Top qualities to look for in a new hire


February 16, 2022

Photo: © Keating

Photo: © Keating

We asked Pest Management Professional’s columnists and editorial advisory board members to share the top qualities they look for when they look for a new hire. Here are some of the experts’ responses from our November 2021 print edition.

Please take a minute to answer our latest one-question poll on this topic and let us know how you promote disinfecting and sanitizing services: Reader poll: Qualities in a new hire.

PMP’s Editorial Advisory Board and Regular Contributors

Dan Baldwin

Dan Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Dan Baldwin: “Does the candidate appear to be comfortable with casual conversation? You can tell way more about people and their ability to perform just by making small talk. Anybody can be prepared for the standard business questions you ask, but can they hold a conversation? Do they get uncomfortable if there doesn’t seem to be any particular direction in the conversation?”

Greg Baumann: “Enthusiasm, integrity and commitment to customer service.”

Jerry Schappert, ACE: “Eagerness: If a job candidate seems mostly focused in the interview about how many vacation and sick days there are, I pass. Curiosity: Unfortunately, you don’t always see this until the candidate is hired. But show me a curious person, and I’ll show you the potential for a good tech. Team-oriented: I look for someone who wants to be part of a team and is not self-oriented.”

Pete Schopen: “Personality is key. We are looking for gregarious people who have good phone skills. We also want people who can think quickly on their feet; we call that being nimble on the job. Operational integrity also is important; we want workers who will make the right decisions at the right moment. A heartbeat and a car also are important.”

Michael Broder

Michael Broder, BHB Pest Elimination

Dr. Hamilton Allen: “Two qualities most organizations look for are good communication skills to convey service expectations, and willingness to work on a team. Third, and most important, is someone who has a servant heart. We’re in a service business, and people who can empathize with others using an unbiased lens can have an immediate impact in the field.”

Michael Broder: “Personality: You have to like the applicant. If you don’t like them, there’s a very good chance your customers won’t, either. Stability: While a long work history is never a guarantee the applicant will stay long-term, it certainly is a plus, even with younger applicants. Those showing they stayed on the same team or in clubs over multiple years shows their ability to stick with things they like. Inquisitiveness. The answers for successful pest elimination are not always obvious and right in your face. We need applicants who are willing to dig deep to find those difficult answers.”

Foster Brusca: “There are a lot of things to look at when interviewing a potential employee. Would they fit into the company culture? Are they enthusiastic and passionate? Do they have long-term potential?”

Doug Foster: “I look for job candidates who have good listening skills, are comfortable around people, and are quick learners. I also look at their job history and attitude, and I seldom hire someone with prior pest control experience.”

Paul Hardy: “Past work experience, especially rural work experience like agriculture; basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic; and a history of being subservient.”

Dr. Faith Oi

Dr. Faith Oi

Dr. Faith Oi: “Honesty, the ability to solve problems through innovation and curiosity, and attention to detail.”

Kurt Scherzinger: “We look for our company’s three core values: Do they have a service heart? Are they success-driven? Do they value reputation?”

Desiree Straubinger: “Personality, attitude and experience. The first two are the most important, but all three would fit any position in our industry and others. Personality is who you are. This is how a new hire will treat their peers, customers and leaders. Attitude is how you are. This shows whether you will be interested in learning new things, working on projects, open to new ideas, etc. Experience is what you are. It doesn’t have to be in pest control, but route-based business experience is a plus if job candidates don’t have industry experience.”

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