Recruiting Strategies: Getting Back to Basics - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Recruiting Strategies: Getting Back to Basics

While thinking outside the box is always a good idea when it comes to recruiting, it’s also important to make sure you’re not overlooking or underestimating the value of some of the recruiting basics.

If you’re struggling with recruiting, review some of these tried-and-true practices to see if you’ve missed an opportunity for improvement.  

Pay Competitively

Many landscape companies pay competitive wages and you can see where your company stands on the spectrum with the 2022 Compensation and Benefits Report. It cannot be overstated how important is to make sure you are compensating your employees at a fair rate.  

No matter what other benefits or perks you offer, not offering a living wage can discourage anyone from applying or staying at your company long-term.

“Human behaviors are based on incentives,” says Tito Caceres, landscape industry recruiter with Bloom Partners Talent Solutions, based in Miami, Florida.

Improve Company Culture  

Creating a company culture that makes your business a destination workplace is almost equally important as offering competitive wages and benefits.

Taking the time to stop and consider whether your organization is a place people want to work for is also necessary if you want to overcome the desperate scramble for laborers. Ask yourself questions like how your employees interact and why they leave to get a sense of whether your culture needs work.  

Some of the ways to improve your company culture include prioritizing your employees’ well-being, both physically and mentally, and investing in your team members’ professional and personal success.

Hire a Recruiter

If you don’t have someone on staff whose full-time job is recruiting, you can’t expect the best results if it’s no one’s sole responsibility. Your employees have other tasks to take care of as well, and recruiting can be a lesser priority for them.

Caceres advises adding a field recruiter if you don’t already have a full-time recruiter on your staff. He also suggests implementing an applicant tracking system (ATS) so you can create a pipeline of talent for your company.

An ATS will allow you to collect, sort and analyze your job applications. With this technology, your recruiter will be able to circle back to promising candidates as new positions open up.

Enhance Your Interview Process

Ask anyone who’s been job hunting recently and they’ll tell you the application and interview process is exhausting. Oftentimes, they don’t even know where they stand as far as being offered a job. Keep in contact with your job candidates regularly so they are informed every step of the way.

“Make people feel good whether or not they’re going to get an opportunity,” Caceres says. “If they don’t work out, also make that a pleasant experience as best as you can. Sometimes, people are having a pretty rough time at home sometimes. It is unfortunate, but if they go to an organization and they get a pretty pleasant experience overall, regardless of what happens, it can lead to a potential referral pipeline as well.”

Caceres also suggests sharpening your interview skills to better identify individuals who are a good fit for your organization.

“One thing that I don’t hear often is hiring managers having a dedicated time to interview,” Caceres says. “That should be a part of your internal process. Recruiting usually comes around whenever I need people. Wherever this person is going to be hiring these people, they should have a time so it’s predictable. That’s easily communicated across the across the organization, where this is our dedicated time. You can actually promote that. You can come in and interview with us at X time X day every week.”

Reach the Next Generation

Instead of making generalized assumptions about younger generations’ work ethics, take the time to educate students about this field. There are many who are still unaware of the breadth of potential careers the landscape industry offers.

Brad Stephenson, co-owner and general manager of New Castle Lawn & Landscape, based in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, says that he makes a point to speak at high schools and vocational/career centers often. They have career progression charts to show students what the landscape industry can offer them.

“The younger generation does want to work,” Stephenson says. “They just don’t want to work for you because you’re not enticing. You want them to go out there with shovels and wheelbarrows and push mowers, no equipment, and you just got to grunt and earn it. Nobody wants to do that. These young kids are smarter than us. Let them use their brain. If they’re going to use a remote control for a mower, and that’s what they want to do, that’s great. Why would you not do that?”

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.