cost per hire

For driver recruiters, there are few metrics more important than cost per hire (CPH). For many recruiting and HR departments, it’s what defines their success to decision makers in the organization. Because of this, driver recruiters are always looking for ways to lower their CPH without having the candidate experience suffer. Here are 3 ways that recruiters can lower their cost per hire. 

What is Cost Per Hire?

Before you can reduce your CPH, you need to know how to calculate it. Luckily, calculating CPH is pretty simple math.  

cost per hire

You add up your total costs for recruiting new drivers, and then divide that by the number of drivers ultimately hired. This gives you the cost per hire for all your recruiting efforts. (Note that this factors in actual hires, not just leads.) You can use this formula to measure CPH over any time period you’d like, including month, quarter, or year.  

You should keep this number handy and have yearly goals set to manage it as needed or as budgets change. Once you have determined your cost per hire, you can then make more informed decisions on where to spend your recruiting dollars.  

What Costs are Part of Cost Per Hire?

While the formula for calculating cost per hire is pretty simple, knowing what goes into that top “cost section” isn’t as easy.  

The first thing to know is that there are both internal and external recruiting costs which need to be factored in. Here are some common costs that should be included in your CPH.  

Internal Costs 

  • Salaries for HR and Recruiters – Includes managers and freelance recruiters (if applicable) 
  • Referral or Sign on Bonuses for Drivers – Do you give drivers bonuses when they get hired on? Do you give current drivers a bonus when they refer someone who eventually gets hired? 
  • Interview costs – How many hours are recruiters/HR spending interviewing driver candidates? 

External Costs 

  • Recruiting Software – Do you utilize recruiting software or a service to help you find drivers? 
  • Job Fair/Events – Does your carrier participate in any trucking job fairs or career day events? 
  • Advertising – What are your advertising costs? This includes both digital and print. It could also include costs associated with an advertising agency, if you work with one.  

These are just some examples of possible recruiting costs your carrier could be incurring. Every carrier will have different costs that go into their CPH, so take some time to find what yours are.  

3 Ways to Lower Your Cost Per Hire

1. Leverage Past Leads

Every time you need to hire for a new opening, you don’t need a fresh list of candidates to contact. Check in on your existing pool of names and filter or scan for matches to your current job openings.  

Reaching out to these passive candidates, who may not have been a good fit in the past, is often a better bet than reaching out to candidates who you’ve never had an interaction with before.  

The dollars spent to generate and capture these leads are already spent, and no additional budget is needed to go back to those lists. 

You know that they’ve already been partially vetted if they matched up with prior openings, they might just need to be checked-in for these new opportunities. If you put a little bit of effort into keeping these older leads engaged between new job postings, you might have the perfect person sitting in your database already.

2. Reallocate Ineffective Spending

One of the best things about CPH is that once you have it, you can use it to dig deeper into the different costs you’re using to hire. You can find the CPH for specific costs like recruiting software, sign on/referral bonuses, interview costs, or any other cost you may have.  

Use the same formula above, just replace the total recruiting cost with the amount for that specific cost. Drilling down further like this helps you find extremely useful information about whether your recruiting dollars are being spent as efficiently as possible.  

For example, you could find that 25% of your carrier’s recruiting costs go towards job fairs and events, but you’ve only hired two drivers from them. 

With this information, you can start to make decisions to reallocate funds from higher CPH channels to lower CPH channels to increase efficiency. This should result in faster hires, at a lower cost.

3. Try Something New

If you’re struggling to attract and retain the best drivers, that’s probably a good indication to switch things up. Keep your eyes and ears open for new recruiting ideas, and as your budget allows, give something new a try. You might find something that brings in new drivers faster and saves on your CPH over time. 

Knowing you’ve got a finite budget for recruiting new drivers to your open jobs, it’s important that you have a handle on what you’re spending to hire each new driver. And of that spend, what tactic(s) are producing actual hires most efficiently. Effectively managing cost per hire, and other key recruitment metrics, will lead to the ultimate success of your hiring process. 

These tactics can certainly help decrease your cost per hire and improve your bottom line. However, working to reduce your overall driver retention rate is a huge time and money saver over the long run. If you’re ready to start recruiting and hiring for retention, schedule a demo of our platform today. 

Comprehensive CDL Recruitment Solutions

Ready to start recruiting the right drivers? Our solutions experts are happy to answer any questions and show you how Drive My Way uniquely approaches CDL driver recruitment.

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3 Tips for Hiring a Local Truck Driver

As a truck driver recruiter, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that all driver candidates have the same needs and wants. But, just like candidates in any industry, truck drivers are individually unique in what they want out of a job, what motivates them, and how they like to be communicated with.  

While it’s impossible to have a truly unique approach for every driver candidate you’ll encounter, you should be tailoring your recruitment experience based on whether the driver is looking for local work or OTR/Regional work.  

If you’re hiring for local positions, here are three tips to help you fill your fleet with quality drivers.

