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How to Become a Better Driver Recruiter

The life of a recruiter is a tough one in any industry. In the trucking business, it’s even harder. Drivers are scarce. The jobs needing to be filled are tough. And the old ways of recruiting just don’t seem to be working well anymore. Becoming a better truck driver recruiter is possible! If you’re a recruiter that’s overwhelmed at work, and you don’t feel like what you’re doing is working well, start here. Take a look at the following tips and begin looking for ways to improve what’s not working well in your current driver recruiting process.

Know the Answers

When speaking with driver candidates, be sure you’re an expert on your company and the particulars of the job. Know what the day-to-day job will be like. Give honest answers. Don’t sugar coat things if you know that your company might not have the world’s best benefits. Or if the pay might not be at the top of the scale. You can be the best advocate about what your company does offer, and any advantages you can bring to your drivers. As a driver recruiter, you can sell the intangibles that make your drivers stay with you. Always be truthful, and you’ll find that drivers who choose your company, will stay longer when you’re investing in the relationship right from the first meeting.

Have A Plan

Plan the work, work the plan applies here. You know your hiring needs, and the time it takes from start to finish to bring on a new truck driver. That’s the basics for putting together your planning calendar. And your process to execute that plan.

With any plan, preparation and knowing how all the details fit together is a must. But also knowing how and where your plan can be modified if needed is crucial. Cutting corners usually doesn’t work, but becoming proficient in executing plans and process, can help you save time.

If you’re just getting started, map out all of the steps from start to finish. Then lay those steps out, including all dependencies and other teams that need to help with the process. When you need to make changes to the plan, look for places to automate or eliminate manual processes to save time. Or seek help getting the right candidates to you, then you can focus on landing them. Once you’ve done all of this, be sure to keep track of your results, and then measure your success.

Leverage Helpful Tools

Use tools and technology to save time, and eliminate manual processes that are time-consuming. Make investments in partners who are devoted to making the life of a driver recruiter easier. Drive My Way is one such company. We are a next-generation recruiting marketplace that matches truck drivers with jobs based on their qualifications and personal preferences. We’re making truck driver recruiting personal again by creating meaningful connections for employers to turn into lasting relationships. Employers partner with Drive My Way to start recruiting for retention. We can help you become better recruiters, and help you find candidates that fit well, and stay with you.

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Start Recruiting for Retention

Drive My Way matches drivers with companies based on professional qualifications and lifestyle choices.

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truck driver shortage

There’s nothing that keeps trucking recruiters up at night like the ongoing truck driver shortage. Without a doubt, it’s the biggest factor influencing the transportation industry. Truck drivers and carriers alike know that it is difficult to hire and recruit top drivers for retention when there is tremendous competition for a small pool of drivers. Overcoming the truck driver shortage requires understanding the forces causing them. Here are 4 trends impacting the driver shortage and solutions on how carriers can overcome them.

Trend 1: Not attracting younger workers

As a whole, the trucking industry is currently failing to attract younger workers. Most current truck drivers are middle-aged and have worked in trucking or other industries for many years. In past generations there were more young truck drivers, but those trends have changed. In addition, the industry must comply with the federal rule which requires commercial vehicle drivers to be at least 21 years old. The regulations aren’t entirely to blame for the truck driver shortage. The labor force participation rate for ages 16 to 24 is trending downward. This means there is increased competition for a smaller pool of young drivers today than ever before.

Solution:

If the trucking industry wants to tap into a larger pool of drivers, it needs to start appealing to millennial drivers. Millennials have different priorities and attitudes than their generation X and generation Y predecessors. In order to appeal to younger drivers, recruiters need to evaluate what millennials really want and then make sure a trucking job can provide it.

Trend 2: More workers go straight to college or the trades

The percentage of high school graduates going to college has increased over the last few decades. In 1984, only 56% of students went to college after graduating from high school. The rest of them went into the labor force including trucking and trades like welding, mechanics, and work as plumbers or electricians.

Today, nearly 70% of students are going to college, which leaves fewer workers for both trucking and the trades.

Sure enough, many of the trades are also experiencing a shortage, and they directly compete with trucking industry for a smaller pool of workers. If these workers find the trades to be a more attractive as jobs, it impacts the shortage in the trucking industry.

