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Finding and Recruiting Staff

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 9 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Whether you’re just starting out and want to recruit staff for your gardening business, or have been trading for a while and have realised you need extra help, here are some tips on finding and recruiting staff for your business.

Taking on one or more employees is a big decision and not a move to make without plenty of careful thought and planning. Having extra help can make a big difference to the amount of work that gets done and help reduce the amount of stress you’re under, but it’s also important that the business is making enough money to make it cost-effective to employ someone to help.

When you’re first starting out and haven’t made any money yet, you’ll only have your business forecasts to go by and the decision may seem like a bit of a leap of faith. But having staff to help you with your gardening services, or with selling products can help bring in more money, so it’s very much a case of weighing up all the potential pros and cons and deciding whether you want to take the risk of employing someone at such an early stage.

What Are You Looking For?

Before leaping in an advertising, or using the service of a staffing services or recruitment agency, you need to work out exactly what you’re looking for. Some of the issues you need to be clear about when you’re recruiting include:

  • How many employees are you looking for?
  • What level of skill do they need to have?
  • Will they need to be fully trained already, or will you offer training?
  • What experience do they need?
  • How much responsibility do you plan to give them?
  • Is it a long-term or temporary job contract?
  • How many hours will they work? Part-time, full-time or occasional?
Once you’ve answered these questions and are clear in your own mind about what you’re looking for, you can draw up a more structured job description. Next it’s time to start looking for your ideal employee.

Advertising is one key method of recruiting an employee and you can start by using methods such as local papers, the Internet or through business organisations. If your gardening business is already up and running, then you could stick an ad on the door, in the window, on your van or vehicle, or on your website. Sometimes using specialist recruitment agencies works out well, as they do all the hard work of finding people, and all you have to do is interview the shortlisted candidates.

Word-of-mouth, such as recommendations from family or friends, is also an option, although if you need people with certain skills or experiences, it may be better to advertise first and foremost. If there are colleges or universities in your area, and especially if they run courses focusing on gardening or landscape design, they may also be a good source of staff.

How to Write Your Recruitment Ad

When it comes to writing your ad, getting it right is crucial. If it’s worded badly, or isn’t clear what’s involved, it may put people off and you won’t get the candidates you want. The elements that should go in a job ad for staff are:

  • Your company name – include a logo if you have one.
  • The job title or description – make sure it’s easy for someone to relate to.
  • Where the job is.
  • The work involved in the employment.
  • What your company does.
  • What type of person you’re looking for, including any essential skills and experience.
  • Whether the employee will need their own transport, vehicle or equipment.
  • What the pay is.
  • How to apply.
  • A closing date for applications.
Make sure to double-check the ad and proofread it for any mistakes or errors. Ensure your contact information is correct too, so prospective employees can apply. Also, make sure the ad isn't discriminatory in any way, as this is against the law. Then it’s time to publish and distribute your ad. If you’re using a recruiting or staffing services company, then send them a copy of the finished ad and they’ll put their service into action.

If all goes well, you should receive some employment applications soon and be able to draw up a shortlist of potential employees to interview for the position.

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