17 Garbage Collector Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a garbage collector, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Garbage collectors play a vital role in keeping our communities clean and safe. They collect trash and recyclables from homes and businesses and transport them to disposal facilities.

If you’re interested in becoming a garbage collector, you may need to go through a job interview. Prepare for your interview by learning how to answer common garbage collector interview questions.

Employers look for garbage collectors who are physically fit, have a good work ethic, and are able to work independently. They also want to know that you have a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record. During your interview, you’ll have a chance to show that you have these qualities.

Are you comfortable working with heavy machinery?

Garbage collection is a physically demanding job. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re comfortable with the physical demands of the job and that you have experience working with heavy machinery. If you don’t have any experience, explain what kind of heavy machinery you’ve worked with in the past.

Example: “I am very comfortable working with heavy machinery. In my last position as a sanitation worker, I used large trucks to haul trash bins from homes and businesses. The truck was equipped with hydraulic arms that made it easy for me to lift and dump the trash into the back of the truck. I also had a partner who helped me when lifting heavier items.”

What are some of the most important skills for a garbage collector?

Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills necessary for the job. They want someone who is physically fit, organized and able to work independently. When answering this question, think about what skills helped you succeed in previous roles. Consider including some of those skills along with any other important garbage collector skills that aren’t as common.

Example: “The most important skill for a garbage collector is physical fitness. You need to be able to lift heavy objects and walk long distances every day. Another important skill is organization because you are sorting through trash all day. I also find it helpful to be detail-oriented because you can miss things if you’re not paying attention. Finally, communication is an important skill because you are often working alone.”

How do you stay safe while on the job?

Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to stay safe while on the job. They want to see that you have experience with safety procedures and are willing to follow them. When answering, explain what steps you take to ensure your own safety as well as the safety of others around you.

Example: “I always wear my reflective vest when I’m out collecting trash. This helps me be more visible to drivers so they can avoid hitting me. I also keep a whistle on hand in case I need to get someone’s attention or call for help. Finally, I always drive at safe speeds and obey all traffic laws.”

What is your experience with operating heavy machinery?

Garbage collection is a physically demanding job that requires you to operate heavy machinery. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the experience operating machinery and are comfortable doing so. In your answer, share what kind of machinery you’ve operated in the past and how much experience you have with it. If you don’t have any experience operating machinery, explain why you’re interested in learning.

Example: “I’ve had plenty of experience operating heavy machinery. I worked as a landscaper for five years, where I used tractors and other equipment to maintain clients’ lawns. I also worked at a construction site for two summers, where I learned how to operate cranes and forklifts.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer or client.

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your customer service skills. They want to know how you would handle a challenging situation with a client or customer and whether you have the ability to diffuse conflict. In your answer, try to highlight your problem-solving skills and interpersonal skills.

Example: “In my previous role as a garbage collector, I had many customers who were unhappy with our services. One day, I was collecting trash from an apartment complex when one of the residents came out and started yelling at me for being late. I calmly explained that we weren’t late but that he hadn’t put his trash can by the curb yet. He apologized and said he forgot because he was in a rush. From then on, he always made sure to put his trash can by the curb before leaving for work.”

If you found an item of value in the garbage, what would be your course of action?

This question is a test of your honesty and integrity. Employers ask this question to make sure you are honest, trustworthy and have good character. In your answer, be truthful about what you would do in that situation.

Example: “If I found an item of value in the garbage, I would immediately report it to my supervisor. Then, I would try to find out who put the item in the trash. If they were still at work, I would return the item to them. If they weren’t at work, I would hold onto the item until they returned to work. At that point, I would give the item back to them.”

What would you do if you noticed another garbage collector was not following safety protocols?

Employers ask this question to make sure you are a team player and that you care about the safety of your coworkers. In your answer, try to emphasize how important it is to follow safety protocols and how you would help your coworker improve their behavior.

Example: “I would first talk to my coworker privately to see if there was an explanation for why they were not following protocol. If I still felt like they needed improvement, I would speak with our supervisor so they could provide additional training or guidance. I believe it’s important to have open communication between coworkers, especially when it comes to safety.”

How well do you follow directions?

Garbage collectors often work in teams, so it’s important that you can follow the directions of your supervisor. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re able to collaborate with others and take orders from a superior. In your answer, explain how you’ve worked well as part of a team before. Explain that you understand the importance of following instructions.

Example: “I have always been someone who follows directions very well. I am used to working in groups where everyone has their own responsibilities. If my supervisor tells me to do something, I will do it without questioning them. I know that they are there to help us succeed, so I’m happy to listen to what they have to say.”

Do you have experience operating a truck’s hydraulic lift?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you have the physical strength and stamina to operate a garbage truck. If you don’t have experience operating a hydraulic lift, explain what other types of equipment you are familiar with.

