Improve your hiring, retention with data


January 16, 2020



Pest management professionals (PMPs) are competing over a shrinking talent pool in a challenging labor market. It’s enough to elicit a few four-letter words, but allow me to offer a more constructive one: data. That’s the solution you’ve been looking for.

Using data to improve hiring and retention is easier than you may think. It basically comes down to a four-step process:

1. Clarify your needs.

What does it really take to succeed in the role you’re looking to fill? For instance, you probably know who your best service technicians are. But do you know exactly why? How do they approach risk? How do they make decisions? How do they work with others? It’s critical to answer these questions, creating a personality trait baseline, so you know what to target in future hires. Then, you can create a job description to find not simply the ideal service technician, but the ideal service technician for your business and culture.

2. Choose the right tests.

The way to gather the data you need is through employment testing — specifically, personality and integrity testing. A job candidate’s attitude, work ethic, reliability, customer service, and ability to get along with coworkers can be just as important as his or her pest control experience. Are they willing and able to learn new things? Do they exhibit traits that are conducive to field work and being in a customer-facing role? What about a history of conflict with former employers or coworkers? Quality personality and integrity tests can answer these questions and many more. But before testing applicants, assess top employees who currently work the job you want to fill. This way, you’ll see in greater detail what makes them tick, making it easier to fill out your personality trait baseline as recommended in step No. 1.

3. Focus on top candidates only.

You’ve used your baseline to create a well-crafted job description, and the right applicants are rolling in. Now it’s time to administer the test. The real work begins when you receive the results of their assessments.

After weeding out unqualified and unacceptably risky applicants, which can be done automatically, compare applicant test results to your established baseline. Knowing what you’re looking for speeds up the process significantly.

Near-matches quickly can be added to your shortlist of finalists. You may not see a perfect match, but for those worth a second look, you can use their test results to come up with targeted questions to ask in follow-up interviews.

4. Improve management to retain staff.

Now you’ve got your new hire. But let’s say that turnover among employees who’ve been on the payroll for less than two years is extremely high. How do you protect your investment? Again, the answer is data.

The data you collected during the hiring process will point to holes in skills or challenging personality traits — shyness, for example — that you can start addressing early during the onboarding process. Knowing how an employee deals with stress, confrontation, criticism, certain social situations and more can help you craft the best management strategy for them. That leads to engagement and retention.

We’re in the middle of a data-driven revolution across all industries. And pest management is no exception. PMPs who embrace and harness the multiple benefits of using data to improve their employee hiring and management will have the competitive advantage in the years to come.

CANTWELL is CEO of Hire Success. Learn more at or call 317-848-7980.


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