Job Recruiting and Hiring for Your Interiorscape Company

The purpose of hiring is to bring into the company people who support the mission; people who work toward the vision; and people who perform the daily responsibilities to realize the mission and vision. When hiring, we want to find the right people for the right job, ensuring a success for the individual and the business (and even the client or customer).


“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great


Finding the right people is difficult, but just finding people has become challenging these days. I recently drove past a Taco Bell that had a “Hiring Now” sign out front displaying, “$250 sign-on bonus, $250 after 90 days.” Signs like this are not uncommon to see outside fast food restaurants, car washes, and similar establishments. What does it say about our workforce that businesses are willing to pay high hourly wages plus bonuses just to fill entry level jobs?hiring now sign

I hear small business owners, especially those in the interiorscape industry, talk about being unable to find people who want to work or about a talent shortage in today’s workforce. While I believe there is some truth in both statements, I also think part of the problem is that business owners aren’t looking for people in the right places. I say this because, at NewPro Containers, we’ve filled marketing positions, warehouse positions, director level positions, and more in two months or less.

How do you, as a business owner, reach the qualified people out there looking for work? How do you find the plant care technicians, horticulture specialists, and landscape gardeners you need to serve your clients and grow your company? A great place to start is with who, what, when, where, why, and how. We’ve already answered the why (i.e., you are hiring to bring in great people to pursue a great vision). For the purposes of this article, let’s also assume you know the who: you are looking to hire a plant technician. So we’ll begin with the what — the job description.

(Keep reading to see an example job description for a plant technician.)

Writing Job Descriptions

You can easily craft a job description by pulling from current job descriptions online and modifying them for your company and the position. Or you can write your own from scratch. Whatever you decide, there is a general job description structure you should follow.


Job Title

[company name], [location]

Salary levels (minimum and maximum)

Position this job reports directly to (eg. a plant technician reports to a plant technician supervisor)

Job Summary

This section is to provide a general description of the position and any key objectives of the job. It may also include a brief summary of the company and its mission as it pertains to the position.

Responsibilities/Competencies

  • What are the necessary functions of the job?
  • What skills and abilities should the job candidate have?
  • Are there necessary knowledge and experience for the position?
  • Are there other requirements such as a clean driving record or any certifications?

Physical Requirements

  • What physical characteristics are demanded in the position?

Work Environment

  • General description of the company culture
  • Will the candidate spend most of the time in the office, travelling, and so on

Type of Position and Hours

  • Is the job part-time or full-time? How many hours a week can the candidate expect to work? Does the position have set shifts?
  • If the position requires travel, how many hours a week does that mean? How many miles could the candidate expect to travel?

Education and Experience

  • Are there educational requirements related to the job? Does the job have any experience requirements?
  • Are there any preferred experience or education?

Other Duties

  • This section serves more as a disclaimer (i.e. “Other duties, responsibilities, and activities may be assigned as needed.”)

Writing a job description will necessitate some research, review, and analysis on your part, but it should not be an extensive project. Especially since you need people, and you need them sooner rather than later. Below we’ve constructed a basic job description for a plant technician to help you envision what your job description might look like.


Plant Technician

The Company — City, State

Salary: $15 – $18 an hour

Reports to Plant Technician Supervisor

Job Summary

The plant technician functions as a groundskeeper for our landscaping company. He or she will care for numerous varieties of plants in different weather conditions, including indoor and outdoor environments depending on the customer. The plant technician is responsible for the general upkeep of the plants (water, prune, clean) and for guarding plants against diseases. He or she will assist in plant installments and replacements.

Responsibilities/Competencies

  • Water, trim, clean, and fertilize plants at assigned locations on a regular basis
  • Assist customers with plant recommendations and replace plants as needed
  • Drive to customer sites in personally owned and insured vehicle (compensation for gas mileage)
  • Ensure client site is clean and orderly throughout the visit
  • Monitor each plant’s health and appearance
  • Maintain all necessary records according to company policy
  • Communicate with Plant Technician Supervisor regularly to inform them of any concerns or needs
  • Responsible for upkeep and placement of tools and equipment  
  • Working knowledge of plant, pest, and disease care and control
  • Valid Indiana driver’s license

Physical Requirements

  • Ability to reach, climb, kneel, lift (up to 50 lbs.) and walk for extended periods of time
  • Experience with ladders, scissor lift, and power tools
  • Comfortable working at height

Work Environment

The Company’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people in the built environment by bringing nature indoors. We design, install, and service plant displays, green walls, and flowers for our clients. We are proud of our work and do our best to serve our customers by taking excellent care of the plants in their places of work. The Company expects all employees to uphold our company values of integrity, quality, and safety.

Type of Position and Hours

Full-time position

Education and Experience

  • Horticulture training and experience preferred
  • Must pass pre-employment background screen and drug test
  • Meets all company Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) requirements

Other Skills

  • Excellent communication skills and professional attitude
  • Ability to work independently
  • Excellent troubleshooting and problem solving skills
  • Attention to detail and organized
  • Dependable, punctual, and has a strong work ethic

Other Duties

  • Other duties, responsibilities, and activities may be assigned as needed.

