How to Write a Lawn Care Job Description that Attracts Talent
Hiring great employees is a struggle shared by all entrepreneurs no matter the industry. But when it comes to a seasonal industry like lawn care, that struggle multiplies.
When you’re busy, you’re so busy that you need bodies behind mowers stat. Yet a rainy or dry season can wreak havoc on your employees if their schedule is inconsistent and there’s not enough work for them.
Both of these scenarios—the need to hire fast, and scheduling factors beyond your control—make hiring and retaining great people a tough prospect.
Grow slow. Grow smart.
These are two tips we’ve heard from veteran lawn care business owners time and time again. As soon as you hire employees, you lose the quality control of doing the work yourself. Hire fast without putting the time into sourcing quality candidates and you might grow your client list but be left in a bind if a difficult employee quits or you have to fire them.
Still want to move ahead with hiring? Awesome!
Then here are two things we’ve heard from lawn care business owners who’ve found great hires:
1. Hire people referred by your current employees
Your current employees know the business they’re in and will sell an employment opportunity to the friends and contacts they think can handle the work. Their reputation is on the line, so they’re more likely to send you great people.
In fact, research shows that referrals are more engaged, more productive, and they stay with companies longer.
Check out our article on implementing an employee referral program for more information.
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2. Invest in your great employees
Finding a great employee isn’t easy, so when you do uncover a gem treat them with respect, invest in furthering their training, and offer them more challenging work and responsibility (if that’s what makes them happy).
Put yourself in their shoes and think about what would make you buy into the success of your company. It’s not necessarily about giving them big raises. For example, The Hiring Site Blog found that more than 90% of employees are more loyal to employers who invest in their skills by training them. It’s about helping them understand their impact on your company’s success and wanting to build upon it in a way only they can.
A case for job descriptions
Whether you’re finding candidates through an employee referral program, an online job board, or a temp agency you need to start with a great job posting.
The more details you provide to a temp agency the better they can match someone with your business (one recruiter we talked to compared a candidate search without a detailed job posting to driving down the highway blind).
On an online job board your thorough criteria will outshine a simple “hiring lawn care laborers – call me at this phone number” notice, and just might attract more thoughtful and serious job seekers.
Employees referring people can better understand expectations before they put their neck out for a friend or contact.
Need more proof that writing a thorough job posting is worth your time? Danielle, Jobber’s head of people management, who has past experience as a recruiter for a variety of industries (and helped us write this post), filled us in.
Here are 4 reasons why from a professional recruiter’s perspective:
- The time spent designing your job posting will save you from answering questions on the phone.
- A detailed posting will help you weed out unqualified applicants, so that you only get to the interview stage with great fits.
- A posting with clear duties helps with employee retention because employees will have a good understanding of their duties and responsibilities (costly turnover averted!).
- Posting a well-written job description communicates a high level of company professionalism, which will help attract quality applicants.Your approach to hiring is part of your brand, and the same way customers flock to trusted and professional brands, so does top talent.
There you have it. Whether you’re looking to hire an admin pro, or a temporary employee to help with busy season, a great job posting can help a company of any age and size.
You might be looking to refresh a dusty posting or write your first, and we’re walking you through the nuts and bolts.
Anatomy of a job posting
Before we begin, take note: it’s best practice to only include what candidates need to know and leave out what’s nice to know. Going in with this approach also helps you cut down on the time you’ll spend crafting your posting.
There are 5 main parts to a good job posting, with some additional sections that you can include or omit depending on your business needs.
1. Company overview
Once you write this section, you can copy and paste into future postings, updating as needed. This section allows job seekers to decide if they’re a good fit for your company based on their own values. For example, some people decide to apply to company of only a certain size, preferring to be part of a small team, or looking to join a large company with several departments.
Some information you might include:
- Overview of your company’s service offering
- Size of organization/# of employees
- Seasonal (or not)
Even if you only write one line about your company, it can be a good frame of reference for a job seeker.
A description for my fictional lawn care company might be:
Green Yard Champs was founded in 2010, and provides superior lawn care services to Edmonton and the surrounding area from spring to fall, and goes into snow removal mode in the winter. Our dedicated team of 6 professionals help our customers keep and care for lush green lawns, and maintain safe walkways in the winter.
2. Position summary
It’s always a good idea to give an overview of the role in a brief paragraph. Different from a list of responsibilities (that’s up next), this is your opportunity to communicate the intent of the role.
Some questions to get you started:
- Is this a new role?
- Who is it reporting to?
- What do you want the role to help you achieve over the next 6 to 12 months?
A ‘team lead’ role overview for my fictional snow removal business might be:
The team lead role is a new role for our 2017 season. The objective of this role is to act as second in command to the owner, providing direction to the team. This person will have experience managing and scheduling a large crew of at least 10 people.
If a great job candidate likes what they read they just might pick your company over another.
3. Personality characteristics
In a paragraph following the position summary, this is your opportunity to showcase your company’s culture, while sharing the traits you feel help your employees become successful. If a great job candidate likes what they read they just might pick your company over another.
Give some thought to the following:
- What personality traits or characteristics are non-negotiable for someone to join your team?
- What personality traits are so important to you that they might allow you to look past a lack of experience?
A summary of personality characteristics for a field worker role at my fictional lawn care company might be:
We’re looking for a self-starter who can manage their time effectively. The role requires drive and a sense of accountability because the day-to-day working environment will involve very little direct supervision.
4. List of responsibilities
It’s best to be as descriptive as possible in this section, providing duties along with numbers (where possible) to make it really clear what you’ll expect of the successful candidate. In this section, the more details the better.
Some questions to get you started:
- If this is a role for a crew member, how many visits will you expect them to complete each day?
- Will the person be responsible for scheduling new jobs, creating quotes, or invoicing?
- Will they be handling customer interactions face to face, or over the phone?
- Do they need to be available on certain days, or during the day, evening, overnight?
Once you’ve made a list, keep it in that form. It’s best to lay these specifics out in a bullet list.
5. List of job requirements
Similar to the list of responsibilities, you want to provide a very clear list of qualifications required to be considered for the job. This way, potential candidates who aren’t a good fit can self-select out of the competition.
Depending on the role, these might include:
- Previous leadership experience
- Experience working in a mobile service environment
- Required certifications or training
- Experience with specific equipment or chemicals
Once again, this section is best kept as a bulleted list.
Depending on the nature of your business and the position, you may decide to include the following information with your posting. Remember that the more you include, the less questions you’ll get and the higher quality your applications will be.
- Indicate any tools or training that you’ll provide.
- Let candidates know if you conduct any screening or testing pre-employment and during employment. These might include drug tests, driving records, or a background check.
- If the posting is seasonal, let people know if there is an opportunity for extension.
Always include instructions for how people should apply, indicating if you prefer an application or resume, sent to you by email or dropped off at your office.
And if you can’t call all of the applicants back, it’s always polite to mention that you appreciate interest, but you’ll only be contacting successful applicants.
Finally, don’t be afraid to be creative with your postings. There are less and less ‘rules’ compared to past thinking for what you can and can’t say in a job posting (but being professional will always be in style), so if you feel like being creative to attract the right fit, do it! You’ll attract a great candidate that wants to be part of making your company successful.