Nicholas Vega

Meet Nicholas Vega, Human Resources & Corporate Recruiter at Athens Services

Our Hiring Hero Series showcases talent acquisition pros across the globe who are dedicated to connecting people with their next great opportunity.

Nicholas Vega oversees all staffing for Athens Services, a family-owned and operated waste collection and materials recycling company that serves over 250,000 customers in 50+ cities. His role spans from assisting the HR team with difficult-to-fill positions to monitoring KPI metrics—from time to hire to annual monthly turnover and more.

Recently, we had a conversation with Nicholas to find out his strategies and tips for successful recruiting.

“I’m proud of the fact that our services are on the cutting edge of waste collection and materials recycling technology. We need tech-savvy talent that can help us keep that edge.”

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a Hiring Hero?

“Well, the reason I got into HR is because I wanted to help people who are looking for a career opportunity. To put them in the right position so they can gain a career they’re passionate about — that’s what I think makes a hiring hero.”

What got you excited about recruiting for Athens Services?

“It’s a really future-focused, forward-thinking company. We think 20, 30, even 40 years from now. We’re also the first company to have a material recovery center in Southern California. No other company has done that. Additionally, all of Athens’ recruiters actually learn the technical aspects of each role so we can find the right talent for it.”

“Being transparent about a position is the only way to go. And I can’t effectively do that without learning the basics of what each position entails. So I see what it’s like to be in a particular role’s shoes for the day. Our HR team does the same. They observe and learn what our employees do.”

What makes Athens Services an attractive place for candidates to work?

“For starters, our industry is a higher-paid one with competitive benefits. It’s also a really stable industry. Even if there’s a recession or a pandemic, we’re still operating. And then, there’s the fact that we’re providing an overall impact to the community and the environment we live in. Lastly, it’s family-owned, but its culture is also family-oriented. You’re not just a number; you are someone to this company.”

Wow. That’s great! So, when it comes to recruiting, what types of roles do you generally hire for at Athens Services?

“We’re usually challenged with finding people for technical skill positions—like diesel technicians, heavy equipment technicians, plant technicians, A/B and C truck drivers, and general labor roles. Those are in super high-demand. But there are not enough folks out there who are actively pursuing these types of careers.”

What have been some of your biggest hiring challenges?

“Typically, we have 200–400 roles to fill per year, based on customer need. Most of these roles require both technical skills and operational skills/experience—which is difficult to find. We needed to put our jobs in front of a lot of people to increase our chances of finding the right people. But the other job sites we were using just didn’t reach enough people. So it was taking a long time to fill these roles.”

So, how did you overcome these challenges?

“We’ve switched to more powerful, time-saving sourcing tools, like ZipRecruiter, that have the technology and reach we need to fill such a high volume of in-demand positions.”

Lastly, how do you set up your candidates for success?

“For those coming on board, we provide them with a 90-day training plan in order to be successful. We give them all the tools and knowledge they need to become familiar with our industry—and their particular role.”

“I’m passionate about providing the people I hire with an opportunity to grow. And when I bring them on, I feel so proud seeing them succeed. I also get excited when they apply for other jobs within the company—and I’ve watched them get promoted and make an impact.”

Nicholas’s Tips for the Future of Recruiting

“I recommend staying on top of technology trends in recruiting. As time goes on, automation will be more of a factor—in two ways:

  1. As applicant tracking systems continue to advance and job boards become smarter, technology will help the two communicate to make the whole process more streamlined. So job boards will generate candidate profiles and feed them into the ATS—and the ATS will know whether or not these candidates are a great match for the role.

  2. Automation also helps with the time it takes candidates to fill out an application, and it helps eliminate drop-off. That’s why there’s 1-click-apply on sites like ZipRecruiter. So, I think they’ll try to do more things with that in the future.”

Athens Services

Join the Athens team! As a company on the cutting edge of technology and the waste industry, Athens Services provides a competitive salary package to its employees and thrives on promoting within.

Nicholas is connecting people with great opportunities at Athens Services every day. Check out some of the roles his team is hiring for now.

Job Openings

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