Reflections From The Outhouse, A Greenfield Opportunity In A Unique Space

Posted on March 6, 2023 by Bailey Crumpton. Tagged: Resources for Candidates, Hiring, Colorado Companies, For Candidates, Resources for Entrepreneurs, Colorado Culture, Software Development + Engineering, For Clients

Late in the Spring of 2022, local startup ServiceCore was referred to BWB by a Denver-based VC because they were looking to grow their product team. Founded in 2017, ServiceCore has built a unique platform that is enhancing efficiency for an industry previously underserved by technology. Truly, they are the first company to bring a market-leading business management SaaS platform to the portable sanitation industry. Yes, you read that correctly, the portable sanitation industry.

Have you ever thought about who coordinates the setup and service of portable restrooms at every sporting event, concert, and outdoor festival you have ever been to? Hundreds of small businesses all over the US manage logistics for these mobile facilities, and ServiceCore’s product is shaping the productivity and effectiveness for lack of a better word, this essential industry.

By managing jobs, optimizing routes, tracking inventory, and streamlining accounting, their platform is making a huge impact for these companies, often saving employees hours of time each week. They have grown quickly since the platform’s launch, and their software is solving problems that no one has attempted to solve before, making them revolutionary in their space. We got the chance to sit down and connect with ServiceCore’s VP of Product, Jana McKay, about our partnership in growing her product team as ServiceCore takes on new challenges.

The Challenge

Starting out by supporting small businesses, ServiceCore grew quickly to support mid-market companies, and this rapid expansion created a greater demand for their product to accommodate different business needs and take on bigger challenges of the industry. At the time we started working with them, they had several openings for Product Managers they needed to find as soon as possible.

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The Need For Growth:

    • Their team needed to start taking on big data, machine learning, etc, on a bigger scale as they are at the forefront of modernizing this industry
    • The existing team tackled difficult problems with innovation and technical expertise daily, but needed more help building and developing new product features

Defining The Role:

    • Finding Product Managers who had experience with the full-stage product lifecycle
    • Honing in on candidates that were not just comfortable, but eager to develop new product features and own each project for ServiceCore’s current size and stage of company

McKay shared that one of the toughest parts of assessing candidates was figuring out their level of experience and ability to own the entire product lifecycle, she adds, “at ServiceCore, you are still in a small company, so you get to work on it all. You are doing the research and writing it, you are there for the engineering team when they develop and release it, and then you're doing the data analysis as well and asking, has this feature been a success or not? That's how much leeway you have here, but you need to decide, should I iterate on this feature?”

The Process

One of the first steps we take when in working with a new client is doing everything we can to understand how we can best share their story and get people excited about the opportunity. The goal is to become an extension of our client’s brand, translating what makes being a part of this company a great opportunity, and this was crucial in capturing the attention of talented Product Managers in the Denver area.

BWB Best Practices / Owning The Role:

    • Collaborate with the ServiceCore team to learn everything we can about the role, company, and their selling points
    • Incorporate what this person will being doing from day-to-day, what projects they may be working on and who with in our messaging
    • Ask hiring managers and stakeholders about key information in order to set realistic expectations for candidates on qualifications, the team, their culture, interview process, and benefits
    • Determine the best approach as a team on where to source, what qualifications are most important, and what interpersonal skills will set this person apart

image (51)-1As we began working the role, selling ServiceCore to candidates came with its own challenges. Finding individuals who were not afraid or turned-off by the industry, but rather view it as the opportunity it is was important to them. “It's about finding the right culture-add for a team and finding candidates who share that connection to the company’s product and vision,” CEO of BWBacon Group, Dave Bacon adds. We knew that the right candidates would not only understand the opportunity, but the cheeky nature of the industry and would appreciate these things, like how one of their values is “Give a Shit,” paired comically with everyone’s favorite poop emoji on their website.

“It is our job to show candidates how to look beyond what a company does on the surface because the first reaction can be, portable sanitation?!? But, when you enlighten people and illuminate them to see that ServiceCore is disrupting an industry that is ripe for technology, good people will see that connection and the opportunity for them to do just that, disrupt an industry and make an impact in improving businesses and lives.”

The Nitty- Gritty

When working with growing tech companies, periods of pause on searches can occur, allowing a team time to make internal adjustments or tweak job requirements to hone in on the ideal type of technical candidate they are searching for. After a brief recess on this search and fine-tuning the requirement, BWB continued speaking with qualified candidates who would be a great fit for ServiceCore’s team.

