Yesterday, we explored a few ways in which the hiring landscape has changed over the past few years, as well as how your landscaping company can stay in the know and find the best candidates for open positions.
Today, take a look at what you need to keep in mind when conducting the actual interview, as well as how company culture could make or break your potential for referrals.
Conducting the interview
Jennifer Lemcke, CEO at Weed Man, says when a candidate comes in for an interview, that person is also asked to perform a test specific to the role he/she is applying for.
For instance, she says a sales associate might have to give a quick sales pitch on a provided topic, and a technician would demonstrate how to measure a lawn. Lemcke says this is done to show that the candidates can think on their feet without stressing out.
Lemcke says applicants also have to fill out a job application on site to ensure their reading and writing skills are up to par, and then they will move on to the actual interview.
Depending on the position, Lemcke says you could hire someone on the spot. If you do hire someone directly following the interview, Lemcke encourages companies to immediately start training and onboarding the new hire.
When choosing from your pool of options, Lemcke says in her experience, hiring for attitude goes a long way. Having someone with the drive and ambition to learn what skills they might lack is, in her opinion, a much better alternative than having a team member with a poor attitude and the right qualifications.
“Hire for attitude; everything else, we can train them,” says Lemcke.
Referrals and company culture
Many green industry companies swear by referrals, and a few recruit solely by word of mouth and employee referrals.
Lemcke says the referral program has worked well for Weed Man, as most hardworking employees tend to associate with people who would also make quality employees.
According to Lemcke, the key to getting good referrals is to offer a company culture and environment that causes employees to tell their family and friends about it.
Lemcke adds that with social media, you can create a quick referral option by posting a photo or video that employees can share across their own accounts in exchange for a referral bonus.
Along with making sure the atmosphere of your business invites new employees, Lemcke says it’s equally important to make sure your facility is clean and appealing in look.
Lemcke says if you have a dirty storefront and your employees don’t look enthusiastic to be there, top candidates are going to quickly go somewhere else. She also adds that it’s a good idea to have a designated space in the office where applicants can go to sit and fill out applications.
“I think a lot of people think it’s a great big thing but paying attention to detail through the process and making sure that you’re closing all the gaps is the most important aspect of the whole hiring process,” says Lemcke.
Throughout the pandemic, green industry businesses searched for ways they could still perform their jobs while staying safe and keeping the virus at bay.
After many months of transition and alteration, Lemcke says those practices will now come in handy when preparing facilities to host in-person interviews.
Lemcke says companies need to continue to focus on how they can keep their facilities safe, secure and welcoming to those searching for employment. When necessary, she suggests implementing video conferencing tools for interviews and meetings with potential hires.
“When a challenge arises, the good companies and the great companies figure it out, and the ones that don’t kind of just sit back and complain about it,” says Lemcke.
According to Lemcke, not having a dedicated hiring process is the worst hiring mistake landscaping companies can make. She advises all companies to take a close look at their hiring processes through the lens of a candidate to see potential shortcomings.
Lemcke recommends updating and tweaking your hiring processes until they are tight and concise, and she says to always be on the lookout for ways to eliminate gaps.
“Sometimes that’s not easy putting a microscope on yourself and your company, but it’s what it takes to attract great people,” says Lemcke.