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Posted by Todd Thomasson on Jan 13, 2020 12:34:00 PM

Youre Hired text with transparent backgroundIf you’re someone who is looking for a lawn care or landscaping job, you might be wondering what it takes to get hired by a great company. What can you do that will help you make a really great first impression and improve your chances?

As a company that hires regularly (and also has a high standard for hiring), we have a strong sense of what makes for an ideal job candidate. We’ve interviewed dozens and dozens of people over the years, some of whom we’ve hired and some of whom we haven’t—and we’ve learned a lot about what separates a great candidate from one who isn’t necessarily going to be the best team member.

Whether you’re looking for a job at Rock Water Farm, or somewhere else in the lawn care and landscape industry, we’ve rounded up some interview tips that should help you not only prepare for the interview process but also make a great first impression.

1. Update Your Resume

Bringing in an up-to-date resume may sound like a no-brainer, but there are a lot of job candidates that show up for an interview with an outdated resume. In fact, a lot of potential job candidates show up with no resume at all. 

It’s helpful to bring a couple of copies of your most up-to-date resume with you to an interview. Bringing multiple copies allows you and the interviewer to both have copies in front of you during the interview process. Even if you’ve already turned in your resume, bring fresh copies with you. This shows you are prepared.

2. Prepare a List of References

It’s always beneficial to bring in a list of references that a company you’re applying with can call to ask about your past work experience and character. If you come prepared with this information already listed out (names and phone numbers), it shows that you are someone who is taking this process seriously. 

We recognize that some of the people we hire haven’t been in the green industry that long (or maybe it’s even their first job in lawn care and landscaping). 

That’s okay. 

Think about people or companies you’ve worked for that still demonstrate your great character traits such as a strong work ethic, positive attitude, or timeliness and use those references.

3. Research the Company (Well!)

Nothing makes you appear less prepared for an interview than showing up and not knowing anything about the company you’re applying to. Interviewers are going to expect that you’ve done some homework and know about their lawn and landscape company. If you don’t, it makes you not only look unprepared but also uninterested.

It doesn’t take long to spend some time on a company’s website and learn more about them. Look at their “About” pages and read about the company and its people. Some lawn and landscape companies even have a “Careers” page that will tell you more about working for that company or regularly publish content to their blog.

This is a huge benefit to you. After all, don’t you want to know more about the lawn or landscape company that you’re considering working for? Researching them well will even help ensure that it’s definitely an organization you will want to join.

4. Prepare Yourself for Questions

Be prepared for job interview signGoing into the interview, you know that you’re going to be asked a variety of questions. Take some time to reflect on what those might be and be prepared to answer them. It definitely helps to have researched the lawn and landscape company you’re applying to in order to consider your best responses to interview questions. It will allow you to provide more personalized answers to questions. 

For instance, if the interviewer asks you, “Why do you want to work here?” You can give more than just a generic answer. You can explain exactly what makes that company appealing to work for based on what you’ve read.

Another common question that we ask at Rock Water Farm is, “What skills do you have?”

It’s incredibly important that you are honest with your answers. This is another area where interviews have gone awry. Potential hires will lie about their skillset and tell us that they’ve operated a piece of equipment before when they haven’t.

The fact is, we will find out quickly.

In fact, even during the interview process, we will sometimes ask a candidate to demonstrate a skill, such as mowing, for us. That occasionally brings to light that someone has lied.

Honestly, we’d rather you just told us you didn’t have a particular skill set but are willing to learn rather than lying about it.

5. Understand the Position You are Applying For

Another important interview tip is to come in with a good understanding of the position that you are applying for. Hopefully, you can read more about the open positions and what they entail on the company website. But at the very least, you can also research the position online to find out a little more about the common tasks associated with that role.

Along with this point, be prepared to tell us what you are best at (skill-wise) as well as what you want to do (or like to do). Though you may assume you are being agreeable and easy-going, we’d actually prefer that potential hires didn’t tell us, “I’ll do anything.” Or, “I’ll do whatever you want me to do.”

Come in with some clear ideas on where you will fit best and how that will benefit our company and our customers.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more specifics about the role that you may be applying for. We like questions and we understand that there are details which may not have been covered in the online job description. 