Posting Job Descriptions

You have three choices when it comes to where you market your job positions. 1) You can choose an organic approach, relying on your business network, friends, and family to refer people for the role. 2) You can outsource to a staffing or recruiting agency. 3) You can self-promote via job sites, social media, hiring signs, and so on. This article will specifically focus on options 2 and 3, though option 1 should be an ongoing conversation. You can always combine all three approaches, but that might be less effective than choosing one or two.

Using a Staffing or Recruiting Agency

hiring agencyFirst, a staffing agency is different from a recruiting agency. Staffing agencies, also called employment agencies, provide companies with temporary employees. They hire out people for a set period of time. A recruiting agency, on the other hand, looks for people to fill a position. They source talent that would be qualified for the role. For the purposes of this article, we will use the term “hiring agency” to refer to both staffing and recruiting agencies.

Like any service provider, hiring agencies come with pros and cons. The benefits, or lack thereof, your company experiences with a hiring agency depend on how you communicate with the agency as well. We’ll address some general advantages these agencies offer.

PRO: Time Saver

When you outsource the application, screening, and initial interview processes, you save time, energy, and maybe money. Your hiring agency can talk to several candidates each day — or you could have those conversations yourself, over a period of weeks and months. You’d start from ground zero, whereas hiring agencies already have a database of top-notch candidates to match with your job requirements. And if you’re hiring en masse, the hiring agency may offer a discount.

PRO: Access to Top-Talent

Hiring agencies have access to high-quality individuals because they have spent and continue to spend the time and energy scouring LinkedIn, job sites, job fairs, and more looking for talent in every industry. Without a hiring agency, you have to do all the advertising, vetting, and processing yourself. Finding people to fill positions quickly consumes every available minute. Hiring agencies, on the other hand, have relationships with individuals they’ve already identified as trustworthy, reliable, and hard working who can fill a position within days, perhaps even hours.

PRO: Retention

If you decide to use a hiring agency, you have the chance to engage temporary employees. This allows you to observe the employee’s performance, attitude, qualifications, abilities, and work habits before offering a permanent position with your company. The trial period gives you and the employee the opportunity to see if you both are a good fit. Using this process can minimize employee turnover (which means higher rates job satisfaction). This is an especially great benefit if you’re using a hiring agency for high-volume job placements.

PRO: Drive to Succeed

Recruiters want to succeed in finding you the best candidate (and, hopefully, the right employee) because doing so benefits them as much as it does your company. If the hiring agency is able to secure your business with a high-quality employee, you will be more likely to continue the relationship, use the agency in the future, and possibly refer the agency. The best recruiters will always have your interests in mind and seek to find a candidate that fits with your company and the position.

Using a hiring agency could be a great decision for your company, especially if you need to hire en masse. However, you should be aware of some cons before you commit to outsourcing the hiring process.

CON: Miscommunicationmiscommunication

Working with another person provides countless opportunities for miscommunication. When working with a hiring agency, you can run into several miscommunication problems. Problems that can be costly for your company’s brand, not just its bottom line. Since the hiring agency doesn’t know you, your company, your culture, and your mission as well as you do, it might misrepresent your company or misrepresent the job position. And correcting these types of mistakes means lost trust, time, energy, and money.

CON: Unspecialized

Finding the right hiring agency for your company is difficult and can be even more of a challenge for companies in specialized niches. Locating and choosing the best fitting hiring agency for your business can become as time-consuming and important as finding the right candidate for the job position. Why? Because, as mentioned above, that agency will be representing you and your company, and you want to right person for the job. The wrong recruiting agency will bring the wrong candidates.

CON: Forced Placement

Even the best hiring agency might try to force a placement for the sake of time. While these agencies have access to top talent, that doesn’t mean any of those candidates are the right fit for your business. And you don’t want just any person filling the position; you want a qualified, motivated individual who is dedicated to the company’s vision and values. Someone who will stay with your business for a long time.

CON: Increased Cost

Hiring a recruiting agency can be a costly decision. Many require a hefty percentage of the new employee’s first year salary as the recruitment or placement fee. And if the agency does not find your company any potential candidates for weeks or months, that drain on resources increases. Though waiting may pay off if you end up with the perfect candidate for the position; you just have to weigh the pros and cons.

If you decide the hiring agency route is not for you, posting on job sites may be the next best option.

Posting on Job Sites

If you decide to manage the hiring process in-house, you have many channels available to accelerate the process. These mediums include posting on social media, advertising on job sites, or even setting out hiring signs, those they may be the least effective method. Job sites have become a major player in the job search and hiring processes in recent years. That being said, you don’t want to sign up and post on any job site. You need a reputable site with proven results. While you should research which job site would fit best with your company’s industry and needs, read on for a quick summary of three job sites and some pros and cons of each.

Indeed Job PostingIndeed’s mission is to connect job seekers and employers by giving them “free access to search for jobs, post resumes, and research companies” and candidates. With over 200 million unique monthly visitors, Indeed is the place to match people and positions.