Example: “I do not have experience operating a garbage truck’s hydraulic lift, but I am very comfortable driving large vehicles. In my last position as a sanitation worker, I operated a front-end loader, which was similar to a garbage truck in terms of size and weight. I also worked on a farm where we used tractors to move heavy loads of hay and grain. These experiences have prepared me for operating a garbage truck.”

When is it appropriate to take a break while on the job?

Employers ask this question to make sure you know when it’s safe and appropriate to take a break. They want to ensure that you’re not going to be taking breaks at inopportune times, which could put yourself or others in danger. In your answer, explain what factors would lead you to take a break while on the job.

Example: “I think it’s important to take regular breaks throughout my shift so I can stay alert and focused. If I’m feeling tired or overwhelmed, I’ll take a five-minute break to collect myself. I also like to take a longer lunch break around noon to recharge and refuel for the rest of my workday.”

We want to ensure our customers have quick and easy access to our garbage collection services. How would you approach a resident or business owner about setting up a new collection day?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you interact with customers and clients. Showcase your customer service skills by providing an example of a time when you helped someone set up their garbage collection day or another similar interaction.

Example: “I recently had to change my own garbage collection day, so I know it can be frustrating if you’re not prepared for it. When I was moving apartments, I called the city’s sanitation department to ask about changing my collection day. The representative on the phone was very helpful and walked me through the process step-by-step. She even offered to send me a reminder email before my new collection day started.”

Describe your process for sorting garbage at the landfill.

The interviewer may ask you this question to gauge your knowledge of the landfill process and how it relates to sorting garbage. This is a great opportunity for you to show that you understand the importance of sorting waste properly, as improper sorting can lead to environmental issues. In your answer, try to explain the steps involved in sorting at the landfill and why they’re important.

Example: “At my last job, I sorted trash into three categories—recyclables, non-recyclables and hazardous materials. The first two categories were separated by color, while hazardous materials were kept separate from other trash. Sorting by color was an easy way to ensure that all recyclable items went into the correct bins, while keeping hazardous materials away from other trash helped prevent any potential accidents.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. When answering, it’s important to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other candidates. You may also want to mention something that is relevant to the job description.

Example: “I have five years of experience as a garbage collector, but I am still in my twenties. This means I have a lot of room for growth and development in this role. In fact, I plan on taking an online course next month to earn my certification in recycling. I think this will make me stand out from other candidates because it shows I’m committed to improving myself.”

Which industries have you worked in previously?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your experience and how it relates to the garbage collector position. When answering, list industries you’ve worked in before and explain what skills you gained from each one that are relevant to this role.

Example: “I have worked as a garbage collector for five years now, but I also worked as a server at a restaurant for three years. In both of these roles, I learned how to work with people and manage my time effectively. As a garbage collector, I am responsible for driving around town and collecting trash while interacting with residents. At the restaurant, I was responsible for taking orders, bringing food to tables and cleaning up after customers.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of customer service?

Garbage collectors often interact with the public, so employers ask this question to make sure you know how to treat customers well. A garbage collector’s job is to provide a service that helps people get rid of their trash, but it can also be an opportunity to build positive relationships with members of the community.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of customer service is listening to what the customer needs and making sure they feel heard. I try to always listen carefully when someone tells me something, even if it seems like a small detail. For example, last week a resident told me she was having trouble getting her recycling bin out of the garage because there were boxes in front of it. I moved those boxes for her right away so she didn’t have to wait until later.”

How often have you taken part in the collection and disposal of hazardous materials?

Garbage collectors may occasionally encounter hazardous materials, such as medical waste and toxic chemicals. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience working with these types of materials. If you haven’t worked with hazardous materials before, consider mentioning that you’re willing to learn how to do so.

Example: “In my previous position, I collected and disposed of hazardous materials on a regular basis. For example, we had to handle medical waste at least once per week. We also encountered other hazardous materials like broken glass and used needles. I’m comfortable handling hazardous materials because I’ve done it for several years.”

There is a bug infestation in the trash you’re collecting. How do you handle it?

This question is a great way to test your problem-solving skills. It also shows the interviewer how you handle unexpected situations in the field. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to solve this issue and highlight your ability to think on your feet.

Example: “I would first try to identify the type of bug it was. If I could tell that it wasn’t harmful, I would leave it alone. However, if it looked like it might be dangerous, I would call my supervisor for advice. If they told me to remove it, I would do so carefully with gloves on. Then, I would place it in another trash bag and continue collecting the rest of the trash.”


17 Chief Nurse Executive Interview Questions and Answers

Back to Interview

17 Investment Specialist Interview Questions and Answers