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How to Solve the People Problem: Hiring

| Topic:

Business Advice

by: The Flash

Part of a new series of blog posts from the Super Heroes on the LMN Support Team.

Identifying Great Candidates

Identifying and hiring the best candidates for the job is far too underrated. Most landscape companies spend little time screening and interviewing potential employees, and often accept the first decent candidate that walks through the doors. By effectively screening, interviewing, and identifying the best candidates, you will be able to:

  • Minimize your time wasted interviewing poor candidates
  • Spend less time hiring, firing, and re-hiring
  • Improve company productivity and profit
  • Improve company knowledge, training, and culture

Start your hiring process by sending out pre-interview questionnaires to interested candidates. Pre-interviews expand your reach, allowing you to briefly interview more people in much less time. Pre-interview questionnaires filter out candidates with poor attitudes who put little effort into their answers, and they help surface the motivated, engaged candidates.

Select the best candidates from the pre-interview process, then book face-to-face interviews. Use the interview process as an opportunity to impress the best candidates by preparing for the interview. Many of your competitors will show up late, distracted and unprepared for their interviews. Make the most of your opportunity to impress by preparing a list of interview questions that focus on the key skills required for the job, e.g. team orientation, initiative and motivation, and oral communication skills. Use situational questions that put candidates in hypothetical situations, and ask them how they would respond. For example:

You find a quality problem on a jobsite. Your foreman recommends that you simply hide the problem. What would you do?

Most positions in the landscaping trade are physical in nature, so be sure to test candidates in the field. We use a two week working interview, followed by a probationary period. During the two week working interview, our supervisors continuously test and evaluate the candidate’s problem solving, practical learning, work pace, adaptability, and mechanical aptitude. These skills are critical to superior field productivity and performance.

If a candidate does not perform well during their working interview, terminate the relationship immediately. Don’t carry poor performers for weeks or months when you have a system that identifies problem people in days. Poor performers drain profits, lower your standards, deteriorate company culture, and drive your best performers to look for better opportunities working for your competitors!

Conduct Reference Checks:

In many situations you might find that a candidate can walk into an interview and “blow you out of the water” but once they get to a job site, all of those skills they said they had might not be the case. This is why it is very important to conduct reference checks on all candidates that you are considering for hire. Double check from past employers that the candidate is legitimate and can perform as they stated in the interview.

Create Offer of Employment for Candidates:

This ensures that you are giving the candidate a professional start to their career. It also reassures them that they made the right decision on working for you. By having the candidate sign an employment contact it protects you as a company owner and it also presents clear expectations to the candidate.

Complete New Hire Procedure and Employee Orientation:

Each company needs to have a standardized hiring procedure to ensure that the same process is followed for every new hire. This will ensure that nothing is missed upon the arrival of a new employee and it also guarantees that your employee will be ready to work on their first day with all bases covered. You must notify all other employees of the new hire and make sure that everyone plays their appropriate role to get that new hire up and running.

Create an Employee File:

You will also want to create an employee file that includes all contact information, licensing, social insurance, and emergency contact information. If anything goes wrong on site, you are prepared in having all of the necessary information to act accordingly in case of an emergency.

Conduct Employee Training:

Once you have hired the right employee by using your set processes you are going to want to make sure that your employee has the correct training. Training should be done for every employee whether they are in the field or in the office so that the company is not liable if anything were to happen. Depending on which country you are in most training should include; health and safety, equipment & tool training, AODA, WHIMIS and Bill 168 Violence and Harassment in the Workplace. Also have your employees familiarize themselves with company policies and procedures and have them signoff to ensure that they understand. Keep records of all training and employee signoffs for future reference if needed.


All employees need to see the incentive to work for you. It is very important to show them the direction that their career is going to go and what you are going to offer them along the way. Try offering a bonus incentive system so that they have something to work towards. Outline your sales goal, COGS, and overhead – let them know that any profit left over after the sales goal is theirs. Also, try implementing a pension and benefit plan for each employee. Any incentive is going to motivate your employees to work harder for you. No one wants to work for nothing.

Hiring the right people is never easy for any landscaping company but it is your job to pick that one great employee out of the pack to ensure efficiency, productivity and profitability for your company. By following the simple processes of proper recruiting, hiring and training you can guarantee that you are choosing the right people to work for your growing landscaping company. For more information, check out LMN Forms in your account!

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