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Hiring is always a struggle and in our current culture, it is extra challenging. In our area, there is hardly a business, restaurant or store that isn’t displaying a “Help Wanted” sign in their window.

How do we find good employees when there are so few to be found? While we don’t have any magic steps to give you, we have learned a few things over the past 30 years. Here are a few ideas that may help you navigate your way through the hiring process.

1. Develop a Trial Period.

A 90-day trial period makes hiring feel much less risky. Please keep in mind that this trial period is not outside any legal requirements for termination. While we do inform our new hires that both they and we have 90 days to decide if this will be a good employment fit for both them and for our company, we do recognize that if we both don’t agree about termination, we will still have to follow legal protocol. But that being said, we have found that this trial period benefits both the employer and the employee and that both will usually agree if it is time to part ways during those first 90 days.

2. Check Applicants’ Social Media Accounts.

It is amazing what people will tell you about themselves on their social media feeds. This is an extremely helpful way to determine if an applicant gave you an honest picture of themselves in their interview and it can also help you decide if they would be the best candidate for your company.

3. Run a Background Check.

I can’t believe I just typed that sentence. When we first started hiring employees in the 90’s I would have never imagined that this would be necessary. But we have discovered in recent years that few applicants have any scruples about lying. This means that we can no longer trust what they write on their applications or tell us in an interview. Running a background check or using a search tool such as truthfinder.com can help verify their information.

4. Observe Them Closely During the Interview.

Do they shift their eyes around, stare at the ground or look you in the eye? Are they sloppily chewing gum? Do they have a good firm handshake? Are their clothes clean and in good repair? Do they seem genuinely interested in the job? Observe them carefully during the interview process to determine if this is a good prospect for employment.

Finding good employees is one of the greatest challenges in running a company. Some you hire will be ‘keepers’ and some won’t.
5. Let the Applicant Do Most of the Talking in the Interview.

Oftentimes business owners work hard to try to sell their company to prospective employees during interviews, but it is just as important to give the applicant ample time to talk. Ask them situational questions such as “What would you do if you were weed-eating and a rock flew up and damaged a customer’s window?” or “How would you handle it if you were running 10 minutes late for work?” Questions like these give helpful insight into a prospective employee’s character.

Use these five things to help you in addition to your common sense and business experience. And don’t get discouraged if you give someone a try and it just doesn’t work out. Finding good employees is one of the greatest challenges in running a company. Some you hire will be “keepers” and some won’t. It happens to all of us. Happy hiring!

Leslie Allebach is vice president of The Greenskeeper, a landscape firm based in Palmyra, Pennsylvania.