The Unicorn

This month I’ve decided to address what is likely the most concerning issue in our industry – finding quality employees. To further define quality employee, what I really mean is finding someone who will actually show up for an interview, can pass a background screening, and is eligible to be insured by our commercial auto insurance carrier. These days, this person is commonly known as – “The Unicorn”.

In a perfect world we should all be hiring, evaluating, rewarding, disciplining, and firing according to our company core values. In reality, most are likely hiring out of desperation and hoping for the best – we’ve all been there. The concept of hire slow, fire fast is sound, but its practice left us quite some time ago when the work force decided it no longer really wanted to work.

Before I go further, I have to share my latest interview experience with you. I know we’ve all had funny, strange, even bizarre interview experiences, but this particular individual is forever burned in my memory. To tee this one up, I’ll share the introductory sentence in the resume he provided – 

“Graciously appreciate any company willing to respect my ambitions and intellectual distinctive conceptional grammar and interpretation to help work amongst the best of me, my company and the team who I will be incongruity with.”

So you have to call this dude right? Of course you do! Personally, I couldn’t wait, if for no other reason than the opportunity to exchange some intellectual distinctive conceptional grammar, but he just might be a Unicorn! I quickly dialed his number – hoping he would answer and it didn’t go straight to voice mail. On the second ring – he didn’t disappoint:

Candidate (Derick): Yo.

Me: Good afternoon, is this Derick?

Derick: Yep – whose this?

Me: This is Scott Walden from Team VetCor. I’m calling in reference to the interest you showed in a technician position with our company. Derick, are you currently employed, or unemployed and looking for immediate work?

Derick: S^*t yea I’m lookin for work, you feel me?

Me: (uncomfortable pause, eye twitching as the former Sergeant Major in me just reared his head) Uh, yes Derick, I feel you. Derick, I also feel if you are so willing to speak to a potential employer like that, I can’t imagine how you would speak to our clients. For that reason, I’m out. (This was a truncated version of my response as I couldn’t keep the Sergeant Major in me in check).

To my dismay, Derick did not remain on the line, and cheated me out of any intellectual distinctive conceptional grammar. I’m eternally disappointed. Funny – no doubt. Sad – definitely. 

As you search for your unicorn, consider this – don’t hire based on experience, hire based on character. You can teach inexperienced technicians the industry standard of care and your company’s procedures. You can’t teach someone to be respectful, empathetic, or honest. All the experience in the world won’t ensure Mrs. Johnson’s gold necklace, which she left in her affected master bedroom, is still going to be there when your technicians leave her home. That is infinitely more important than knowing how to calculate initial dehumidification requirements.

Ask values-based scenario driven questions during your interviews to weed out those who may not share in your company’s values – and no matter how desperate – don’t compromise – don’t hire the Derick’s. As for other unique aspects of The Unicorn (showing up, background, screening, etc.), I’m as lost as the rest of you. Patience is key – they’re out there. We just have to find each other.

Until next month – 

Nasty 7 out.

Scott Walden

Scott WaldenScott Walden is the Chief Operating Officer for VetCor, LLC; a veteran manned and managed insurance services company specializing in mitigation of water loss damage.

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