1. Talk About What Local Drivers Care About

local truck driver

Home Time

While many OTR drivers are drawn to the call of the open road, local truck drivers highly value home time. In fact, it’s one of, if not the biggest reason these drivers prefer to drive local.  

When hiring local drivers, clearly state up front and early in the job description the amount of home time that this position will afford. If you don’t, you run the risk of losing quality drivers, just because it wasn’t obvious enough that your job is for local drivers.  

Pay

Every driver wants to know about pay, local truck drivers included. As a baseline, your carrier should be offering compensation near or above the average for your area. If you’re not sure what that average is, look at some of your competitor’s job postings and go from there.  

Just like home time, share pay information clearly in your job description and in early conversations with prospective drivers. If your company pays hourly, include the average hours that drivers typically work weekly. If they receive overtime pay after 40 hours, share the rate.  

Similarly, if your company pays CPM, share the average miles drivers work per week. Then, drivers can decide whether the job is a good mutual fit before either side invests any more time.

CDL drivers are aware that driving local routes generally means less pay than driving OTR, but they still want to know what they can expect.  

2. Don’t Leave Out the Details

Schedule

Local truck drivers expect to be home every day. That’s the bare minimum. But it’s a good idea to include additional information about their schedule in the job description as well. 

Will they have weekends off? What time does the shift start? How long is the typical workday? Will the days off be consecutive? All these questions should be answered by your job description or during the first point of contact with the driver.  

Route

There can be a lot of variation in job type and responsibilities for a local truck driver. As a result, including more specific information can be a helpful recruiting tool. Will drivers be primarily on highways or surface roads? Will there be frequent stops on a typical route? Is there one dedicated customer or is it always changing? 

Customer Service

Another important thing to discuss with local drivers is the level of customer service. If there is a customer service component to the job, don’t just assume that the driver will be ok with that. While a lot of drivers may be, some chose this profession to avoid customer service, so it could be a deal breaker. 

Have a conversation about it early on in the recruitment process and consider offering specific customer service training to your drivers if you feel it’s necessary.  

Level of Touch

Regardless of the level of touch required for your local truck driver position, include details about it in your job description. Loading and unloading isn’t usually a dealbreaker for local drivers, but be upfront about it just in case it is.

3. Articulate Your Value

Employee Value Proposition

Your value proposition is what sets you apart from other similar companies. In short, why should drivers choose to work for your company over competitors? It is critical that you are able to identify and stick to this value.  

It’s what will help you attract new drivers and prevent losing current ones to competitors. Your value proposition can be anything from an above average pay rate, to weekends off, or a great company culture. It’s whatever makes your carrier different from carrier B, C and D.  

Health Benefits

Many local drivers are very family-oriented, so offering immediate medical insurance might be particularly valuable. Having a full benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, and prescription is a huge incentive in getting these drivers to come onboard.  

Company Culture

Since local truck drivers see their supervisors and colleagues more regularly, a good work environment and company culture can be particularly strong assets. 

Comprehensive CDL Recruitment Solutions

Ready to start recruiting the right local drivers? Our solutions experts are happy to answer any questions and show you how Drive My Way uniquely approaches CDL driver recruitment.Request a Demo

Lansing building productsApril Smith is the Recruiting Manager with Drive My Way client, Lansing Building Products. During her 7 plus years with Lansing, April and her team have helped the company grow their fleet while increasing retention rates. We were able to speak with April and fellow Lansing recruiter, Kelsie Rudd about the biggest changes they’ve seen during their time recruiting, how Lansing uses driver feedback to inform their decisions, and how they’re able to screen for drivers who will be a cultural fit for Lansing.

How are you able to properly screen candidates so that you only hire drivers who will fit Lansing’s culture?

We ask some specific questions during the interview process to see how the driver will align with our culture. For example, we ask, “What does respect, service, and excellence mean to you?” This question comes directly from our mission statement.

We also have noticed that drivers sometimes tend to get boxed in by recruiters as simply drivers, and we assume that’s all they’ll want to do for the rest of their career.

During the interview process, we always talk to the drivers about where they see themselves down the road and what their long-term career goals are. We ask these kinds of questions because Lansing offers a number of opportunities for advancement, and we love to bring drivers in who will take advantage of them.

What are some of the things that Lansing does to promote driver retention?

There are a couple different things we do to promote retention. One is the safety program that we’ve implemented. If a driver doesn’t get in an accident for an entire year, their name goes into an end of the year raffle, with the winner getting a free YETI cooler.

Aside from that, we participate yearly in the Great Place to Work survey. Once we collect the data from the survey, we don’t just sit on it. It gives us some really great insights into how our drivers feel about working for us and what we could be doing better for them.

We’ve actually started a few different programs directly because of the data we’ve gotten from the Great Place to Work survey. One is our CDL Reimbursement Program. Through this program, we financially assist any current Lansing employee who wants to either get their CDL A or upgrade their CDL B to an A. It’s just one of the ways we want to show our drivers that we’re committed to their professional growth.

What’s been the biggest change in the driver recruiting space since your first started?