Solution:

Recruiters need to focus on making trucking more attractive than the trades. While both of these industry paths have many things in common, there are important differences as well. The biggest factor is travel and the impact on home time. While this may seem like a disadvantage at first glance, recruiters need to turn this into a benefit. By highlighting the opportunity to travel and the independence and flexibility of the job, recruiters can make trucking more appealing. Trade industries don’t offer many of the same perks and benefits that trucking does.

Trend 3: Automation is hurting, not helping

Automation has yet to make a significant impact in reducing the driver shortage. Although many industry analysts had imagined self-driving trucks to be more prevalent on the road today, it is not yet the case. Autonomous trucks are still years or decades away from being a player due to technology, legal, and safety considerations. Instead of helping the driver shortage, autonomous trucks have hurt the industry in another fashion. The looming threat of self-driving trucks is discouraging career-minded people from the trucking profession. If drivers incorrectly believe that autonomous trucks will take their jobs in a few years, they won’t invest the time and money needed to pursue a career path in trucking.

Solution:

Recruiters shouldn’t be waiting for automation to solve the driver shortage. Regardless of the future of self-driving trucks, recruiters need to focus on finding innovative ways to compete for the best drivers and retaining them. Have data and statistics available on how the hype behind self-driving trucks doesn’t stand up to reality. Drivers want to know that they are still needed and that you rely on them for labor.

Trend 4: Most current drivers are men

There’s no doubt about it, there’s a driver shortage because most truck drivers are men and they comprise only 50% of the workforce. There has been a significant increase in women drivers in recent years, but this hasn’t happened fast enough to offset the driver shortage. Most older drivers are still men, while younger generations tend to be less disproportionate.

When only half the population considers trucking as a profession, there’s no wonder there’s a driver shortage.

It’s a myth that trucking isn’t a career for women or that they wouldn’t enjoy the work. Although being a woman trucker comes with its own challenges, women who are passionate about the job and the independence it brings are happy to take on the role.

Solution:

This one is simple: the industry needs to become more woman friendly. Recruiters can focus on hiring and retaining more female truck drivers. Industry stakeholders can partner with organizations like Women in Trucking to advance and advocate for women in the industry. Carriers can go the extra mile to make sure women are comfortable with their companies. As your reputation as a woman friendly company grows, more female drivers will consider trucking with your fleet. While there is a long road ahead, growing the number of women drivers will make a serious dent in the driver shortage problem.

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Hire and Retain More Qualified Drivers

Drive My Way matches drivers with companies based on professional qualifications and lifestyle choices.

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driver referral program

To hire the best truck drivers, recruiters need to constantly create a good impression of their carriers. However, there’s only so much you can do as a recruiter to control your brand and reputation. Unfortunately, many advertisements lie, and drivers have good reason not to believe everything that a carrier says about itself. That’s why they’re more likely to listen to other drivers instead. People are more likely to listen to those they trust, and they’re more likely to trust those who are similar to them. The power of peers is so great that people are 4 times more likely to buy a product when referred by a friend. You can harness this power in the trucking industry as well. A potential driver for your fleet is more likely to trust a fellow driver than what you have to say about your fleet.

This is the idea behind creating a driver referral program. Since your reputation as a carrier is going to spread anyway, you may as well use that to your advantage to attract the best candidates.

Research shows that “word of mouth” plays a huge factor for drivers looking for trucking jobs.

According to the 2019 Overdrive Connectivity Report, 26% of company drivers use word of mouth when looking for driving jobs, second only to Internet searches. Meanwhile, it’s the strongest factor for owner-operators, who look to it 39% of the time. A driver referral program will help you harness the power of word-of-mouth and use your company reputation to bring the strongest drivers to your fleet. Here are 3 tips to create a strong referral program.

1. Build advocates

As we mentioned, drivers are already speaking to each other about your carrier. Your company already has a reputation, and you can’t override it by a referral program. Either your drivers believe you have a strong company and culture that values them, or they don’t. You can’t magically change their opinion by using incentives, but you can encourage them to share their opinions with other drivers.

Offering incentives nudges your drivers to make referrals they already believe in.

It just adds the extra benefit that it won’t slip their mind between a busy job and personal life. If drivers already believe in the strength of your company, you’re really building them as advocates for your company, and not simply as referrals.

2. Structure incentives

Many companies use incentives to nudge drivers into making referrals. Most of these incentives are monetary rewards, although they don’t have to be. As we learned in high school economics class, incentives matter.

