The jan/san industry is not getting any younger. Distributors historically have struggled to recruit young professionals and recent graduates to sell toilet tissue, vacuums and other “unglamorous” products. With Baby Boomers retiring in droves, distributors need to find replacements for these vacancies. But more than simply filling a need, distributors really should be cultivating the future.

Sanitary Maintenance asked its advisory board members how they’ve been reaching out to the next crop of employees. Not every company featured has had success attracting the new generation, but they’ve all learned some lessons along the way.

Here’s what they had to say:

Question: What are the most effective job postings for young workers? How did you recruit your young professionals?

We’ve been experimenting with an agency for the first time this year. We had three here at one time from an agency. We also recruited one from a customer.
— Bill Nourse, President, Brookmeade Hardware and Supply, Nashville, Tenn.

College recruiting.
— Hank Josephs, President, Spruce Industries, Rahway, N.J.

The younger generation is geared toward career websites, job postings and Facebook. Anyplace that they can put out one resume or one plea for a needed job and get mass response.
— Eric Cadell, V.P. of Operations, Dutch Hollow Janitorial Supplies, Belleville, Ill.

Our newest recruit (age 24) says, ‘The most attractive way for companies to recruit is through career/job fairs, LinkedIn, and online groups at local universities.’

We also recruit through friendships and internships with a local university.
— Paul “Dutch” Owens, President, Gem Supply, Orlando, Fla.

I would say online postings such as, Monster, CareerBuilder, Craigslist. One of the most important ways to obtain new employees is by reaching out to existing professional contacts — such as clients, professional groups, friends and family.

We also use an online recruiting service to look for new employees. A couple of our employees found us through word of mouth about our company and applied for positions with us.
— Shelley A. Riley, President, MaintenanceMart Janitor Supply, Phoenix and similar sites are most effective. We used Internet posting ads to recruit our young professionals.
— Chris Nolan, President, H.T. Berry Co., Canton, Mass.

Marketing because actually all positions are about marketing our products, services and solutions. We recruited through word of mouth and colleges.
— George Abiaad, President, Royal Corp., Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

When we post on and our own job board at we use many adjectives to catch the eye of those searching for employment. We are also sure to mention sustainability in our recruiting materials and longevity as a company. Being a company with history does seem to appeal to any age. 

We recruited primarily through, and referrals from employees. We have also utilized college job fairs which helps with brand recognition.
— Charles Wax, President, Waxie Sanitary Supply, San Diego

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