I think what’s changed the most has been the technology we use. There’s much more automation involved in the hiring process now than ever before. It all starts with our Applicant Tracking System (ATS), then from there, we figure out who the partners are that will work within that ATS to help us fill our hiring needs.

That’s how Drive My Way became one of our most valuable partners. We were able to easily integrate their platform with our ATS of choice, Lever. Because of this, we were able to get more quality applicants for our jobs faster.

April and Kelsie finished with these thoughts,

As a recruiting team, it’s important to not only fill the jobs, but to make sure we’re communicating with all the other teams and individuals involved in the hiring process as well. Having a high level of communication with candidates, hiring managers, and our vendors every step of the way has increased our ability to be more productive and to have the right people on our teams.

Lansing Building Products Partners with Drive My Way for Success

Lansing Building Products partnered with Drive My Way to hire CDL A and B straight truck drivers for a number of locations nationwide. See the results below.

View the Case Study

Hiring truck drivers is a competitive business. Driver recruiters are always trying to find new ways to get a leg up on the competition and bring in the best drivers to their fleets.  

But, as any recruiter knows, if you want to hire the best drivers, you first need to attract the best drivers. With many top carriers offering similar benefits and perks, that isn’t always enough to stand out to driver candidates.  

This is where strong marketing can be your best ally. With this on your side, you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from the competition and attract drivers to your fleet. Here are 4 ways you can use marketing to stand out while hiring truck drivers. 

1. Driver Testimonials

People are more likely to trust people who are like them over people who aren’t. This is why using testimonials from your current drivers in your marketing is a great way to help you stand out from the competition.  

Any carrier can speak about its own perks, benefits, and company culture. The real test is whether that company’s drivers will say the same thing. If your drivers will echo your own messaging publicly, it will have a much greater impact on truck driver candidates. 

Visit our blog on the subject for more information and examples on how to record and share driver testimonial videos.  

2. Experiment with New Channels

Though trucking remains an industry dominated by older males, there has been a major uptick in both women truck drivers and young truck drivers in recent years. Recruiters should be aware of this when advertising their jobs or just raising brand awareness, and not limit themselves to the same old channels. 

Experiment with channels geared towards different audiences, like Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube. While focusing on the core demographic of truck drivers is important, it doesn’t mean recruiters should limit themselves to just those. Today’s peripheral audiences can become tomorrow’s loyal truck drivers.

3. Use Technology to Your Advantage

hiring truck driversMany carriers still use recruiting processes which are outdated and cumbersome. You can stand out to truck driver candidates by adopting technology to make recruiting more efficient.  

Mobile friendly platforms and similar features will make applying quicker and easier for candidates. At the same time, recruiters can use programs like applicant tracking software to make the recruiting process easier and more efficient for themselves as well. 

Remember, technology won’t be able to solve all your problems. Recruitment still needs the human touch. Use it for what it can help with best, simplifying and speeding up the process, and focus your human efforts on other areas.  

4. Content Marketing

First impressions are extremely important in the recruiting process. When a driver candidate visits your company website or social media page for the first time, would you rather them be greeted by nothing but one company update from five years ago, or a number of blog posts, company photos, and videos sharing your company values and culture?  

Our guess is the latter, and that’s why content marketing can play such a big role when trying to stand out to truck drivers. 

Here are a few different examples of marketing content you can use to reach drivers: 

  • Blogs about industry topics 
  • Memes on social media 
  • Sharing pictures on social media that show your company culture 
  • Polls and open-ended questions on social media (What do you think? Let us know in the comments!) 
  • Day in the life profiles of one of your drivers 
  • Driver testimonials 

Pro Tip: Make sure you’re getting the most out of your content. Share it on all your social media channels so you can reach drivers before they are ever candidates. Once they’re ready to apply for a job, your carrier will be top of mind! 

If you’re looking for other ways to get in front of driver candidates, consider partnering with Drive My Way. Our patented and proprietary technology matches drivers with jobs based on their professional qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences.

Custom Commodities Transport Partners with Drive My Way for Success

Custom Commodities Transport is the nation’s largest transporter of Activated Carbon. See how they worked with Drive My Way to meet their driver needs.

View the Case Study

 

truck driver interview questions

Good truck driver interview questions do two things. They help you find drivers who are going to be a good fit for your carrier while helping you build a relationship with them at the same time. The best recruiters use a conversational style to learn more about drivers’ experiences and skills as well as their goals for a new job. 

Informative and approachable truck driver interview questions are the foundation of a strong recruitment for retention strategy. Here are 5 tips to help you get to know the drivers you’re interviewing and find one who fits well with your fleet. 

1. Start With the Basics

Chelsee Patton and Truck

Chelsee Patton, Director of Recruiting at RTI

The purpose of an interview is to find a driver who has the skills and qualifications to do a specific job. Inevitably, it is crucial to have a clear picture of their experience, endorsements, and total compensation needs. The challenge is to get that information in an approachable way.  