You have to make sure you’re offering the right incentives, and that they are influencing behavior in ways you want them to.

If you’re offering a vinyl record player as an incentive and all your drivers use MP3 files for their music, you aren’t going to get any referrals even if everyone loves your company! Make the referral worth it for your drivers. If you’re offering a monetary reward, there are different ways to distribute it. For example, a $500 referral bonus can be spaced out- $250 when the referred driver gets their first run completed and another $250 when they’ve been with the company for 60 days. Often the incentive doesn’t begin until the new driver has already joined the fleet. Driver benefits like extra paid vacation time are other referral rewards which many drivers will covet. Find the right incentive structure and distribution mechanism that works for your company!

3. Budget your incentives

It’s easy to think of referral programs as a waste of money if you haven’t used them before or measured their impact. Try to think of driver referrals as an investment into your recruiting budget. The hire you make from a referral program will help you gain back the amount you spent on the incentive or reward. In fact, you can measure the impact of your referral program and calculate the return on investment. If you’re doing it well then you make a significant number of hires which more than account for the budget spent on the referral program. Consider these budgetary issues when structuring your referral program.

If your program is losing more money than gaining, you need to seriously re-think your entire driver referral program.

Which incentives aren’t working? Should the monetary reward be greater? Maybe the rewards need to be spread out more or be delivered only after you’ve converted leads to hires. Don’t forget to account for the hundreds of dollars being wasted on trucks sitting idle in your lot. Investing in a driver referral program might a way to end that loss of value.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

Get the Ebook

Trucking recruiters are tasked with finding top candidates for a position, matching them to the right jobs, and converting them into drivers for the fleet. This is dependent on finding a high number of qualified candidates through driver applications. One reason why you may not have as many candidates in your talent pool is because some percentage of leads start driver applications but soon abandon them.

You’ll get more candidates if you are able to reduce application abandonment. Just imagine the kinds of stronger candidates you’ll have in consideration if 10% of candidates don’t quit in the middle of your application! Here are four suggestions of how to reduce driver application abandonment and get better candidates in your recruiting pipeline.

1. Application length

Put yourself in the place of your candidates and imagine why they may abandon the driver applications. Most drivers don’t want to spend their limited free time filling out lengthy and complex applications. In fact, this is the top reason job seekers quit in the middle of applications. If your applications are requiring too many details, or take too long, most drivers are going to move on to other tasks. Worst case, you may be losing these candidates to rival carriers who have optimized and shortened their applications.

Ideally, your driver application should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete.

Instead of requiring drivers to provide all information up-front, focus on the basics and stick to questions that require simple answers. You can ask more detailed questions later, in your follow-up or in-person phone call.

2. Make applications mobile-friendly

Most drivers search and apply for jobs online through their smartphones. In this mobile-driven world, recruiters and fleet managers need to make sure they’re able to communicate and interface with drivers how they would prefer. Designing mobile-friendly applications means you’re able to meet drivers where they are and make driver applications easier for them.

Simply duplicating the web-based driver application for mobile devices introduces so many hassles, no wonder drivers abandon these!

Optimize your applications for a mobile-first experience by using mobile rendering, saved login information, and other useful features. Drivers will be more likely to complete applications which are quick and easy to complete on the go. They can easily access and submit these applications on their devices while waiting at truck stops or rest areas.

3. Avoid tedious steps

If your driver application is requiring candidates complete tedious steps, they’re going to abandon the application and run for the hills, or worse, to the next carrier’s application.

Nothing can be as difficult or tedious as requiring drivers to print or download something on the application.

These steps can be tough to complete if drivers are on their smartphones and looking at your applications while on a rest break. Using the proper software and encryption can go a long way toward drivers submitting the applications online without having to worry about their data being at risk. Build a safe and secure application on the back-end so as not to compromise the private information of candidates. E-signatures and other features make application submission simple, secure, and effective.

4. Be transparent

Your driver applications aren’t just simple tasks for candidates to complete as part of the hiring process. They’re also an integral part of the marketing and advertising for your fleet and carrier. Keeping this in mind, drivers will expect you to address their concerns about compensation, benefits, company culture, and other important topics. In this day and age, any reputation about your carrier has spread far and wide.