In fact, that leads us to our next point.

6. Have a List of Your Own Questions Ready

Once you’ve researched the lawn care or landscaping company, and thought about questions you may be asked, you should prepare some questions of your own. 

When the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them, you should be ready. After all, this is not only beneficial to you as it gives you a chance to find out more valuable information, but it also conveys that you are both prepared and serious about the landscaping or lawn care job you are applying for.

7. Talk to Other Team Members (If You Know Them)

At Rock Water Farm, word of mouth is an important part of our hiring process. Our current team members sometimes tell their friends and family about job openings before they apply. 

If this is how you’ve come to apply for a lawn care or landscaping job at Rock Water Farm (or somewhere else that you’re applying), then it would make sense for you to talk to that existing team member and find out more about the company. It’s just a really great way to prepare for the interview and get an inside feel for what it’s going to be like working here.

8. Dress Appropriately

For a landscaping or lawn care job interview, we’re not expecting you to show up in a suit and tie. But please don’t show up with clothing or hats that have inappropriate logos or slogans. It just doesn’t express a professional vibe. 

In our years of interviewing potential hires, we’ve certainly had some show up wearing inappropriate attire and it always set a bad tone for the interview.

9. Don’t Use Foul Language

This is another interview tip that may sound a bit like a no-brainer, but we’ve witnessed it in interviews and it demonstrates a lack of professionalism. This is important because we are hiring people to be the face of the company and we expect that you’re going to play a positive role in contributing to our good reputation within the community and amongst our clients. 

However, if you show up to the interview and use foul language, we are going to automatically question whether you can portray a positive image to our customers on their properties.

10. Don’t Be Late! 

Clock to be on timeIn the lawn care and landscaping industry, time is money. Honestly, that’s true in most industries. But in this profession, in particular, being on time to job sites is really critical to our bottom line. That means that if you show up late for the interview, it’s going to leave us wondering if you’ll be reliable if we hire you. 

Showing up late is honestly sometimes enough of a reason for us to choose not to hire someone.

It’s that important!

Of course, we understand that things happen. You might have left with plenty of time to get to our office and you got stuck in traffic. If that happens, we expect you to call. That’s the responsible thing to do. Even so, we’ve had many interviews where potential hires walked in quite late with no advance notice and no good reason, either.

Assuming there’s no unforeseen circumstance that’s making you late (like traffic), it’s actually ideal to be early. If you show up 10 or 15 minutes early to your interview it shows that you are eager and ready—and we have great respect for that.

A Lawn Care & Landscaping Career that Fits You

As you think about these 10 interview tips, you might recognize that many of them benefit you as much as they benefit the company you’re applying with and that’s how it ought to be. A great career is one that is “mutually beneficial.” You provide great work for the company as a valued team member and in turn, you are fulfilled by the work, enjoy doing it, and are compensated well for it. 

Happy Rock Water Farm landscaping crew

At Rock Water Farm, we take the hiring process seriously. We are looking for team members who want to build a long-term career with us. We desire to treat our people well and we want them to be around for the long haul. 

Of course, we also don’t want to waste their time by having them apply for a position that isn’t right for them. That’s why preparing for the interview process will help you determine whether this is something you really want to pursue—or not.

If a career with Rock Water Farm is something that you are excited about, and you think you’re a good fit, then we’d love to tell you more. Finding the right people who are a good fit for our company (and for whom we are also a good fit for their career) is a win-win for everyone.

As our business grows, so do our opportunities, and we are frequently looking for new team members. If you think you have what it takes and are interested in learning more, we invite you to check out our lawn and landscaping career opportunities and apply online.

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About The Author

Todd Thomasson
Todd Thomasson

Todd Thomasson, founded Rock Water Farm Landscapes & Hardscapes in 2005. Having grown up with hard working parent role models and a strong work ethic, Todd put his Landscape & Turf Management degree from Virginia Tech into action as the lead stone mason and landscape designer for the new company. Over the years, the responsibility and opportunity of running this company has been shared with other members of the Rock Water Farm team, launching one of the leading property maintenance companies in Loudoun County. Todd is still rooted in his passion for design/build projects and continues to run the company, working with clients to design, build and maintain perfect outdoor spaces with his team.