Drivers should feel like the interview is building a relationship rather than simply an effort to fill another seat with an anonymous face. Strong interviewers learn about drivers’ skills and experience through conversation.  

We spoke with Chelsee Patton, Director of Recruiting at RTI and CDL holder, about effective interviewing as part of recruitment. She shared these thoughts,  

“For carriers trying to improve their interview process, I would tell them to take a look at how they’re talking to drivers at the beginning of the interview. Are you automatically jumping into, “How much experience do you have? How many tickets? How many accidents?” If so, I would recommend conversationally talking through all of that instead of reading questions one after the other off a sheet.”

As you build relationships with drivers, keep a detailed record of their professional profile. Clearly denote the driver’s experience and endorsements. This information helps automatically filter out unqualified applicants. Drivers’ requested total compensation should also be clearly noted. If they express specific demands around home time, base pay, or benefits, make sure to include that information.  

Similarly, if drivers respond negatively to the total compensation you are offering, note that as a possible red flag. Delving into basic information such as skills and endorsements is an opportunity to learn key information while setting a positive tone for future interactions. 

2. Find Out What Drivers Are Looking for

Not all drivers are a good fit for every job, and that’s ok. Time is a precious commodity in the recruiting world, so find out early what drivers are looking for. Some drivers may talk about career plans and advancement opportunities. Understanding each driver’s underlying motivation helps frame the conversation and contextualizes that driver’s priorities. Use that information to focus on the job aspects that are most important.  

In some cases, a driver’s goals may not be compatible with the available position. That’s also valuable knowledge. In these cases, learning that quickly can help you end the conversation and encourage the driver toward other positions to save time.  

If you still want to attract the driver, make sure to be as transparent as possible about the open job. Unfulfilled or misled expectations will only lead to high turnover and a bad company reputation. Instead, put your efforts toward quickly identifying drivers who are a good fit and may stay in the job for many years to come.  

3. Ask Role Specific Questions

ChelseeInPink

Chelsee takes the wheel

Once you have a baseline of information about the driver’s qualifications and future goals, hone in on the specific job. Discuss features of the job that are atypical or have raised concerns from drivers in the past.  

For example, if drivers need mechanical knowledge, ask “What experience do you have fixing mechanical problems with your truck?” Similarly, if the position includes slip seating, ask drivers about their preferences and habits when sharing a cab. All of these truck driver interview questions shift the focus to recruiting for retention.  

4. Use Behavioral Interviewing

If you have a strong driver candidate based on their qualifications, the next step is to use behavioral interviewing to assess their on-the-job competencies.  

These questions look at how a candidate has handled past situations in an attempt to predict how they’d behave in the future. Behavioral interviewing questions look at a candidate’s problem-solving, priority setting, and conflict management abilities. 

To ask effective behavioral interviewing questions, use the STAR technique. Situation, Task, Actions, and Result. To start, ask candidates to describe their past experiences. Then, listen closely and evaluate based on the Situation or Task they encountered, the Actions they took, and the Result of their actions.  

Think about situations that current drivers for your carrier deal with and ask candidates how they would react if faced with them. This will give you a good indication of if they’ll be a good fit for your carrier. 

5. Share the Mic

Truck drivers want to know that their carrier will respect and value their contributions. One way to demonstrate your commitment to drivers from the start is by sharing the mic.  

Allow time for drivers to ask questions during the interview or at the end. Doing so signals to drivers that you care about their input and whether the job is a good fit for them. It’s also another valuable opportunity to understand what they prioritize. If they’re a strong candidate but undecided about the position, that insight may help you win the driver to your team.  

As a recruiter, it’s hard to predict exactly what drivers may ask, but prepare answers for common questions. This will likely include questions about home time, pay, benefits, and equipment among other things. Before you end the conversation, make sure the driver is clear about the job offer. Transparency upfront supports long-term retention.  

Good truck driver interview questions give you the opportunity to get to know potential drivers so you can focus on boosting retention. When drivers and carriers connect transparently over a job that is a mutually good fit, the interview time is well worth the investment. 

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

home time

Home time vs. pay. For the vast majority of truck drivers, these are the two biggest factors they look at when choosing what carrier to work for. The question is, what do drivers care about more? As you could guess, the answer depends on the individual driver candidate. That being said, there are ways to make your jobs more appealing to drivers, no matter what they find more important. Here’s what to know about home time and pay.  

Pay

home time

 

Before all else, comes pay. A carrier can have the best home time and benefits, but they won’t be attracting many drivers if their pay is far below industry averages. And that average isn’t what it used to be.  

Due to Covid, stretched supply chains and other factors, many carriers have been steadily raising their driver pay over the past two years. Wal-Mart even announced recently that they would be raising driver pay across the board to between $95,000 and $110,000 annually.  

Paying that amount of money may be unrealistic for some carriers, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to hire quality drivers anymore. Offering overtime and detention pay are two smaller ways that carriers can show they’re committed to offering fair compensation without stretching the payroll budget. Referral, safe driving, and delayed sign-on bonuses are other ways to do this as well.  