You can expect that your candidates have already heard everything about your company—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What you can do to handle this situation is practice 100% transparency. Perhaps your carrier can’t provide the latest truck models or the strongest benefits, but that is balanced by the company culture, safety record, and spouse policy. Be upfront about whatever concerns you think drivers may have and make it easy for interested candidates to contact you with questions. If you’re serious about avoiding long-term turnover, your carrier should do what it can to promote transparency.

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Reduce Application Abandonment

We partner with employers to help them reduce application abandonment by nurturing candidates.

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Texting can be a great way to communicate with family and friends. After all, Americans send over 26 billion text messages each day! But when it comes to official company business, using your personal cell phone for text messaging can lead to issues if you’re not careful. These issues could cost you time, money and ultimately qualified candidates over time. If you’re texting drivers from your cell phone, here are 3 reasons to stop.

The average American checks their phone about 50 times each day. 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes.techjury.net

1. Consistency

Using personal phones to send business texts can create branding issues for a company. Setting clear rules as to who can send texts, and the content they should contain should be a priority for any company using text messaging as an official communication practice. Much like having standard email templates in place for business communications, having text message templates for texting drivers is a good idea.

2. Timing

Using a messaging app from your personal phone could make you seem available 24/7. Though you might curb your overall business communications with candidates to your normal business hours, drivers might not be able to check their phones until you’ve gone home for the day. Once they’ve responded, you might not respond until the next morning. This type of time delay devalues the benefit of text messaging in general. Having an SMS system in place that’s truly a 24/7 solution, will allow for the best execution of this type of communication with your drivers.

3. Tracking Old Messages

If you and your team are all using your personal phones to connect with candidates, there’s plenty of room to lose track of what’s been sent. You could be sending duplicate messages, or worse, conflicting messages and confusing your potential drivers. Without a dedicated system to track all texts from one source, you could be inadvertently sending negative messages to candidates. This might make them decide to look for work somewhere else. And with no tracking system in place, there’s no way to get any usable metrics to find out how well texting drivers is actually working for your company.

As part of your overall communication strategy with your drivers, text messaging can play an important role. But in the recruitment process, texting from your personal cell phone is not always going to be the best idea. Hopefully the 3 things to consider when using text messaging from a hiring perspective will help your team recruit well.

Lastly, if you’re going to use text messaging in any capacity to connect with potential drivers, you need to let them know about it. This will reduce any confusion that might arise when a candidate gets a text message from an unknown number. Additionally, you should have your candidates opt-in to the text messaging system as part of the application process. This way they will know that the texts are coming, and who they’re coming from.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

Get the Ebook

When putting together your driver incentive programs package, there’s a few things to keep in mind. Think about what is a perceived benefit to your drivers, and whether it will also help you attain your overall company goals. Striking a good balance between the two is where the best incentive programs will be created.  Regardless if you’re putting your first incentive program in place, or looking to tweak your current offerings, we can help. Here are the key ideas you need to evaluate for your truck driver incentive programs.

What Are the Best Types of Incentives?

You should have a handle on what motivates your team of drivers. Listen to your drivers’ needs. Work to understand what encourages them. Then you can find a relevant set of driver incentive programs to put into place.

Are you falling short with on-time deliveries? Are your fuel efficiency metrics not being met? Is turnover too high? These are great places to start designing incentives to encourage change.

  • Additional Compensation: This is usually the go-to for any driver incentive program. Reward your drivers with cash if they achieve a stated goal within a certain time frame. That can be either a raise in their hourly rate, or an additional check that goes on-top of their normal take home pay. Cash rewards are fairly standard. And you can use them at any time. Even as part of their hiring process, to encourage them to stay with the company.
  • Recognition Rewards: Giving drivers something other than a financial incentive can sometimes be greater influence on positive behavior. A certificate, their name on a plaque somewhere prominent, or even a mention in a company newsletter to acknowledge their accomplishment could be more impactful than money could ever be. This type of reward is something that they’ll have forever, and the memory and sense of appreciation might last far longer than the bonus ever would.
  • Catalog Programs: Some companies choose to have achieving small milestones accumulate points over time. Then they can redeem those point for items in a catalog. These types of programs can help change behavior consistently over time. Your drivers might be working towards a new gadget that they’d love to have. Or even better, something that they know that their spouse would really love as a gift!

Cons of Incentives

Your truck driver incentive programs should work in conjunction with your overall goals, not in competition. When putting incentives in place you should take the time to ensure that you’re only going to encourage best practices, not accidentally promote conflict.

