire will help you achieve the goals of your company and commit to its mission, long term and day-to-day. Consider showing your job candidate around the workplace or on a job and introducing him/her to top staff members and/or a specific team and team leader. Describe the qualities you value, such as a person with 5 years of experience, who is customer-focused and a team player (or a leader, or both). You may want someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, who sees the big picture or is detail-oriented (or both), etc. Don't aim to hire people who are exactly like you--or the same age, gender or ethnicity as other team members.

  • Has strong skills you would like to add to your team: Even if several people have the same job description, some are better at certain skills than others. Still other individuals can bring ideas and experience from a different industry or different type of company that may help your team develop new strengths over time.

How to Hire the Best Landscaping Employees: Asking the Right Questions

In order to determine if your potential new hire possesses the above qualities, asking situational, open-ended questions helps you better determine if they’ll be a good fit.

The answers to these interview questions can be very revealing:

  • Think about the greatest job you have ever held. What were the best things about it?

  • Think of the worst job you ever had? What parts did you dislike?

  • Which part(s) of your current (or recent) position do you like best--and why?

  • Which job tasks do you put off (postpone, leave until the last minute) in your current job role, or which tasks would you eliminate from your current/past job if possible?

  • What duties in your current (or past) job role are most difficult for you? How do (or did) you deal with this problem?

  • Name 5 things you value about your current or former job(s)?

  • Name 5 aspects of your current/former position(s) that were the most frustrating?

These questions work well because, although any candidate can say "I'm good with customers, a good salesperson, good decision maker", etc.-these questions allow you to observe their thought process in action.

When formulating their answers to your interview questions, your candidates will demonstrate (and give concrete examples of) their decision-making, attitude, and approach to work. For even more questions about hiring for fit click here.

The above interview preparation and questions should set you up for success--in hiring people who suit your company’s culture, and who bring value to your organization.

The right hiring choices typically result in less employee turn-over and give you a smoothly running, efficient, high-performance team that enjoys working (and achieving goals) together.