Hiring the right employees is critical to the success of any business, but it's especially important in the landscaping industry. After all, your landscapers are the ones who are out in the field every day, interacting with customers and ensuring that your company's projects are completed to the highest standards.
And when there's a labor shortage in the home service industry, like what we're currently experiencing, it can be even more difficult to find good employees. That’s why it's important to ask the right questions during your landscape interviews — and why we’ve compiled this list of the 11 most important landscape interview questions you should include.
These questions will help you get a better sense of a candidate's skills, experience, and work ethic — all of which are essential qualities in a good landscaper. We'll also provide you with some advice on how to get the most out of your answers.
The 3 Keys to Successfully Screening Landscape Candidates
Before we get into the questions, there are a few things to keep in mind when interviewing landscape candidates. These 3 tips will help you ensure that your interview process is productive and efficient, and will help you get the most out of your questions:
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions will give candidates the opportunity to provide a more detailed answer than a yes/no question would.
For example, rather than asking “Do you have experience with home service work?”, ask “Can you tell me about your experience with home service work?”
Asking questions in this way encourages interviewees to be creative in their answers, which can give you valuable insights into their skills, abilities and work ethic.
Focus on the Big Picture
When interviewing landscape candidates, it’s important to be mindful of the big picture. Don’t ask too many questions about minor details. Instead, focus on their overall experience and attitude towards landscaping work:
- Do they see it as a career or just something to do for the season?
- Are they passionate about their work and eager to learn more?
- Have they invested in their own education or certifications?
- Will they be able to complete the job with minimal supervision?
If you can get a feel for the candidate’s overall attitude, you'll have a better idea of their compatibility with your team. This will also give you an indication of how long they'll stay with the organization and their potential performance in the role over time.
Screening candidates is a crucial part of successful hiring. Here’s how to do it all wrong (so you can avoid the mistakes!).
Listen Carefully and Make Observations
It's important to pay attention to both what a candidate says and how they say it. Not only will it give you a better sense of their skills, this will also give them the opportunity to demonstrate their professionalism and communication abilities.
Observe the candidate's body language and behavior throughout the interview. Look for any inconsistencies or red flags:
- Are they engaged in the conversation or uninterested?
- Do they seem enthusiastic and excited about the job and your company?
- Do they seem to be answering your questions accurately and honestly?
- Do their actions match up with their words?
- Are they confident and sure of their answers?
These are all clues as to how well-suited the candidate is for the role. Some candidates may be more talkative than others, so don't be afraid to ask follow-up questions.
By taking your time, listening carefully during the interview, and observing how the candidate behaves, you'll be able to make a better decision about the candidate's character and their commitment to the position.
Another fantastic way to screen candidates is with Team Engine’s automated applicant screening. Sifting through applicants is time-consuming and overwhelming. Our software can help you virtually eliminate that step and improve your hiring process.
11 Powerful Landscape Interview Questions for Hiring Managers
Now that you know how to approach the interview process, let’s get into the questions. We've compiled 11 powerful questions designed to give you insight into a candidate's experience and attitude:
1. Tell me about your prior experience working in the landscaping industry.
A resume isn't always enough to determine how qualified a candidate may be. This question will help you gain an understanding of the kind of experience they have in landscaping. Putting their work history in context will help you to gain an understanding of their skill set and area of expertise.
Need to write a landscaper job description that attracts qualified candidates? We walk you through the process here.
2. What type of equipment are you certified to operate?
If your landscaping company offers services that require tree pruning or heavy machinery, it's important to know that your employees are certified to use the equipment safely and efficiently. It can also show you if the candidate is willing to take initiative and invest in their own skills and education.
3. Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer or challenging situation on the job.
Customer-facing roles require more than just technical skill — they also demand a level of interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.
Asking this question can help you understand how the candidate handles stressful situations and communicates with customers.
And even if they don't deal directly with customers, their ability to stay composed in the face of a challenge can speak volumes about the candidate's professionalism and work ethic.
4. What do you think is the most important quality for a successful landscaper?
This question can help you see exactly how the candidate views themselves and their abilities in relation to others:
- How does this candidate compare their own work against the industry?
- Are they eager to learn more?
- Do they think highly of their own skills, but also value collaboration and team spirit?
It can also help you identify a candidate's self-confidence and willingness to take on responsibility.
5. How do you stay up-to-date on new trends and developments in the industry?
Landscaping is an ever-evolving industry. To stay competitive and provide the best services to clients, landscaping companies need employees that are always learning and adapting to new developments.
This question will cue you into the candidate's willingness to go above and beyond and stay informed. It can also show you if they have potential for career growth and advancement.
6. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond to get a job done.
This question will help you get an understanding of how hard the candidate is willing to work and what lengths they are willing to go to in order to ensure success. It can also tell you if they have the initiative and creativity required for this role.
7. Describe a situation where you had to work under tight deadlines or with limited resources.
Time management and resourcefulness are important qualities in any role, but especially landscaping. This question will help you assess how well the candidate can think on their feet and prioritize tasks in order to get the job done efficiently.
Sometimes limited resources can mean limited labor. If you’ve been understaffed for a while, watch the on-demand webinar to help you fix the landscaping labor problem.
8. What's your response to feedback from customers or colleagues?
It’s important to know how the candidate responds to feedback. Do they take it positively and use it as an opportunity to learn, or do they become defensive and avoid constructive criticism? This question will help you assess the candidate's attitude and ability to be managed.
9. Describe a time when you had to troubleshoot an issue on the job site.
Landscaping projects can be unpredictable and full of surprises. It's important to know that your candidate is able to think quickly on their feet and make decisions in the face of adversity. It might also indicate whether you’re hiring someone that will work safely.
Not only that, but leadership roles often require a level of flexibility and problem-solving. This question will help you gauge how well the candidate is able to think and act under pressure, which will be especially important if you’re choosing someone to fill a leadership position.
10. What do you like most about working in the landscaping industry?
This question can tell you a lot about the candidate's passion and enthusiasm for the job. It can also provide insight into their motivations and values, allowing you to gauge whether they are a good fit for your company culture.
11. What questions do you have for me about the position or our company?
The framing of this question is crucial to getting the most out of your interview. You're not asking "if" they have questions, you're asking "what" questions they have.
Asking this way can give you insight into their expectations and level of interest in the job. If they come prepared with well-thought-out, relevant questions, it could be a sign that they are serious about pursuing the role.
If you've been struggling to find the right candidate for a landscaping position, these questions can help you get to the heart of who they are and assess their skills and abilities.
Just starting the hiring process? Download our FREE landscaping job description templates to save time and attract the best candidates.
With these templates, you'll be able to quickly craft job descriptions that accurately represent your open landscaping positions and give potential candidates a clear idea of what the job entails. Good luck on your search for the perfect landscaping employee!