Home Time

 

While money means a lot, it’s not always everything to drivers. It’s of course important to offer competitive pay, but recently truck drivers have been citing home time as a bigger priority for them. The Covid pandemic led many people, truck drivers included, to start valuing their home time and free time more and more.

For carriers who only hire local drivers, this isn’t an issue since drivers are home every night. For carriers looking to fill regional and OTR jobs, this new emphasis on increased home time may seem difficult to navigate.

As a carrier, it’s important to make an effort to understand each driver’s home time needs and make efforts to work with them. Instead of enforcing rigid schedules that can’t be adjusted, be flexible in what you offer drivers. Some drivers may prefer to be home 3 days every week, while others may want to be on the road for a full week, then home for a full week.  

You may not be able to accommodate every home time request, but listening to your drivers and being open to what they want will take you a long way in recruiting and retaining top talent.   

What Can Recruiters Do?

 

Know your driver candidate. In your first call, have a discussion about what their priorities are for their next position. Some family-oriented drivers may be willing to sacrifice a difference in pay if they’re able to be home an extra night every week. A young single driver may just care about getting the biggest pay package possible. As a recruiter, it’s your job to be aware of these priorities so you can see if they’re a fit for what your company can offer. 

Another tip is to never give an answer to a driver when you don’t know the answer yourself. If a driver asks if there’s any wiggle room on the home only two nights a week part of the job, don’t just say “yes” without knowing if that’s true. Inaccurate information from recruiters can lead to frustrated drivers, increased driver turnover, and possibly a poor company reputation.  

For the first time in a long time, truck drivers have real control and a lot of choice for who they drive for. For carriers, this means that offering competitive pay packages and flexible home time options is now a necessity if you’re planning on bringing drivers to your organization. But, home time and pay aren’t the only things drivers are worried about. Building a driver-centric company culture where drivers are valued is another great way for your carrier to attract drivers. 

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

American Central Transport

Josh Mecca is the Director of Recruiting with Drive My Way client, American Central Transport. Josh has been in the trucking industry for over 16 years and was recently invited to the White House to hear about the current administration’s Trucking Action Plan. We had the chance to talk with Josh about his trip to the White House, why ACT is recognized as a Best Fleet to Drive For, his advice for recruiters, and more.

What did your experience in the industry look like before coming to American Central Transport?

I started my journey at a trucking company in the southeast. From there, I moved to Nashville, TN and worked at a transportation management company. That’s where I learned the ins and outs of the industry, including long haul, regional, day cab, and virtually every mode of truckload transportation. I really started to understand the trucking industry from a logistics standpoint during my time there.

Wanting to get back to working directly with assets, I moved to a Midwest carrier for a couple of years, specifically working with Owner Operators. Then just over six years ago, I moved back home to Kansas City to take this role with American Central Transport as their Director of Recruiting.

ACT has been named a Best Fleet to Drive For for 5 consecutive years now. How have you been able to do that?

Honestly, it’s become something that’s ingrained in our culture. Every time we think about a new program, whether that’s changes to compensation, home time, benefits, or anything that impacts our drivers on a daily basis, we ask ourselves “How does this fit into being a best fleet? Does it make the lives of our drivers better?” 

At the end of each year, we always do an internal debrief based on feedback from the Best Fleets to Drive For program.  We compare what we did well, what we can improve on, and what we’re missing. We do this because we want American Central Transport to be at the forefront of providing the best work-life balance that drivers deserve.

Historically, our industry hasn’t really taken those wants from drivers into consideration, but being part of the Best Fleets really challenges us at our core to do everything we can to make not only our company a better place for drivers, but to attract and retain more talent to the industry as a whole.  

The market for truck drivers has been extremely competitive for a while now. Do you feel this is because of a true shortage of drivers, or something else?

American Central TransportI’ve always been very skeptical of the notion that there’s a literal shortage of drivers who want to get into trucking. The reason I’m skeptical is because of the number of leads, applications, and people we see out there looking for jobs.

Drivers are realizing that, for a lack of a better term, they’re in the driver’s seat right now. They control where they go and who will employ them for their services, and rightfully so. They’ve got a hard job and they sacrifice a lot to do it. We as carriers really need to understand that if our job isn’t attractive for drivers, we’re going to fall short.

We’ve recently started a driver finishing program with two CDL schools here in Kansas City. We were noticing that a lot of times in our industry, a driver would finish their CDL training and immediately be thrown to the wolves before they had a real chance to get their feet under them. This led to a lot of careers in trucking being thrown away before they began because these new drivers would have such bad experiences.

Companies didn’t want to invest in the training that these new drivers needed beyond the bare minimum, so we decided to take a different approach. Once they’ve finished CDL school, we help our new drivers by giving them the support and knowledge they need from an experienced trainer while increasing their pay every 90 days for that first year they’re with us.

Recently, you were invited to the White House. Tell us about the experience and what you took away from it.

Josh at the White House

It was a great event to be a part of. It focused on this administration’s Trucking Action Plan to help our industry become more attractive. The plan focuses on a few pillars, one of those being more trucking apprenticeships to attract new drivers, especially women and minorities into the industry. 

