Finding qualified landscapers is not an easy task for many companies. It takes time to find quality staff, and it can be costly, such as using classified ads or hiring full-time recruiters.
Hiring is difficult because there are so many people who call themselves landscapers but have no experience whatsoever with commercial landscaping equipment.
Many of these individuals will offer cheaper rates than an experienced landscaper because they want your business. This may sound good on paper, but in reality, you're doing more harm than good by having them work on your job sites (often ending up costing you much more).
Have a solid pre-qualification process
The first step is to have a solid pre-qualification process. This will help eliminate unsuitable candidates from even showing up for an interview. This can be as simple as asking them what they do when their tools break down or how much landscapers should charge per hour of service.
Remember: unsuccessful landscapers are usually worse than being without landscapers at all. It costs time and money on your end just trying to fill positions while also not having qualified staff members working on your sites.
In most cases, you are looking for candidates with experience. Make sure that their resume indicates what type of equipment they operate and how many years of experience they have in landscaping. You can also ask any references (including previous employers) these questions directly as well. What you want is to hire people who have an excellent grasp of what they are doing and robust knowledge of different sorts of landscaping projects.
More importantly, be sure to have your hiring process streamlined and documented. Having an organized system in place will help you out the next time you'll be hiring a new employee.
When you're comparing resumes, try to get at least three references as well. Personal references are just that: personal. The fact that someone lives next door to your candidate does not mean they will give an honest reference about their work ethic or ability. So, don't be swayed by this alone.
By using a few professional references, you can get much better information on what kind of employee they have been in the past. If there is anything negative to say about them, it will usually surface here (especially if the person giving the reference has any motivation for wanting to hurt their business)—the more positive answers you receive, the better.
Consider having a paid referral system
Another excellent way to find a quality addition to your landscaping team is to get referrals from your own staff. Consider having an incentive program in place for your team members who refer quality candidates and then eventually hire them into the company. Doing so can immediately get you a better pool of applicants.
Look for employees with the right attitude
When you are hiring, you should also be looking for employees with the right attitude. It isn't enough to look into their skills and experience in landscaping. The last thing you want is to hire someone who is highly skilled or efficient, but has a horrible attitude and isn't a good fit for your company's culture.
Individuals with an unhealthy attitude towards work and poor work ethics can create a toxic work environment and ultimately lead to lower productivity, both for themselves and your company on the whole.
Create a list of good interview questions
Another great way to thoroughly screen your applicants is by asking them good interview questions. Questions should be geared towards determining their skill level, problem-solving abilities, communication capabilities, and other questions relevant to your workplace.
Don't hesitate to dig deeper than the basic questions about their background and professional experiences. In fact, you should also consider scenario-based questions that will further test their knowledge of the landscaping field. This will also give them the opportunity to showcase their ability to handle a wide variety of challenging situations that can potentially arise in the future.
Prepare a specific job description and put it in writing
A well-written job description will give applicants an idea of the specific tasks they will be performing on the job. It will explain to them what is expected of them and what they should expect from the company. Be sure to have all the details written in a contract and have them sign it. If there's anything you may need them to do in the future, such as working on flexible hours or having to work on the weekends in emergency situations, be sure to get their agreement and have them sign off on it.
Whether your landscaping business is just starting out, or has been running for quite a long time already, you need reliable and efficient landscaping employees to sustain the operations and growth of your business. The hiring process doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow these basic steps.
At MowMore, we serve and support professional landscapers by providing quality and reliable products. Visit our website to learn more.How to Hire Landscapers: A Guide for Commercial Landscape Companies