Keystone Skills for Wildlife Control
Finding good employees is an important but difficult task for business owners. Wildlife control operators (WCO) and Pest Control Operators (PCO) are no different. In order to grow in profitability, you have to have employees. But how do you find the right candidate(s) to hire?
Of course, you have to create a job description. A job description is absolutely necessary to help you determine what you need but also to help potential employees decide whether they have the skills necessary to fulfill the job. But if your job description is made properly it will be ineffective in helping you screen job applicants. Your job description must identify the absolute critical skills necessary for the job. Critical skills are keystone skills because they are essential to effective accomplishment of the task. After all some skills can be taught, but other skills are too difficult or require too much time to teach. I contend that some skills are so fundamental to a person’s character that you can’t teach it.
So What are the Critical or Keystone Skills?
I believe that the good WCOs must have the following skills:
1. Feel comfortable on ladders. No one is born with this trait but your candidate must not be afraid of heights. Workers afraid of heights will not be profitable for you unless you run a wildlife control business that handles turf animals only.
2. Able to be in confined spaces. Claustrophobia has no place in wildlife control. If your candidate can’t crawl into a tight attic or crawl space, then don’t hire him.
3. Ability to lift. Ladders are heavy. Candidates must have the strength to haul around a ladder that is long enough to gain access to second floor roofs (unless you live in an area where most houses are single floor). No worker should be required to lift a 40 foot ladder no matter how strong he is. It is just too dangerous and the lack of leverage can wrench even a strong back.
4. Emotionally able to kill animals. Wildlife control is not pretty. No matter what kind of service you provide, sooner or later your employees will kill animal. You have to know they can do this before you hire them.
5. Carpenter skills. Your technicians don’t have to be master carpenters (though it wouldn’t hurt), they do need to be able to use a ruler and basic tools (tin snips, portable drill, saw and other cutting tools, and hammer).
6. Ability to communicate effectively. Your candidate doesn’t need to have a silver tongue. But he must have clear communication skills. Reading and writing are a given.
Those are the essential skills. Everything else can be taught. So in your next help wanted ad, make sure you highlight these skills, or you may be interviewing candidates that will disappoint.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest book is The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at stephenvantassel at Hotmail dot com.
All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included.