Recruiting, Talent

How to Attract Candidates for Jobs Not Many are Willing to Do

If you’re a recruiter or hiring manager for an industry that’s not all that glamorous, such as waste sanitation, how do you attract candidates to your company? What special perks do you offer to get people in the door?

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For one employer in Rapid City, South Dakota, it has uncovered the key to attracting talent: a hefty sign-on bonus. According to the Rapid City Journal, Keiffer Sanitation provides steady pay and a secure job that isn’t at the mercy of the economy. If Wall Street collapses, we’ll all still need someone to come pick up our trash and clean our sewers.
To drive this point further, the Rapid City Journal interviewed workers at Keiffer Sanitation. Keiffer’s District Manager, Casey Bulyca, told Rapid City, “Our guys do a good job, and garbage is never going away—it’s incredible [sic] consistent … [t]here is nothing glorious about what we do, but it’s a good job with a fair wage and something we are proud of.” Bulyca adds, “Everybody makes jokes about garbage, but imagine if every garbage man quit picking up garbage tomorrow … [i]n a week or two it would be a health crisis.”
Troy Quicke—a portable toilet pumper at Keiffer—has a great sense of humor about his job, saying, “I drive a turd hearse.” Quicke says he pumps about 50 stand-alone portable toilets, on average, a day and loves it. However, he does add that the $5,000 sign-on bonus kind of sealed the deal for him.
“I never thought it was something I would do, but it’s a good job,” Quicke told Rapid City. “The company takes care of its employees, it’s just a good place to work and the management is fantastic. They buy us drinks and lunch, and they are concerned for our safety. With exception of the Sturgis rally, it’s usually a Monday through Friday job with good benefits and good pay.” The Sturgis rally is an annual motorcycle rally that draws roughly 500,000 riders over a 10-day period.
You’re probably wondering how these workers can tolerate the smell. Quicke and Bulyca say it’s not for everyone; however, “[w]hen you first turn on the pump it stinks pretty bad, but you get used to it.” Quicke says that not having a weak stomach probably helps. The pay probably helps, too, as South Dakota’s minimum wage is $8.65 per hour, but workers at Keiffer Sanitation make on average $17 to $21 per hour.
From a personal perspective, my cousin is a plumber, and he absolutely loves his job! He says there is never a dull moment, and you see the most random things shoved in people’s pipes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the sanitation industry has seen a steady increase in employment over the last decade. If all sanitation employers are as caring as Keiffer is, there’s no question as to how the industry is attracting and retaining its workers.