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Crucial Conversations with Driver Candidates: 3 Ways to Prepare

The hiring process is a stressful one. From both sides of the table (or telephone). Recruiters have to do a great deal of work to find and vet the best driver candidates. Filtering and sorting through piles of resumes, data files, and reading a constantly increasing number of emails. Driver candidates looking for new opportunities have all sorts of information being tossed at them from many directions too. They’re getting calls, emails and text messages from resume screeners, and finding information while doing their own research. The process can take a long time and require tough talks along the road to get on the same page. As a truck driver recruiter, here are 3 ways to prepare for those crucial conversations with driver candidates.

1. Be honest with driver candidates

When working through the steps to bring a driver on-board, you’re going to talk through a lot with your candidates. If your company has a less than stellar reputation, you might get asked questions about what drivers might have heard about what it’s like working for you. These things might be true, or might not be true. But in the cases where they’re asking about something that’s actually the case, you need to be honest with your candidates.

Employers who are transparent in nature with pay, benefits, job role, home time, etc. often see better, more sustainable driver retention than those who exaggerate in a job description to get drivers in the door.

If you know you can’t compete on salary or benefits, be clear and up-front about it. And then also let the candidates know where you’re company can be a great fit with them. Starting out anywhere other than with honesty and transparency will most likely not lead to a long-term employee.

2. Know your facts

When being asked questions about pay and benefits, be prepared to provide accurate numbers. Being vague is never a good way to gain trust from your truckers. If questions come up about what their future career path might look like, be clear on what could potentially happen. But also provide the driver with what needs to be accomplished to gain promotions in the future. On the flip side, you may need to discuss negative findings after a background check or a drug screening. Be sure that your information is 100% correct when having these discussions with your truck driver candidates. Accusing someone of something that’s not true, or preventing them from being further considered, could have lasting consequences.

3. Be empathetic

When going into a tough conversation, put yourself in the other person’s boots for a minute. If it’s a conversation to deliver bad news, or to discuss a potentially sensitive topic, think about what your driver candidates might be thinking or feeling. And most importantly, ask yourself how this conversation is going to affect them moving forward with your company. Empathy can really help choose words to keep tempers controlled, as well as keep the tone of the conversation civil and not accusatory.

A great resource for helping with these conversations, is a book called “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High”. Written by Kerry Patterson, Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny and Ron McMillan, this book is a highly acclaimed reference for both personal and professional use. It’s a must read for any HR or recruiting professionals.

Crucial Conversations gives you the tools you need to step up to life’s most difficult and important conversations, say what’s on your mind, and achieve the positive resolutions you want.”

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.

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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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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

truck driver leads

Everyone on your hiring team is always busy. You seem to have a good stream of leads flowing in for your posted jobs. In general, these should be a very good things for a hiring team. However, you’re just not seeing the conversation rates you’d like. Team members are frustrated because they have to start all over every time a new driver is needed. And your trucks are still sitting empty. In this challenging time where you’re doing everything you can to hire drivers as fast as possible, why is converting truck driver leads so hard?

What’s Your Current Lead Conversion Process?

Do you have an effective lead management process in place? Or even any structured lead management process in place? If yes, that’s great! If no to both, this is certainly the place to start when trying to determine how to better convert your truck driver leads. You can quickly find an online guide to help your team map out a simple lead management process, that you can then tailor to your company’s unique needs. Once you’ve got that figured out, work to follow the stated process. Every. Single. Time.

Once you know you have a great process in place, what are you doing to optimize your process? And what tools are you using to alleviate pain points or roadblocks in the process?

One very important part of an lead management process is scoring the generated leads. Your process should include fast turnaround on scorning (if that’s not already being done for you), and then a quick hand-off to the person/team that contacts the drivers. An effective scoring process helps you focus on the most qualified truck driver leads first. And the those less qualified leads later. Getting leads already qualified from your marketing efforts is a best practice here. That saves so much time sifting through potentially useless lists that should never have been matched with your postings.

What are your lead contacting best practices? How quickly are they being contacted? Once a lead comes in, you need to contact them quickly. If a driver just applied for your job, they’re expecting to be contacted immediately. This way you’re sure that you’re doing your part to get the relationship off to a good start. This also helps to avoid losing top candidates to your competition. Making sure that you have a great contacting and nurturing process for your truck driver leads is a key component in getting the best candidates hired. This is also a great place to augment your manual processes with technology to automate the lead contacting (and recontacting) process more efficient and productive.

Tired of struggling with converting your truck driver leads? Then it’s time to take a totally different and personalized approach!

One way to improve converting your truck driver leads, is to starting thinking about the process in a completely different way. Like we do here at Drive My Way. Truck drivers aren’t just leads. They’re people. We have a driver-centric platform that provides matches instead of leads. We focus on matching employers with drivers for each unique job based on the driver’s professional qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences. Unlike traditional job boards, we match at the individual job level. We don’t deliver unqualified lead lists. We focus on quality matches. Which makes the most sense for you, and the drivers.

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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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