tumblr_lxk2gl4xhq1r726ojo1_500I recognize first impressions matter. Afterall, as business owners we know that how we present ourselves from the very beginning can be the difference between getting a bid and not getting a bid.

Right now a lot of lawn and landscape business owners are in the interviewing/hiring process.

I can say that I have seen it all and heard it all from applicants. I have also learned over the years that the best way to determine if someone is a good fit for our company is to let them get themselves hired or let them eliminate any chance of ever being hired.

I used to look at people as they would walk through the door and make instant assumptions – either because of the way they were dressed, how they shook my hand, how they introduced themselves and even how they sat down.

If someone rubbed me the wrong way from the very start I was much less inclined to give them a legitimate, full blown interview. Instead I would ask a few generic questions, thank them for their time and let them walk out the door.

However, I have learned my lesson.

I now let the applicant do all the work. I try to have simple conversations and make them feel at ease. INstead of just asking the standard interview questions I will talk about hobbies, sports, politics, etc… just to get them to let their guard down.

Let’s face it, when you ask the same standard interview questions, people are going to be rigid and give you the answers they think you want to hear. Not a lot can be learned from that in my opinion.

So instead, I let them loose. And when this happens, you start to realize who they are, how they really think and how they will probably act.

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For example, this morning a young man came in, well dressed, polite, said all the right things, had a resume in hand and had experience in the industry.

After about 10 minutes of hearing how much he wanted the job, felt he was a good fit and was excited for the opportunity, the fun began…

We started talking about sports – specifically hockey and he revealed to me that he went to an NHL game, got drunk, got into a fight, got kicked out of the arena and is in the middle of an appeal for a disorderly conduct charge.

Hmmm….

It works both ways.

Last week a guy came in for an interview, dressed fine, nothing special, relatively soft spoken, said he hadn’t been on too many interviews and answered most questions with as little detail as possible. In the past I would have assumed this guy would not be a good fit.

But once we got talking, he revealed he had worked for the same company for 8 years and even stayed on the last 6 months at half the pay because he felt loyal to the company as they were going through a bankruptcy.

Bingo.

Don’t assume those who look right and say all the right things are going to make sense and definitely don’t assume the guy dressed in jeans and t-shirt without a resume aren’t worth your time. You can mold them into the types of employees you want them to be, but it is the foundation of the person that matters.