Good Help Is Hard To Find

During my tenure as a pest control manager, I had to hire employees. This is a tedious process at best. Place the ad. Shuffle through resumes. Interview candidates. Check references. Set a start date for paperwork. I am tired just writing about it. But wait…..


‘Twas the Friday before Christmas……I had seven interviews scheduled. Obviously I wasn’t getting anything else done that day. In this mix were three people from the medical field, a pizza delivery driver, a construction worker, a college student, and an unemployed professional.

This might sound like a great variety of candidates from which to choose a pest control technician. You would be mostly correct, but the hilarity of the day’s interviews is what makes this a great story.


My first candidate was a 30ish woman who had been working in a nursing home. When she came to the interview, she said that she had just finished working 3rd shift, and she was ready to give that up. After a series of random questions, I asked, “Why do you want to work in pest control?” The answer was shocking, but honest. “I’m tired of wiping asses.”


The next was the pizza driver. Young girl, 20’s who wanted to better herself. She liked the idea of NOT driving her own vehicle to do the work. I had to listen to her text message “ah ooga” go off 3 or 4 times before the interview was done. (I’m still thinking about the bluntness of the 1st interview)

Third and fourth were men with medical backgrounds. One of them was just wanting another type of certification “under his belt”. Neither really had the ambition I was looking for. Having the gumption to work overtime didn’t appeal to either.

Interview Number 5. The Construction Worker. When asked to sign the visitor log, he wrote the reason he was there – window installation. SMH! I found out all about this divorcée’s drama. AND at one point during the interview, he asked me on a date. I am still stunned.

The college student was a No-Show. The unemployed professional came in and stated, “I am only here to get a check on my job search.”


All of that day, I kept thinking about how the first interview was the worst one of the day. I barely got any comments when I asked my series of questions. I didn’t get asked any questions in return. That final answer…. still a WOW!

There was NO WAY I was going to hire a candidate who wanted to date me. Can you scream !!HR NIGHTMARE!!

After a couple of weeks to sort out the soft skills needed to handle a pest control route, I asked Candidate #1 to be on my team. I wasn’t thrilled about training someone, but when no licensed applicants are in the mix, you start from scratch. At least I didn’t have to break any bad habits.


To Amanda,

When you read this, I hope you know that I chose you to be part of my team, because I knew you could adapt to the ever changing situations that happen during a daily pest control route. I am happy that you trust me to be your cheerleader, your mentor, a sounding board, a trainer, and a friend. I am in awe at how far you’ve progressed in two short years. Wishing you the best always.

Published by Melisa Arnold, A.C.E.

My career in pest management began while working in a flour mill as the “in-house” technician in 2008. I am certified in multiple states. I began working full time as a fumigation-pest control tech in 2010. I achieved my Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) in 2018. I have a Master Tech certification from Kansas State University/Kansas Pest Control Association. I hold a Bat Management certification from NWCOA. Every day, I realize how much I DON’T KNOW. My goal for this blog is to share my every day experiences from the field and to make us all think outside the box for solutions to make pest control make sense.

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