Interview Tips: Questions to Ask Crew Leaders & Account Managers

interview tips

Preparation is the key to conducting an effective interview. This is your opportunity to get to know a candidate, and to determine if this person is a fit for your company culture. First, prepare a job description so you can determine what qualifications you are interviewing for. You must also know what skills are needed and what types of behavior are necessary to be successful in the position. Next, decide if your interview is to be a screening interview or a hiring interview. A screening interview is to narrow down to a list of most qualified candidates as opposed to a hiring interview in which could result in a job offer. Here are more interview tips.

Interview Tips: Develop Questions

interview tips

You should have some qualification questions about back ground, work experience, education, why they are looking for a job or new job.

Some additional information you’ll want to find out:

  • Ask questions that are aimed at evaluating behavior as it relates to the position.
  • Include questions that will help determine what skills and training the candidate has.
  • Ask some situational questions that will help you decide if the employee has the experience that they say they have, or how they might approach a situation they could confront in the position they’re seeking.
  • You should determine who is best to participate in interviewing the candidate. Perhaps the employee’s manager, or a prospective trusted person who currently holds that position. An example is a good crew leader helping to interview for a new crew leader.

Interview Tips: Personnel Considerations

Will you consider internal candidates? Do you have other potential needs that the candidate might fill if not ideal for the position? The candidates generally exaggerate or try to tell you what they think you want to hear. Beware of first impressions, good or bad. They are often misleading.

Interview Tips: Legal Considerations

There are some legal issues that you should be aware of. Personal questions can often lead you into questions that violate discrimination laws. Questions about age, ethnicity, sexual preference, disabilities and marital status can often be discriminatory. Stick to questions related to the specific job.

Check with your attorney for specific guidance regarding state specific legal issues. You may also pass your list of questions past your attorney if you are concerned about the legality of questions. Attorneys tend to err on the side of being overly cautious.

It is also a good idea to have physical requirements for the job spelled out, such as must be able to lift 50 pounds, job requires that employee will be on their feet all day, or that you will often be working in extreme heat of 95 degrees or higher. In most states you can ask if they have a problem working in those conditions.

Interview Tips: Sample Interview Questions – Crew Leader

Qualifying Questions:

  • Do you have experience as a crew leader? If so, for how long? How many men on your crew(s)?
  • Do you make your own schedule?
  • How do you set up your crew?
  • Do you have education through classes or seminars?
  • Why are you looking for a job?
  • If the last job did not work out, is there a reason?
  • What pay level are you looking for?
  • What do you do when you are going to be late for work?
  • How often have you missed work in the last year?

Behavioral Questions:

  • What leadership characteristics do you have that make you a good crew leader?
  • What do you do when you are annoyed with a crew member?
  • How do you encourage crew members to work harder of faster?
  • What do you do if you make a mistake?
  • What do you expect from your supervisor?
  • What did you like about your last boss or job?
  • What did you not like about your last boss or job?
  • How do you respond to an unreasonable customer request?
  • Do you think paper work is necessary?
  • What would you do if a crew member started to bad mouth the company?
  • What would you do if you thought an employee was faking an accident or injury?

Skill Questions:

  • How have you developed your skills as a Crew Leader?
  • How should you decide who does what on your Crew?
  • If a piece of equipment sounds like it is not running right, what should you do?
  • What is the best way to edge turf?
  • Describe proper pruning technique for a particular plant?
  • What are the symptoms of too much water for a plant?
  • If irrigated, there is a dry spot in turf, how should you determine what is wrong?
  • How do you keep your crew within the budgeted hours?
  • How much should you tell your supervisor?

Situational Questions:

  • A customer makes a request for something not included in the contract, what should you do or how should you respond?
  • Your crew member does not wear safety protection because he does not think he needs it, what should you do?
  • Your supervisor told you to spray Round Up on weeds around some plants, but the wind is blowing. How should you proceed?
  • A crew member just accidently scratched a car with the handle of the mower. What should you do?
  • You just noticed a plant had some brown leaves on it? What could be wrong?
  • You get to the job site and you notice that there are more things to do than you have time for. What should you do?

Note: These are some generic sample questions. I am sure if you and your team brainstormed you could fine tune this list. You should do that based on your specific needs.

Interview Tips: Sample Questions – Account Manager

Qualifying Questions:

  • Do you have experience as an Account Manager? If so, for how long? How large was your book of business?
  • Do you make your own schedule?
  • How many customers do you have?
  • What is your responsibility with respect to the customer?
  • Do you sell enhancements?
  • Do you help estimate new jobs?
  • Are you bi-lingual?
  • How do you set up your crews?
  • Do you have education through classes or seminars?
  • Why are you looking for a job?
  • If the last job did not work out, is there a reason?
  • What pay level are you looking for?
  • What do you do when you are going to be late for work?
  • How often have you missed work in the last year?

Behavioral Questions:

  • What leadership characteristics do you have that make you a good Account Manager?
  • What are your strengths in relating to customers? Weaknesses?
  • What do you do when you are annoyed with a crew leader?
  • How do you encourage crew members to work harder of faster?
  • What do you do if your crew makes a mistake?
  • What do you expect from your supervisor?
  • What did you like about your last boss or job?
  • What did you not like about your last boss or job?
  • How do you respond to an unreasonable customer request?
  • Do you think paper work is necessary?
  • What would you do if a crew member started to bad mouth the company?
  • What would you do if you thought an employee was faking an accident or injury?
  • How do you handle a situation where a plant dies and you think it is the companies fault?
  • How do you communicate to a customer that a deadline will not be met?

Skill Questions:

  • How have you developed your skills as a Account Manager?
  • How should you decide who does what on your Crews?
  • If a piece of equipment sounds like it is not running right, what should you do?
  • What horticultural skills make you qualified for this position?
  • Describe proper pruning technique for a particular plant?
  • What are the symptoms of too much water for a plant?
  • If irrigated, there is a dry spot in turf, how should you determine what is wrong?
  • How do you keep your crews within the budgeted hours?
  • How much should you tell your supervisor?
  • Give me some examples of enhancements that you have sold.
  • How do you go about renewing a contract?
  • How do you set priorities on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?

Situational Questions:

  • A customer makes a request for something not included in the contract, what should you do or how should you respond?
  • Your crew member does not wear safety protection because he does not think he needs it, what should you do?
  • A crew member just accidently scratched a car with the handle of the mower. What should you do?
  • You just noticed a plant had some brown leaves on it? What could be wrong?
  • You get to the job site and you notice that there are more things to do than you have time for. What should you do?
  • A crew continually gets in late and the result is overtime that is unauthorized, how do you correct the problem?
  • A crew leader demands a raise or he is going to leave, how do you respond?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was an excerpt from one of NALP’s member resources, provided by well-known industry consultant Bruce Wilson. Want to learn more about bettering your business? Become a member to enjoy these resources and more.

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