  • Unhealthy competition: As mentioned before, you want to be sure you strike the right balance with your driver incentive programs. Don’t create an environment where drivers are pushed to be cutthroat with each other. The last thing you’d want to do is fix one problem, and inadvertently create an unhealthy workplace where your drivers don’t act as a team.
  • Cutting corners: If the incentives are perceived as extremely worthwhile, or that drivers are in a race to achieve the goals first, it might lead to drivers taking shortcuts in their daily driving. This is something that should be clearly discouraged when you implement your driver incentive programs. Goals should never be encouraged to be met at the cost of safety or compliance.
  • Disengagement: Fairness is very important when establishing any type of new reward programs. If a driver immediately thinks “I could NEVER achieve that goal”, they might tune out and become disengaged. This would be a terrible outcome of a driver incentive program. Not only would it not help with the goals you’re trying to help achieve, you might lose an otherwise happy driver.

Incentive Programs Implementation

You want to foster an environment of fairness, so that working towards the incentives don’t unintentionally create new problems. When you put these truck driver incentive programs in place, fairness is a key measure of success.

  • Measure consistently: You should be able to easily measure any progress toward driver goals objectively. Be sure that the rules in place for your programs are clear as to how results are tallied, and by when. At the end of the time frame for achieving them has passed, everyone should be able to see where they landed in relation to the goals.
  • Be fair: Fairness should be built into any employee program. This might require a tiered or scaled approach depending on the variety of the runs and types of drivers you have. There’s always a way to be different and still keep things fair. This is the best way to avoid disengagement with your programs. It also ensures that each driver feels a sense of belonging to the overall company goals.

Truck driver incentive programs should help drivers feel recognized and companies meet their goals. Companies should put plans in place that reward positive work practices, and make your drivers feel acknowledged. This fosters a sense of satisfaction that can lead to better driver retention. The types of incentives you can implement are varied and can take some time to get them just right for your teams. When you’re ready to put an incentive program in place, be sure that the rules are fair and the objectives are clear.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

Get the Ebook

Budget planning and compliance is one of the most important jobs at any company. A limited amount of funds is available for each team, and they need to be spent wisely. When working through your plans for hiring drivers, your recruitment budget is a critical piece of that puzzle. But when you step back and look at the process, and what you’re actually spending, maybe now’s a good time for also rethinking your driver recruitment budget.

First things first: do you have a good handle on your actual budget needs? It could be as simple as knowing your turnover rate, your anticipated need for additional drivers above turnover, and then multiply that by your current cost per hire. Simple, right? Could be that easy, but it’s probably a little bit more complex than that if you’re working through this for the first time. Especially when turnover rates keep climbing, and the driver shortage continues to grow. These things impact revenue because trucks are sitting idle, and once revenue decreases, assigned budgets can unexpectedly change at any time.

Cut out what’s not working for you

The best thing to do when looking at your driver recruitment process is to figure out where to cut out waste. Let’s start with the type of drivers your looking to hire. Here you want to be highly strategic in your approach, to attract the perfect candidates. You don’t want to simply generate hundreds of leads only to find out that they don’t meet even half of your qualifications. If that’s what you’re doing, you probably also know the amount of time it’s taking for your team to work that massive pile of ice-cold leads. It might be a good idea to try and find a better place to spend that money. And a better way to use all of those wasted hours.

Using your historical data of what’s worked best, where have you found the best matches? The best retention? Those are the places you want to ensure your recruitment budget is maximized.

Part of any good budgeting strategy is tracking everything related to that budget. You should have at least a simple tracker of costs vs. return on each tactic, best case on a monthly basis (if not weekly). Once you’re sure the low performing tactics are no longer part of your plan, you can work to reallocate those funds to tactics that produce the best matches. Who knows, saving those hours and dollars might allow for improvements in employee benefits or salaries that will make you more competitive down the road.

Stop making the same driver recruitment mistakes

At the end of the day, a recruitment budget shouldn’t be focused strictly on volume. Producing thousands of unqualified leads for your fleet, just bogs you down and creates capacity challenges throughout your day.

Instead, a driver recruitment budget should be focused on making meaningful connections with drivers that you are able to sustain in the long run.

It should be about focusing on spending in areas that will actually produce qualified matches for your fleet, instead of just trying to get warm bodies in your trucks.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

Get the Ebook