Trials & Tribulations of The PM Search:

    • ServiceCore paused the search early on, which lead to some in-play candidates going off the market before the search was re-energized
    • Both teams worked to analyze and re-shape the JD to accommodate shifting requirements, re-sourced new candidates
    • We built upon what information we already had, adding insights for our candidates on ServiceCore’s…
      • Team size, structure, and demographic makeup
      • Benefits, healthcare, perks
      • Interview process: We analyzed what was working and what was not, suggesting adjustments accordingly to the ServiceCore team
    • Discussed how to present this as the greenfield opportunity it is
    • Started asking candidates more pointed questions to gauge their interest in the product/industry

As portable sanitation is not a super glorious or ‘sexy’ industry, finding the right personalities to join the team required a shift in mentality. Confirming that had also been a tricky, hold-your-breath moment while new candidates reacted to the fact that they are building software for the liquid waste industry, McKay loved that one BWB candidate immediately asked, “do you all make poop jokes every single day?!”

“He saw it as an opportunity rather than an ‘oh my god, what are you building here’ moment,” McKay explains. After sharing a big laugh and confirming that they do, she emphasized that the ability to be light-hearted and creative stood out for them in candidates that made it past the first round of interviews.

“We’re working with people who are outside in the field every day, having to deal with people's waste, so we need our team to be able to communicate with them and understand what their needs are. So, that did change our interview process slightly because we began asking candidates about what they thought the potential challenges would be for this industry. If they had absolutely no clue and could not put themselves into our customers shoes, that would be really rough to teach...”

Lessons Learned:

    • The nature of writing and re-writing the job responsibilities is iterative, like the Agile approach to software development
    • How to ask candidates better qualifying questions, for example, on the type of industry they work in and more directly about their experience with full-cycle project management
    • Team chemistry, personality chemistry, being a culture-add, however said, there is an element of figuring out a candidate’s personality and willingness that cannot be written on a resume
    • Bringing in more of the ServiceCore team initially on our intake calls would have prevented role adjustments later in the process because the entire team could have shared their most important qualifications upfront

Wrapping It Up...

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When we asked McKay what her team found helpful when working with BWB, she pointed out that the team did a fantastic job in sending individual write ups associated with each candidate to highlight their top skills, what makes them a great fit for the role, where they are at in their career, and their interest in the team.

She also reinforced that having candidates whose backgrounds closely aligned with their requirements and nice-to-have’s right off the bat saved her team hours of sourcing and time spent qualifying candidates. “I really liked that all of the people who were suggested were fantastic Product Managers at various stages of their career from various locations,” she adds, “there was this trust in working with you and knowing that they were all great candidates coming down through the pipeline.”

The final and possibly most effective aspect of our process that helped the ServiceCore team hire Product Managers was our ability to understand how each candidate was feeling during the offer stage. “As a hiring manager, one of the worst things is making an offer that is not adequate,” she explains, “so knowing how the candidate feels informs us on how to approach them openly. We want to find that real person, get them in and have them ‘feel themselves’ here because only then do I feel like they can really be committed 100%.”

Our Search, By the Numbers:

    • 253 messages sent
    • 65 responses on LinkedIn
    • 56 interview stages
    • 2 placements of Product Managers

Often times in recruiting, great partnerships take a while to mature based on the readiness of the client, and ServiceCore was no exception. “We are building our pipeline not from the expectations that a client needs us now, but at some point, they probably will need us, so it is incumbent to adopt client's agenda as our own,” Bacon explains.

In this, what we have learned from this experience with ServiceCore is that there is something to be said about nurturing the relationship for when the time is right. Bacon adds, “many [of our clients] have strong networks, they know people in the industry, and they have their own internal TA teams, but at some point, some roles are harder than others and that’s where we come in.”

Looking Ahead For ServiceCore & BWBacon

So, what’s in store for ServiceCore? Since the Spring of 2022, they have expanded their team by hiring nearly 30 new employees, including ample growth in the sales and customer success departments as well as their technical teams. Additionally, they have almost doubled the existing product team.

In 2023, they are working on improving mid-market software needs and entering the enterprise market which requires more in-depth product features. In order to work with companies in the enterprise market we are developing new products and features that will enhance our customers' experience based on their growing needs which requires more research, planning and development.


Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

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