tricks to finding good employees

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by shovelracer, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    So Im sick and tired of babysitting these jokers that we have with us right now. Some of you may have picked up on the other posts Ive had out lately. Im not even going to get started on the problems, but unlike many I realize the value of having good employees and attempting to go back to solo would be devastating. I used to believe that a warm body was a enough to fill a position, but not anymore. Ive had them all, and even a few good ones that have gone away. I have an ad out in the local paper for starters and it is worded much more aggressively than in the past. What changes would you make to it and what other recommendations do you suggest.

    Landscaper - Wanted full time employees in Sparta area. Must be able to work M-F 8-5 with some overtime and weekends possible. Must have 3 years professional lawn maintenance and labor experience with references. Valid drivers license and own transportation a must. Hard working and reliable applicants only need apply. We random drug test and background check. Leave Message XXX-XXXX.
  2. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    If that doesn't get the message across, then I'm not sure what will !!
  3. newtostone

    newtostone LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 681

    Are you getting calls with that? It's pretty direct and I would "like" to think your getting good candidates.
  4. Eakern & Dog

    Eakern & Dog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    I would get rid of the "random " drug testing statement or change it to "must pass a drug test".Are you really going to do random testing ? I'm not implying that random tests are wrong, just that if you don't back up your stated expectations with real action, you may end up with employees that figure you really don't mean what you say.

    "Inspect what you expect" of my favorite management mottos.

    What type of questions are you asking during your interviews ?
  5. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Ad just started, so I havent fielded any calls yet. Ill be honest in the past it was can you weedwack and use a ZTR. That got me 2-3 good guys out of maybe 25. I will ask questions like: do you have any certifications, where do you see yourself in 5 years, what is your favorite part of landscaping, did you play team sports growing up, can 4 people working together accomplish the same amount in a day as 4 individuals working separately? These should get me an idea if they are a team player, motivation level, and self worth. Any suggestions?
  6. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Good luck with that add you will need it. You need to realize that your help want to know what is in it for them not what your needs are. You also need to know you are more likely to win the lottery than hire that person you are dreaming about.

    Before you even place an add you need to have a "hiring system" in place. This means a standard interview script, I would suggest some kind of test either a simple timed IQ test. or a simple hands on test. Give then a simple task, write down the directions line by line then ask them to complete the task. Watch and see how they do. Have a pre determined pay structure "you are proficient in this, this, and that you get a raise to X. Show them there is a future to what you are offering them not just another paycheck. if you have not figured it out by now you are going to have to train this person.

    This was probably a question better asked in the fall when you have the whole winter to work on these items. lastly I would start advertising on line much more immediate response. and you can get a lot accomplished without wasting both of your time.

    This add got 600 hits and 125 resumes in 7-days
    Gardener, Entry Level and service call positions available, will train. Neil, Joe, Chris, and the rest of the guys all tell me they need some help and new clients keep calling. HELP! We need to expand. So come and join our team! Position duties include weekly landscape maintenance, trimming, mowing, cleaning leaves/debris, watering pots, planting seasonal flowers, irrigation repairs etc. Advancement readily available. Not your typical "blow and go" landscape maintenance, we perform detail work for large estate homes. Our team is friendly, and knowledgeable with a professional appearance.

    We are offering a career with ownership opportunities not just a job. Great working environment, Weekly pay, Lunches provided, 4-day workweek, Tues.-Fri. No weekends, Professional training and education, Clear path to ownership if you choose.

    If you have experience as a Landscaper, Landscape maintenance, Irrigation service call or as a Gardener, and are looking to go on your own and just need a little help, talk to us about our path to ownership.
    Skills/ Requirements * Must pass drug / background screening.
    * Must be able to follow systems in place to perform at optimum efficiency. (Basically, must be able to follow directions.)
    * Must be able to acclimate to working in the heat.
    * Must be able to lift and carry 50 lbs. 30-ft.
    * Experience in this field is a plus but not needed.
    Important Notes our field office/yard is at approximately 20th Street & Camelback you must get here daily to work.