The biggest takeaway from the White House event was that we need to support transportation as an industry and support the people who want to be in trucking. When I got my start all those years ago, I had a coworker with over 40 years of experience take me under his wing and give me guidance. We still stay in touch to this day and talk about what’s going on in my career and his retirement. It’s that type of support that all new drivers should have when they come into this industry.

To be invited to that event was validating on a career note. Sitting there on the White House lawn made me really feel that American Central Transport’s doing something right and positively impacting the industry.

When it comes to automation in trucking, what do you think the future looks like?

I truly don’t think the trucking industry will ever be fully autonomous. I think there are going to be segments where we see platooning or some other moves towards automation, but as a whole, I don’t think our industry will ever be there.

I do think trucking jobs are going to look different in 15-20 years, but I believe that behind every steering wheel there’s still going to be a driver piloting it.

What advice do you have to give to other recruiters in the trucking industry?

In trucking right now, drivers and recruiters absolutely need each other. But it’s extremely important that recruiters are painting an accurate picture of who the company is that they’re recruiting for.

The worst thing you can have is an orientation surprise. In the 8 years I’ve been in recruiting, an orientation surprise is never positive. You never want a driver to say, “Well I didn’t know about this”, or “I wasn’t told about that”. As a recruiter, you need to make sure that you’re upfront about everything with drivers, even if it’s something they don’t ask about, but you feel is important to the position.  

If you’re doing your job as a recruiter, you’ll start to realize when a driver is going to be a great fit for your company but also when a driver isn’t. If you say something like, “Hey, you sound like a great driver. I think we’d work well together down the line, but right now, I feel it isn’t the best fit. Let’s touch base in six months”, you’ll be surprised at how much drivers will appreciate that honesty. And once you do connect down the road, you already have that foundation of honesty built. 

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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American Bulk Commodities

In a time when demand is much higher than supply, it can be difficult for driver recruiters to be selective when bringing drivers into their organization. But, for Bradley Bates, safety is the one thing that you can never be too selective about. Bradley is the Safety Manager for American Bulk Commodities, parent company of Drive My Way clients, R&J Trucking and Southern Haulers. Bradley talked with us about how this background in safety has helped American Bulk’s recruiting efforts.

What was your original position with American Bulk Commodities?

I was brought in as Safety Manager after American Bulk had some safety concerns in one of their terminals. I started out solely in OSHA compliance and would travel to all our different terminals, running our training programs. I would give presentations and work to make sure mechanics were doing their yearly trainings and anything else OSHA-related. 

How did that role turn into what you do now?

As I got more comfortable in that safety role, I began to take on more, including managing our job advertising. At the time, we were still putting money into paper advertisements, which has showing less and less return. I stepped up and got our job campaigns posted online. 

I’m also the point person on the risk management side, including worker’s comp claims. Day-to-day, I’m talking with drivers about getting required paperwork, organizing return to works, and just doing what I can to get drivers back in a safe, but timely fashion. 

Then somebody left the company, and I started managing driver applications as well, running the MVR, PSP, and everything else. It was a big learning experience, finding out what we can move forward with from an application and what’s a total hard stop. I also learned to see trends in applicants as well, specifically what to look for to find a quality candidate.  

What are some of those trends that you look for?

Ideally, they’ve worked at the same place for the last 10 years and have nothing on their MVR or PSP. While this isn’t always realistic, we try to get as close to it as possible. It’s more important for us to bring in a driver whose work history shows they’re reliable and safe than bring in the first driver who checks all the minimum boxes.  

Also, asking questions related to how they’ve interacted with customers in the past, how they handle disputes and things like that is very important. Those questions are great at showing how the driver is on the customer service side of the job.  

Do you feel that being more involved in the recruiting process has improved American Bulk’s driver retention and safety scores?

We’ve definitely seen a decrease in terms of accidents and violations since I took over recruiting efforts. I can’t take all the credit though, as we’ve started to implement more safety features onto the vehicles as well. The biggest one being the Bendix Fusion system that helps collision and rollover mitigation.  

The system does a number of things, including braking automatically if there’s something in front of the truck that’s either not moving or moving much slower than the truck. I think the combination of the new safety features on our trucks and focusing on recruiting and retaining drivers with little to no accident history have been the main factors in improving our scores.  

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R&J Trucking and Southern Haulers are two of the nation’s leaders in the bulk commodities hauling industry. Find out how they found success by partnering with Drive My Way to hire CDL A Local Drivers.

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FoodlinerTrust is one of the most important parts of being a successful driver recruiter. Drivers want to know that the person they’re working with is looking out for their interests as well as those of the company they work for. But, for many recruiters, building that kind of trust is easier said than done.  

