Get Proactive When It’s Time to Hire

How do you find new employees?
Get Proactive When It’s Time to Hire
Look for employees at the Pumper & Cleaner Expo.

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Fresh off a week of industry-related discussions and new product demos at the annual Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo, I’m gathering my thoughts about all the stories I heard and people I met at the show. And there were a lot of stories — everything from how to deal with increasing disposal costs to the surprise of pumping a septic tank full of condoms. 

I also had the opportunity to speak with many of you — and sit down with some of you for 3-minute interviews in the editors’ booth — about challenges in your pumping and cleaning businesses. I noticed a recurring theme: Difficulty finding reliable employees or a complete lack of available employees. When I asked why this was a problem, you told me the key reasons were a lack of motivated or qualified candidates and the location of your business in relation to a large population. Well, you can’t just pick up and move your company, so what’s the alternative? 

If you’re struggling to find that one outstanding employee from a pool of mediocre candidates, perhaps you should try another method. You could hire and mentor a student or young apprentice, someone who has no industry experience but is willing to work hard and dedicate himself to your business would create a long-term employee. 

And then there’s the shortage of employees. The septic pumping and drain cleaning industry is a small community of hard-working people, and it seems to be growing smaller as people retire and fewer young people pursue careers in these fields. What if you took a proactive approach? Speak at a high school career day or offer to do a school-to-work program. You could find someone to fill an immediate open position and you would help the industry in the long term by educating other potential candidates. 

While it’s great to rely on word-of-mouth referrals from family and friends or even customers, the results are not always reliable employees. So take an ad out in the local paper to find some new blood, post a message to your company’s Facebook page, or participate in a community event to get the word out that you’re hiring. And be sure to let the public know what you offer potential employees such as fringe benefits, paid vacation or year-end bonuses.

One do-it-all environmental solutions professional I met offered some great advice: Look for employees at the Pumper & Cleaner Expo. While many attendees have established businesses and employees, young technicians and industry veterans who attend the show are looking to move up in the industry. You just have to find them. Take advantage of the opportunity to have so many professionals in one location. You might find your next all-star technician. 

For those of you facing similar problems finding employees to man the office or pump a septic tank, what is the solution? Perhaps we need to work together as an industry to help each other out and pass along referrals. 

How do you hunt down new crew members, technicians and office personnel? Does word-of-mouth advertising cut it or do you need to take a more proactive approach with social media or newspaper ads?


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