Recruiting 101

When it comes to recruiting potential employees to the pest management industry, Jenni Shook takes a targeted approach. “Unemployment rates are the lowest since 2008 and people have a choice in employers,” said Shook, vice president of human resources for McCloud Services and a frequent presenter on human resources issues at NPMA events. “So they’re looking for the cultures of the company and the benefits that they will have.”

She is quick to point out other benefits of working for McCloud, such as participation in community outreach events like a breast cancer walk or holiday food drive. “They want to know what kind of company they’ll be joining and we have to make sure that’s coming across for candidates.”

Recruiting is a must for any pest management company. But it is a specialized skill, Shook says. “If you have an HR generalist who is expected to handle all the legal compliance, employee relations, benefit enrollments, new hire orientation, field workers’ compensation issues, schedule vehicle repairs and all the other things that come up in HR, recruiting can be just one more thing on their to-do list. There are people who love recruiting and those who want nothing to do with it. So, make sure whoever is doing your recruiting enjoys it and makes it a priority.”

Shook emphasizes the need for pest management business owners and CEOs to bring talent management to the table by adding it to the business plan and creating metrics around it. Commitment from the top emphasizes the importance of securing talent for the company.

A changing market

The nature of recruiting is changing, too. In today’s tight labor market, “passive recruiting” is a must, Shook said. “You have to go after individuals, not just wait for them to come to you.” And that doesn’t mean continuing the old way of doing things, according to Sandy Seay, president of Seay Management Consultants Inc., which has been retained by NPMA to answer employment-related questions and to work with companies on human resources projects. “The biggest hurdle to overcome is the transition from recruiting newspaper ads to recruiting digitally,” Seay said. “The digital revolution is not complete yet. Younger folks have been raised in a digital age, so being digital to them is like breathing. But there are still a substantial number of people who are still trying to make that transition.”

These days, reaching both audiences may mean multiple approaches. Websites like and and job aggregators like can broaden the reach, Seay said. But they also can be “unwieldy,” he said.

Shook suggests companies should recruit in multiple places. “Don’t put all your dollars in one place.”

By Sandy Smith

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