Driver My Way’s President and CEO, Beth Potratz, spoke with Tim Yochum, Director of Recruiting with the McCoy Group, parent company of Drive My Way’s client, Foodliner. Tim has close to 40 years of experience in the trucking industry and now uses that to bring qualified drivers into his company. He spoke about how he’s able to build trust with candidates by sharing his work experience with them, how he trains and motivates recruiters, and the KPIs that Foodliner uses to measure recruiting success. 

What led you to working with Foodliner?

Tim Yochum

Tim Yochum, Director of Recruiting, McCoy Group

I grew up on a farm in southern Iowa. I had to leave college my junior year to help my dad on the farm, who was having some health issues. I didn’t end up going back to school, but got a call from a friend who asked me if I’d like to work the Christmas season with UPS. I didn’t know anything about UPS but could use the extra money, so I said yes. I worked that whole Christmas season, which turned into a driving job. A few years later, I got into a management position and finished my career with UPS as an Operations Manager in Denver, Colorado.  

In 2007, I left UPS and came to the McCoy Group to be the General Manager of our Hazmat Tanker Division. I ran that for a few years, and that turned into my current role with recruiting.  

How has your background in transportation helped you recruit drivers?

I’ve had a lot of different jobs over my 38+ years in transportation, whether that be driving, doing sales and marketing, or managing special projects. I think having that knowledge on different aspects of the industry has helped me connect with drivers.  

I talk to a lot of drivers throughout the week. Every now and then, I’ll get one who says, “Oh, you’re just a recruiter.” And I say, “I am, but let me give you a little background on what I’ve done.” Once I give them some quick bullets on my experience, that attitude softens up a little bit. They feel comfortable that I’m going to be honest with them 

To that point, you have to be 100% up front and honest with drivers about every aspect of the job, even the unattractive parts. Discussing things like difficult schedules or challenging customers is important because you need to make sure it’s a good fit. We can’t keep our turnover at 40% or below by choosing a poor fit. 

I was talking with an applicant the other night who was asking questions about what the job is like day-to-day. I told him if he really wanted to know, I could get him in contact with one of our current drivers. I connected the two, and they had a long conversation about the position. It turned out that it wasn’t the right fit for the applicant, but that’s why I’m glad we did it. It’s all about getting the perfect fit on both sides. 

How do you prepare your driver recruiters who don’t have experience in the transportation industry?

Just being in the same area as my recruiters and taking calls from drivers in front of them really helps. Letting them hear the way I answer the phone, respond, and talk to drivers sets an example for them that they can follow.  

Another thing we’ve done is create spreadsheets that list almost every detail of all our terminals. This includes who’s the terminal manager, where it’s located, who are the key customers, average length of haul, any weekend work, and a lot more. New recruiters can pull that up and have about 80% of what they need to talk about. The other 20% comes in time from experience. 

What are some of the things you do to incentivize and motivate your recruiting team?

We don’t have an incentive such as “if we get x hires you get x dollars or if the driver shows up to orientation, you get a $50 bonus”. What keeps the Foodliner team motivated more than anything is that we pay them very fairly and our benefits are great as well.  

Another thing we do is let our recruiters know what the score is. For example, “This is how many applications we have in the process, this is how many are pre-qualified, or we’re over our target numbers by X drivers so far.” Just keeping these metrics communicated says to the recruiters that we’re part of a team working towards a common goal. 

What are some of the KPIs and metrics that you use to measure your team’s productivity?

A critical piece is the amount of days a driver’s application is in process. Ten years ago, you didn’t have the PSP or Clearinghouse report to worry about. Those and other items make applications much longer to process now.  

Also, it used to be normal for applicants to only have two prior employers in the past ten years. Current driver candidates have around eight jobs in the last ten years. That’s eight former employers we need to reach out to instead of two. That takes a lot of time, especially since these prior employers aren’t that quick at returning reference checks. Legally, they have 30 days to respond, but if you wait that long to pre-qualify a candidate, they’ve already got a job in another carrier’s truck.  

This is why we’ve loosened up a little bit here at Foodliner to where we’ll pre-qualify a candidate before we get all those boxes checked, just so we can give them a conditional offer. This gives them the peace of mind that they have a job with us, while we continue to cross our t’s and dot our i’s so that we’re staying legal. 

We’ve also become a little more aggressive when helping drivers get through their portion of the process. We’ll send them emails or text them about clearinghouse if we don’t see that back in a few days just to make sure the process is moving along. If need be, we have a couple people on staff who will call the driver and walk them through the Clearinghouse process just so we can get it done quicker. This is very helpful for drivers who aren’t very computer savvy and have never done that before. 

What’s one program or initiative that’s really helped Foodliner’s recruiting efforts?

Foodliner’s driver referral program has been very successful. If an employee refers a driver to us, we’ll pay that employee $8,000 if the driver stays with us for one year. We even have some drivers with multiple referrals in the system right now. These referrals make it through the application process at a higher rate than applicants from other sources and tend to stay with us longer.  

We’ve also expanded the program over the years so that anyone at Foodliner who isn’t salaried and doesn’t work in recruiting or HR can qualify for the referral bonus. Administrative assistants, technicians, and mechanics are all eligible. We just had a diesel technician refer a driver to us. We hired the driver, and the technician is now entitled to that $8,000. 

