Here are a few tips to keep in the back of your mind when you’re ready to hire new employees. Print this page out and keep it nearby. Although you may not be hiring right now, when the time does come, it will be immediately useful to have these tips close at hand.

1. Avoid Undocumented Workers – While many professional landscapers consider this subject a grey area, we do not. Hiring undocumented workers, who may be in the country illegally, puts your business at risk. It’s a liability you’re better off avoiding in the long run. If you’re concerned about staying competitively priced, use your American workforce as a selling point to customers.

The government currently offers an H-2A VISA program, which allows a “foreign national” entry into the U.S. for temporary agricultural work. This approach may make sense for your business, depending on your peak seasonal need. However, positions filled with this VISA must be temporary in nature and paid at least minimum wage.

2. The Interview – There are countless guides and books on the subject of conducting a successful interview. Here are a few things to consider when you’re face to face with a potential employee: Do they make good eye contact? Did they answer your questions directly and completely? Are they a good listener? Are they proactive, or reactive? When on the job, there are a number of unknown obstacles that can affect your crew. You want employees you can trust to proactively handle unknown issues.

3. Employee Referrals – Good employees typically know other good employees. When you’re considering hiring new personnel, ask your current crews if they know of friends or family who would be a good fit for the position.

4. Trial Periods – During the hiring process, inform potential applicants they must complete the training process before a position is officially offered. The training phase will give you a better understanding of how a potential employee takes direction, learns equipment, and most importantly, uses that equipment to satisfactory effect.

5. Use Ads – Placing an ad in the Help Wanted section of your local newspaper, or online through Craigslist or a professional listing service, is a great way to get a pool of applicants. This also allows you to write out the qualifications that are required for the position, so your applicant pool doesn’t include unqualified candidates.