What landscape employers are really looking for by Stephen Ensell

GoLandscape EdNews & Events

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Many landscaping companies have changed the way they recruit people and what they are primarily looking for. The focus is now more on attributes and behaviours than just industry skills, believing that if a candidate exhibits the right attributes and behaviours they can learn and develop their technical skills.

It is not the strongest or most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.

Charles Darwin

Stephen Ensell spoke to several landscaping companies to find out what they look for in a potential new employee.

A is for Attitude

It may sound cliched, but it’s top of the list for what companies are looking for. You can have a negative, positive or indifferent attitude and these will all have a major impact on the workplace, staff morale, productivity as well as your chances of progression.

You are choosing to join the landscape industry, whilst there can be external factors that impact your daily attitude, for the most part, you are in control and can make the decision to have a positive attitude, what’s more, it’s contagious!

Above all things, employers can work with a can-do attitude.

Do what you love, love what you do

Most people in the landscape industry do what they do because they love it! Be that working outside, designing and creating incredible spaces and making a difference in people’s lives. So, they want the people that work for them to be passionate about what they do and enthusiastic about work.

Passionate people are loyal, show up, want to do the best job they possibly can and motivate others along the way.

That’s why employers look for passionate people.

Thirst for knowledge

We never stop learning and this is especially true in landscaping. With such a broad spectrum of skills, you are always discovering something new, even if it’s a new plant that you have identified. Companies don’t expect you to know everything and they are more interested in a willingness to learn as opposed to what you already know (or the bad habits you may have).

Companies are more than happy to invest in training for people who want to learn and put those skills into practice.

Is anybody there?

Reliability is essential, landscapers need people to be on time and turn up where they need to be. You could be the best bricklayer in town, but if you are either turning up late or not turning up at all, you are of no use to the company, because the bricks aren’t getting laid and the job will fall behind. An incredible amount of days are lost to businesses whose staff are constantly calling in sick. We all get genuinely sick from time to time, but people that use this as a regular excuse are showing signs they aren’t happy in their work.

Together everyone achieves more

The average landscape contract is a collaborative activity, a number of elements have to come together to produce the end result. This takes skill as well as timing, which only works when people pull together as a team. We talk about many working parts making the whole, and this is certainly the case with landscaping. Employers want their employees to work well together, it makes for a productive and smooth-running project and a great team player can go on to be a great supervisor!

Make it happen

Having short and long-term goals and working towards them demonstrates ambition and a desire to be always moving forward, which is highly desirable to landscape companies. We have all been asked, where do you see yourself in five years’ time? How have you answered that, have you even thought about it? It’s all about making the most of opportunities that present themselves and even creating a few of your own. If you see yourself in the position of supervisor or manager, then progressive companies will help you achieve that.

It’s all in the detail

Attention to detail in landscaping defines a landscaper and therefore helps the company set itself apart from the competition. Taking pride in your work shows you care, we all know a perfectionist and whilst we may not go as far as some, there is no room for a ‘that will do’ attitude in landscaping. From a spot-on laid slab to the perfect mitre cut produces a job well done and a happy client.

What’s interesting to see is that these are skills that everyone can develop. The main focus of landscape companies looking to hire is not what landscaping skills you have, but whether you will fit in with the company and the rest of the team, that you are keen, willing to learn and reliable. They will then be willing to invest in you, adding the technical skills once you are in the role.

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