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Foodliner is the largest Bulk Food Grade carrier in the country and a Transport Topic Top 100 carrier. Find out how they partnered with Drive My Way to hire CDL A Regional and Local Liquid and Dry Bulk Drivers.

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cdl age requirementFrom shipping delays to empty shelves and rising prices in supermarkets, the effects of the truck driver shortage can be felt all across the country. Carriers and advocates have tried a number of ways to get more drivers into the industry. From raising pay to letting pets ride in the cab, a lot of different perks have been offered to get people interested in a career in trucking. 

Probably the most controversial response to the driver shortage has been to lower the age requirement to cross state lines in a CMV to 18. As of right now, drivers can get their CDL at 18, but can’t go interstate until they turn 21. This leaves most CDL trucking driving jobs to drivers 21 or older. 

Advocates say opening up this new age demographic to trucking will help alleviate effects of the driver shortage and get the industry moving in the right direction again. Opponents say that the safety risks associated with lowering the interstate CDL age requirement aren’t worth the potential benefits. Here’s everything you need to know about the age requirement debate for interstate truckers. 

What’s the Latest News?

Back in September of 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a program that would allow 18–20-year old’s to operate a CMV across state lines. Nothing happened at the time, but the program was eventually picked up as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that was passed in November of 2021.  

This program is officially called the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program (SDAP). The program will be in place for 3 years, almost as a test run. After that, the FMCSA will publish their findings and let congress know whether they endorse it becoming law. As of right now, there’s no information on when carriers can start applying to be a part of the SDAP, but the FMCSA said they’ll post an announcement on their website when that happens. 

Cons to Lowering the Interstate CDL Age

The biggest and most obvious criticism of lowering the CDL age are the safety concerns associated with letting teenagers get behind the wheel of a 15-ton semi-truck. Teenagers are 3 times more likely to get into a crash than drivers over the age of 20. When you combine that statistic with the increased difficulty of driving a CMV, it’s easy to see why some are skeptical of lowering the CDL age. Also, some feel that lowering the CDL age requirement is just a way to avoid the bigger problems facing the trucking industry right now, such as low driver pay. 

Another issue that’s not considered a lot of the time with lowering the interstate CDL age is insurance. We spoke with Jeff Ice, Retired Managing Director with Risk Strategies Transportation about what this change will mean for the insurance industry and carrier’s policies.

“I don’t see the insurance industry modifying the underwriting requirement of a 21 year old minimum age for CDL or even non-CDL drivers. Actually, most insurance carriers have a 23-25 year old requirement and I don’t see them backing off that. So yes it’s a conundrum. Driver shortage vs. insurance experience/requirements. With the expanding use of real time fleet telematics, maybe this change will make a positive impact on the industry years down the road, but in the near term, I just don’t see the insurance industry backing down,” shared Jeff. 

Also, some drivers fear that if the CDL age gets lowered, so will their wages. 18–20-year-old drivers earn much less on average than older workers and are more likely to take lower offers from trucking companies. This will put older drivers who have made considerable gains in pay over the last few years in a tough spot. 

Pros to Lowering the Interstate CDL Age?

When we think of lowering the CDL age, we might think of freshly 18 year old drivers who have never been in a truck before, hopping on the highway. In the majority of instances, this won’t be the case. To address safety concerns, the pilot program institutes a mandatory 400 probationary period where any driver 18-20 must have an experienced driver in the passenger seat at all times. An experienced driver is defined as any driver who is 26 or over, has at least 5 years of CMV driving experience, been driving for the last two years, and has had no preventable accidents or pointed moving violations. 

Lindsey Trent, President and Co-Founder of the Next Generation in Trucking Association had this to say on the topic of training young drivers and the associated insurance issues.

“It’s going to be a process. There are companies that will allow a carrier to insure an 18-20 year old driver, but they’ll obviously have to pay more for that policy. If we can train a young person to be an exceptional driver and put them through a longer training process, we’ll eventually get those statistics in with the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program. We’ll get answers to questions like, “Are these 18-20 year old drivers just as safe as a 26 year old who has their CDL,” shared Lindsey. 

Also, there’s already a number of young drivers out there who are already driving CMVs. In all 50 states, any person 18 or over can get their CDL A or B; they just can’t travel across state lines. Couple that with the SDAP only allowing 3,000 apprentices in the program at one time and you can see that many of the safety concerns have been addressed. 

18-20 is a very important age range, when many people choose the careers that they’ll be in for the rest of their lives. This is one benefit to lowering the interstate CDL age. The industry will be reaching young people at that critical time in their lives. For an industry that needs to get younger, lowering the CDL age seems like a no brainer. 

Whether you’re for or against lowering the CDL age requirement, as of right now, it’s happening. Even if it’s just on a small-scale test basis, we’ll soon see 18-year old’s out on the highway delivering freight. Only time will tell whether or not the concerns will outweigh the positive effect this change may have on the industry. 

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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