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Need help! Interview Questions to Ask.

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by jphag, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. jphag

    jphag LawnSite Member
    Messages: 219

    I have a growing business, but can't find reliable, accountable and experienced workers.

    What are some interview questions that can help me weed out the slackers from hard workers?

    What would be a good starting wage for someone with no experience but good work ethic?

    What would be a good starting wage for someone with a little experience and good work thick? (has general knowledge in mowing, sprinklers, trimming, landscaping)
  2. Lawn-Guy

    Lawn-Guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    good worker no exp- id say 8 a hour
    good worker aver exp-id say 10 a hour
    good worker high exp-id say 15 a hour(mind u this is foreman pay)
    as far as questions there are some basic ones like" show me how to adjust deck on this walk behind or show me how to edge with this wee eated. ive seen people that couldnt even operate a blower sad but true. have them help you cut your yard as part of interview, as far as determining slackers from workers that could take a day to a month to determine some people bust there tale until they get comfortable then turn into slackers. best thing you can do is check there refrences
  3. ambersLawnmowing

    ambersLawnmowing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 333

    I give my helper $12 an hour. He nows all, more then i could ever hope to know. He is only part-time though. When i hired people before him i didnt ask to many questions, Driver lics? then had one guy tell me he had 15 years exp. Needless to say i was like yeah,,,Cool go mow my yard i want to see you work. He mowed 20 mins. and i walked out there and he never turned on the blades. I have gone one way and turned and saw i didnt turn them on but never rode around for 20 mins. then had to have someone else tell me to do it. Needless to say i didnt hire him.. Make sure to ask alot of questions, and dont be afraid to test them out on something small and a lawn you dont care about just incase...LOL
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I believe it's not so much in the question itself, that too.
    But I would want to listen to how the person answers it.

    Here is one I can think of asking:
    1. Would you be willing to provide me with some prior job and personal references?
    It's not even about the reference itself, here it's about would they be willing to do it...

    And I'm sure there's more, but the key is listening to how the interviewee answers, like if they stumble or are unsure of
    themselves, also of course if they respond positively and I mean more than just saying "yes"...
    Two answers, both are positive:
    YES of course!
    Uhh yeah, i guess i could do that.

    And it's in the tone, too, body language as well, then you might yet have to watch for fakers :p
    Some simple equipment test procedures can weed out some to most of these.
    Then you'll want to watch closely for a bit, relax later.

    Anyhow perhaps this gets the ball rolling.
  5. jphag

    jphag LawnSite Member
    Messages: 219

    Do you ever give a probation period? For example: start at $8-$9 and if you prove yourself I will bump your pay to $10 - $11 per hr.
  6. tyler_mott85

    tyler_mott85 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    I was responsible for one season at a company here in town to hire the mowing help. I learned fast but I feel after one season I still had a lot to learn!
    What I did learn was to make sure you ask some technical questions about equipment. Ask about brand names they've used and that sort of thing. That's good for weeding out the posers. But then maybe ask them a few questions that they're not expecting. Imagine walking into a job interview to mow lawns and you get asked what you would do if you were in a restaurant and someone walked in with a gun to hold the place up? Just the person's reaction to the question can tell you a lot about that person. But better yet their answer as well. If they'd say something like "I would stand for it, i'd walk up to them and pump slap them and take their gun away" You can tell that maybe they're a little too cocky and trying to impress you instead of being themselves.

    good Luck!
  7. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,163

    That's exactly what i do...i'm only 18 but i don't believe when someone says they have experience in the work i need them to do, i need to see it!
  8. KGR landscapeing

    KGR landscapeing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    Any Halfbutt technical school or vocational school in highschool is going to teach basic interveiwing skills to any kid. Walk in tell them your name shake there hand. But people get nervous getting a job at this time can be very scary a couple of no's can really hurt. So as an interveiwer be respectful Have a couple basic questions your going to ask. Would you work in the rain? If you have a dr appt are you going to take the whole day off? Befor you do any proving of them like a test go over basic safey rules and give them basic PPE. {personal protective equipment.} If you want a quality employee you have to convey a quality company. Freds landscaping isnt going to have the same employees as brinkman.
  9. Littleriver1

    Littleriver1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 811

    Did you ever notice on Cops on TV that the first question the cop will ask some one is, When was the last time you were arested? If the person answers, "never". Do you think the cop feels a little bit better during the interview when he finds out the person is telling the truth? You need to find a way to get the truth. I don't think it matters how you do it. Never hire some one during the first interview. I don't always tell some one that there will be a second or third interview. Some times I just call them and invite them back, just to see how they act at home. Some times the phone numbers don't work. You would not believe the excuses you get about phones. Some times at the second interview I will hand them a blank application and tell them I lost the other one. Then later compare them to see if they match. Most of the people you will interview have been to prison. Those types of people seem to gravitate towards the out door business. If during the interview they feel you are going to confront them for the details of their crimes and punishments they will not be available for a call back.
  10. Gmgbo

    Gmgbo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    Def do a probation period at min. wage, its costs you more to train them. I only ask them to go deep in the woods to pee, so the customer doesnt see them

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