How To Hire The Right People For Spring (Solve My Problem)

How To Hire The Right People For Spring (Solve My Problem)

Wilsons Garden Center Ned & Mitzie

Ned and Mitzie Wilson

How can you detect early that you hired the right person? Or how do you hire the right people?
— Tom Oswald, JAM’n Designs, Atlanta, Ga.


Advice from Ned Wilson, Wilson’s Garden Center, Newark, Ohio

At Wilson’s Garden Center, we have been hiring people off and on for the last 40 years, usually for spring seasonal positions. You usually know within a month whether that person will be a good fit for your company.

It is so much more satisfying (and efficient) to hire the right person to begin with, than to sever the relationship with an employee who is not working out. No one gets it right 100 percent of the time, but we have developed this process over the years.

Start With A Large Application Pool

Depending on the position, we advertise for people in our store, on our website, on Facebook and on our sign out front. The local internet job sites often will pick up this information and post it to their sites. We generally don’t lack for applicants through this process, and it doesn’t cost us anything.

Start Observing Right Away

We require prospects to come in and physically fill out the form to avoid other people filling in their information and to give the applicants additional information about the jobs. It also allows us to observe them in how they follow instructions and how polite they are to the people in the office. This acts as an initial qualifier in the hiring process.

We have each one read and sign a “What It Takes To Be A Wilson Employee” with our basic standards on it.

Allow Them To Reveal Themselves

We select from the applications those that have the best qualifications from the answers given. We call these people in for interviews. Their promptness and demeanor at the interview are very important. We ask all of the applicants the same legal open-ended questions, and then keep quiet to allow each one to express themselves and not guide their answers. Each person is actually interviewed at least twice, once by the personnel manager (my wife, Mitzie) and then by the area leader(s) with whom they will be working.

We also have a short written test and a task to perform in the area where they are applying. After all of the interviews, the two interviewers get together to evaluate the people they interviewed. This process allows different viewpoints to mesh together and allows them to pick the ones most qualified. If the references are good, then these people are called to be hired.

Keep Watching During Training

During an orientation time, we go over company policy and our culture. We team people with the area leaders so that they start off properly. The new employees are given training cards that have information about each job task that they are to perform so they know what is our standard for that particular job.

Once they believe they have mastered a specific task then they are reviewed by a mentor who approves them on their competence with that task. They go to the next card and work on that one to master it.

We make sure that the employee feels welcome and integrates with other employees soon after they are hired. There are many different ways to hire people, but this is the one that works for us.

Have A Problem You Can’t Solve?

If you have advice for this problem or would like input on your own challenge, let us know about it in the comments or eMail [email protected]

Leave a Reply

evelynuk says:

Wow, pretty strict for seasonal employees. What’s your turn over like?

Ned Wilson says:

We have about 50 people employed during peak season. We generally are hiring 5 to 10 people a year due to seasonal people finding other work. or moving away or not being asked back. I think you need to have high standards for our seasonal employees as well as full time staff. The customer does not differentiate between the two types, and your reputation with your customers is on the line with every customer interaction.

sergio zapata says:

I like the training cards specifically how does it wok?

I helped Wilson’s create their customized Training Cards in 2012! I am Kathryn Dager and my company, Profitivity Inc. They are amazing and you will never have to reinvent the wheel again. I have worked with over 85 garden centers over the past 9 years and my Training Card templates cover every task and skill including customer service. We make this an easy project for your team to edit and then I come out an implement it for you on site. If you want the greatest self-teaching training system for your business, please let me know and we will set a time to talk. Kathryn Dager, Profitivity Inc. 310-903-1905

Ned Wilson says:

Kathryn Dager did a wonderful job in setting us up with the training cards. Taking the time to compose the training cards with input from our staff helps us clarify in our own minds what is important to know to get the job done. These are on file year after year for the new employees to study and for returning employees to review. They can be added to or changed as circumstances warrant. We cover every topic from company culture and values to the minute details of the individual jobs that they may be responsible for. If you are interested further, feel free to call me at 740-763-2873 and we can discuss further.