interview questions

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by jsf343, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. jsf343

    jsf343 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,784

    for those with employees, do you have a general list of questions that purtain to our industry that you use for interviews and could share with me.
    Any help would be great, thanks. Jeff

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    I like to just get a guy going into a conversation, some pertaining to the job and some After a few minutes you can tell who has at least half a brain :laugh: and who the obvious head-cases are. Sometimes as soon as they open their mouth.

    Since we do mainly mowing, I like guys that have mowed and like to mow. Guys with landscaping backgrounds tend to not like maintenance I find.
  3. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,004

    i ask "can you speak spanish?" no? its a job requirement. go down to mexico, get a tan, learn some spanish, see how friggin good you got it, then come back to see me. :laugh:
  4. jsf343

    jsf343 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,784

    Part of the problem is many people are like a comealian.(sp?) They can speak well and tell you a good answer, or paint a halfway decent picture of themselves then after a month or so the buck tooth twin brother emerges from within. My last winner kept telling us how record companies were going to be signing him and his band to a long term contract real soon.Then he would play the fake guitar on the weed eater or drums on whatever. He wanted to get into college to get a PHD in music.:laugh: He finally quit a few weeks later after I put him on every cleanup I got. When I first talked with him he was very quiet and seemed like a good kid (and was for the most part) Hopefully you can see why I am looking for something a little more full proof to help further weed out bad apples, That is why I am trying to get a small list of very industry specific questions. Will it solve all the problems? no, and I understand that. It is just one more tool though that might help.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Ok, this has to be similar in ways as to how I pre-screen customers...

    Same basic method, just the question would be different.

    To make a long story short, the thread on this is here

    Now all we need to do is fish out what you need to ask, and we got it.
    There should be someone here with this experience?
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Perhaps a scoring system...?

    From what I am told, you set up a time for an interview and YOU need to make sure you are there on the dot so if the interview is set for 0900 then you're there no later than 0859.999 and I mean THERE not on your way etc.

    See who shows up on time for the interview: + or - points.
    What kind of personal impression do you get: Does the person make you feel ok or does the potential new hire give you the creeps? + or - points.

    Then you tell most all of them to be there Monday morning 7am sharp.
    See again who shows up and who doesn't.
    (more next post).
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    For the most part, with someone who is more interested in some other career like music, the better things are going in that direction (whether true or not), the more you don't need them working for you.

    For those who like to farce on about how GOOD they are and how they've been doing lawncare all of their lives and all that, set up some test stuff:
    Have a trailer hooked to the truck with a mower on it (make sure it's one of your older ones lol).
    Ask them to please unload the mower and start it up, engage the blades and run over that there square of grass and cut it.
    Then watch them, see how easy or hard of a time they have - Liars have no place here, right? Not to say everybody who has ever ran a 21" will suddenly know how to pull off a 48" fixed deck commercial 15hp Kohler, but it's a guide.

    Stuff like that, some pointers anyway, hope it helps.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    If you get your hire working, start them out at the bottom, always start the new guys with the work everyone else hates doing then gradually as time goes on they move 'up' to doing easier jobs and stuff like that. This weeds out some of the no-loaders / comedians right away, they'll think they're too good to be doing this work worthy only of a slave.

    This way you're out less money in damages when something goes wrong for one, and you can spot the fakers as well, not to mention it gives new hires an incentive to improve as they can see that doing a good job with the crappy part is a way to move along and then in years when you hire another new guy, the next new guy takes the place of doing the crap jobs.

    It also saves you money as you can spread your raises a bit further as one of the ways of moving up the ladder is getting to do cooler jobs, this helps mentally as much if not more than the money.
  9. jsf343

    jsf343 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,784

    I agree with you, that is what we do now and it has worked well. I (like most other lco's probably) am having some difficulties trying to find good qualified people that are entry level or someone with a little experience.(trustworthy, good work ethic,on and on) your replies are good. You must have dealt with many of these issues as well huh? I am sure we can all agree it is just finding someone who will fit the bill from the get go then after a a couple of days or weeks you can pretty much tell if you have a "keeper" or a carp.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yes and no, the advantage I have is having worked solo for the past 4+ years allowed me the opportunity to really get away from it all, to gain a clear head and an understanding of how things work. Being away from the mainstream population who for the most part doesn't understand a thing but apparently has no problem missleading the uninformed, it took a long time but little by little I saw things for what they truly are. I still haven't quite figured out why it is like that, but then I'm far from perfect so don't let the spam fool you into thinking I'm all that either.

    I also look back at the years where I worked for other companies, and I look back at where I enjoyed working and why, and where things did not go well. Not to say it was always the employers fault (for sure it was not), but there are definitely things that, had they been different, I might not be as disappointed with the real world as I am today.

    Last but not least, I spoke with gentlemen who have been in this business 20+ years, one of them was retired so we talked for hours... He had a large company with trucksss and man, he knew some stuff set my mind on fire! So I learned a lot, also reading here helps.

    It was in time I realized employees are no different from customers. The relationship is only different in who works for who, and who pays whom, but ultimately the same basic pitfalls and reasons why we avoid certain customers also work with employees, thou again it is a little different so not always as easy to see.

    Fact is owners don't bend over backwards for customers, hence we don't do it for employees. Do employees bend over backwards for customers? Yes! Do they do it for the owner? They should.

    That's just how it is.

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