Indeed has some valuable features, like a resume search tool that allows you to filter for multiple factors, including title, work experience, education level, salary range, and more. And the site’s UI makes posting and managing multiple jobs and applications easy.

PROS CONS
1. Free job postings 1. No transparency on pay-per-performance campaigns and the results of campaigns
2. Resume search (over 100 million resumes) 2. Not much information on Sponsor Jobs
3. Integrates with many ATS 3. User complaints about excessive charges
4. Available in 50 countries and 28 languages 4. Not an aesthetically pleasing site
5. Manage candidates and interviews from Indeed account 5. Limited in offers of additional resources
6. Edit notifications to target applicants who meet your qualifications   6. Can be redundant if you are using other job sites
7. Mobile-friendly job listings and applications 7. Application process is not streamlined
8. Great user feedback from account management and customer support 8. Only allows surface-level profiles for companies and candidates
9. Run pay-per-performance campaigns to move job postings to the top of search results 9. No networking tools to connect with companies or candidates

Glassdoor Job PostingGlassdoor exists to “help people everywhere find jobs and companies they love.” The site has some unique features, such as providing company reviews for job searchers. The company reviews are from real employees who can anonymously describe what it is actually like to work for a specific company.

PROS CONS
1. Millions of job listings 1. Lacks advanced search options
2. View real employee salaries 2. Payments per job listing
3. View company reviews from real employees 3. Does not distinguish sponsored posts
4. Glassdoor blogs and career resources 4. Auto-subscribes users to Glassdoor email list
5. Glassdoor mobile app 5. No phone or live chat customer support.
6. Robust company profiles and ratings 6. No employee verification system for company reviews.
7. Excellent user interface 7. The ratio of reviews to employees is unreliable

ZipRecruiterZipRecruiter Job Posting states on its website, “Our mission is to help people find meaningful employment.” Launched in 2010, ZipRecruiter is a newer site than Indeed or Glassdoor. In eight years, though, it has served over 1 million employers and 120 million job seekers, making it a site worth consideration.

ZipRecruiter has an excellent user interface and offers employers and job seekers a variety of filtering options when creating and searching for job postings.

PROS CONS
1. Add screening questions to job postings and use ATS integrations 1. Can be costly depending on the number of job postings
2. Sends job postings to 100+ job board sites and posts to business website and social media 2. Additional fee to post on LinkedIn, Monster, and other high-profile sites
3. Search over 12 million resumes 3. Does not distinguish sponsored posts
4. Excellent applicant management tools 4. Auto-subscribes users to Glassdoor email list
5. Mostly positive customer support reviews 5. Complaints about excessive sales calls after signing up for the free trial

There are many other job sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, Craigslist, and Elevated Careers that your company may want to review before committing to posting an open position. At NewPro, we’ve had great success with ZipRecruiter. However, we understand ZipRecruiter may not be for every company. If you have several open positions, you may want to invest in a job site. If you only have one open position, depending on how urgent filling that role is, you might want to consider a more organic route using your business network, social media, and sponsored ads.

Screening Questions

Whether you choose to use a hiring agency, a job site, or your professional network, you want to have a say in the process, especially when it comes to selecting the applicants who continterview screening questionsinue to the interviewing process. A great way to influence which candidates progress is through screening questions. Screening questions serve to gain more information about applicants in order to weed out those people who would not fit the job and company. The list below offers some questions as a starting point for you. Screening questions can be about anything from career goals, job preferences, abilities, knowledge, and more. When developing these questions, think about what is most important to you, your company, its culture, and the position.

Screening Questions

  1. What made you want this job?
  2. Do you have a safe driving record?
  3. Are you comfortable driving in the city?
  4. Are you comfortable driving in different kinds of weather?
  5. How do you like to work? Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
  6. Are you comfortable working with people?
  7. Do you mind working occasional nights or weekends?
  8. What are ways you could go above and beyond in customer service while working in a client’s space?
  9. Suppose you spilled water on someone’s desk and it got papers and a cell phone wet. What’s the first thing you would do?
  10. What motivates you to assist in the growth and success of this business?
  11. Do you consider yourself a patient person?
  12. How do you feel about diversity in the workplace?
  13. What is your favorite plant?
  14. What are your hobbies or things you like doing outside of work?
  15. Are you proficient at texting and emailing?
  16. What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
  17. How open are you to the idea of doing things outside your job description?
  18. What are your expectations of working for this company? What aspects of the job do you consider beneficial to your future career?

Conclusion

Hiring employees is a process but it shouldn’t have to be a nightmare. We cannot promise the steps lined out above with guarantee the perfect candidate but we can promise that you will get results. Check out some of our other blogs on hiring:

7 Common Yet Costly Hiring Mistakes You Might Be Making

3 Things to Do Before Hiring a New Employee

4 Steps to Stay Compliant When Hiring Your First Employee

Jeremy is the owner and CEO of NewPro Containers, publisher of Modern Plantscaper Magazine, and co-founder of Relevance.com, a content promotion and distribution services company. Jeremy sits on the national board of Green Plants for Green Buildings. He is a graduate of Purdue University

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