    You must be able to follow detailed directions.

    Your success will be greatly improved if you enjoy working outdoors and like plants.

    Job Status
    Full Time

    Date Posted

    Pay Rate
    $10.00 to $20.00/hour

    Pay Comments
    Garden Gnomes 10-12 per hr. Apprentice Gardeners 13-15 per hr. Gardeners 16-20 per hr. all positions with benefits
  7. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    What? did I kill the thread? This is an older add I have made minor changes. I provide health insurance and paid vacations now. I tweak and improve the process every time I go through a hiring phase.
  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I have a interview set up for tomorrow and I was printing up my forms for the interview so I thought I would post my field test as an example.

    Gardener Field Test
    This test is not to see how fast or how well you can plant flowers. The purpose of the test is to
    1. See if you can follow simple direct directions.
    2. Your attention to detail
    3. The pace or rhythm of your work.

     Turn the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches

     Amend with compost, ¼ to 1/3 compost to soil ratio.

     Add Osmicote fertilizer to application rate on the container (bed is 10 sq. ft.) use your best guess as to weight of fertilizer.

     Turn in all amendments and grade out smooth removing any rocks, roots or other debris.

     Complete grading to be sure when you water in the flowers the water will soak in evenly and not run off. Use excess soil to build a berm around your bed..

     Plant 2 varieties of flowers with the taller ones in the back plant 4-6 inches on center in a diamond pattern

     If the root ball is root-bound gently loosen roots; lightly compact soil around the root-ball, top of root-ball should be barley covered with soil and at same level as grade.

     When complete dispose of all empty containers and be sure to remove all tags from plants.

     Clean area thoroughly and lightly top-dress bed with compost, finger rake to complete.

     Return tools to their original location

     Water flowers being cautious not to disturb roots of newly planted flowers.

    All the ? are bullets but they pasted as ? Sorry. Good luck hiring someone.
  9. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    I hope the thread isnt dead. I will say that it is a lot to take in. I personally can not offer vacation or 401K or health care yet so I realize that this hurts me. I do want to make the next step though from seasonal workers to yearly employees that I can count on for at least a few years. My employees wonder why they dont get more, and the truth is that I dont trust them. Im not sure who will show up, who is in a bad mood, who will question there job assignment, on any given day. Heck today I found pot resin on the inside of one of my pens when I took it apart to check for ink. Not sure who did it, or how long its been there, but I have an idea, but cant be sure. Im pretty sure every one of my employees would fail a drug test so that rules that out. Basically if I could find good workers I would fire everyone I have now, and would be willing to ad perks to keep the new guys around. Biggest problem is that the ones that look like they are good always show their true colors eventually. I agree that I should have been doing this over the winter since the good guys are already working. I thought I had my ducks in a row then 1 quit to run a handyman service, another had to move over an hour away cause he has baby mama drama, and the last one is already burned out. The newest guy shows the will to learn and does nice work, but I know he will leave at the drop of a hat once he gets a better deal.
  10. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    If your crew is as bad as they sound they will poison the new guys. I can't really help you with that.

    I know it sounds like a lot for the perks but it is not as much as you think. The health insurance for a young guy is usually a little over 100 bucks a month and you get a nice tax deduction for it. We pay up to 150 for health benefits and they can pick which plan they want. If it costs more because they are older etc. or they want to put their family on it they pay the extra. As far as the vacation goes they have to work a year to get it. If you had good dependable guys for a year you could probably afford it. Some guys won't even take vacations because spouses can't get off, they don't have the money to go anywhere, their life just gets in the way of living.

    You have to give them opportunity not just a job. You have to be creative and figure out how to do that for yourself. What are they working toward? Would you take the job you are offering from someone else? If it were easy everyone would be doing it.

    To be honest I don't know how you guys in cold weather climates can survive only working 2/3 of the year. I sure would not be in the industry if I couldn't offer guys full time employment.

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