Hire hard so the managing’s easy

By |  November 27, 2017

Photo: Ray Johnson

During your recruiting process, consider the following:

  • How do you find new employees?
  • What qualities, requirements and talents are you looking for in your next hire?
  • With the benefit of hindsight, why did you hire the wrong person in the past?
  • Do you look at the assessments of great employees you’ve hired in the past, to help give you a road map of hiring other great employees in the future?

We have used many different sources to find employees, from placing a simple sign in front of our office, to going online to use Craigslist, Monster, Facebook and Indeed. Each has worked for us in the past, but right now, Indeed is working for us the best. I’ve also been known to keep an eye out for great employees from, say, the local big box store or any other place that employs a noteworthy person that I would love to have working for me.

I try to not hire from our industry. That’s not to say I haven’t in the past, but we have found that when training a new employee to do service “The Johnson Way,” industry newbies don’t carry the bad habits of someone else’s former pest management employee. Think about it: They are no longer working for their former employer for a reason.

Along that same train of thought, if someone has had 13 jobs in the past six years, he or she is not a candidate for us. We have had much better success in hiring “Steady Eddies” who lasted a long while at their former jobs.

The rule of thirds

A good rule of thumb is to break a candidate’s evaluation process into thirds:

  • In-person interview is one-third.
  • Job assessment tool is one-third.
  • Background check is one third.

I can’t stress enough how important each of these is.

We typically perform about three interviews to assess our candidate and see whether he or she shows up on time, and has good eye contact and personal hygiene habits. We also judge social interaction. The more time you invest now with your candidate could be well worth it. Use the interview to validate the information in the assessment, and not fall in love with the candidate (sometimes, this is the hard part). Hire for talent and skills. Great customer service skills are the keys to the future success of your business.

Bonus tip: ‘I’ve got this cousin…’

For far too many times to count, I’ve had to have that awkward conversation with a friend, a fellow church member or even a relative who knows someone who is in need of a job. Unfortunately, sometimes the need outweighs the candidate’s actual skill set for the position, or even for his or her enthusiasm for it if hired.

I have since learned how to deflect the situation: I tell them I don’t do the hiring; my operations manager is completely in charge of that task. This takes me out of the sometimes-risky situation of being too close to a candidate. After all, when it comes to recruiting and hiring, “you don’t know a person until after the first date.” Be careful whom you’re asking out.

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1 Comment on "Hire hard so the managing’s easy"

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  1. Christian Allen Borre says:

    You could have as many people from outside the industry who for whatever reason, decide this isn’t for them and quit 6 months in. It isn’t always a negative to hire someone from another company. Dare I say, you may actually learn something and a experienced person is invaluable. I’ve heard this argument before regarding “bad habits.” Other industries look at experienced people as a positive, and in fact require experience, but for some reason the pest control industry has shifted in recent years to hiring people outside of the industry commonplace, and it absolutely sickens me.