The higher the driver qualifications, the better the driver applicants. Right? Not always. In some cases, high minimum qualifications bring top driver leads, but it may also cause you to miss top drivers who are strong candidates but don’t meet your minimum criteria. Especially when you are hiring for several positions in challenging geographies, you may be better off with a high-volume hiring strategy. If you’re having trouble getting good drivers behind the wheel, rethink your minimum qualifications and open your hiring pool.
Find True Minimums
When you set minimum qualifications, are you starting with the true minimums? Before you modify the job description to fit your internal, company-specific qualification minimums, start with federal and state requirements. Many companies aim above the 21-year-old age minimum for interstate driving or simply displaying a valid CDL. However, it’s important to be strategic about where to raise the bar and where to keep minimums at or near their base level. When you do finalize hires, best practices include keeping a driver qualification file for each driver.
Use the Job as the Foundation
Before you set minimum qualifications in a job posting, closely analyze the details of the job in two rounds. In Round 1, make a list of the skills and qualifications that you are looking for in a driver. Which ones are “nice to haves” and which ones are essential for a driver to be able to successfully complete the job? Are any of the skills or qualifications that you listed in Round 1 on the list primarily because they are intended to drive up application quality? For requirements that are just “weed-out” criteria, consider lowering your bar slightly to increase the hiring pool for jobs that are difficult to fill.
Which ones are “nice to haves” and which ones are essential. Distill your qualifications list to the true minimums.
In the second round of developing appropriate minimum qualifications, focus on the “need to haves.” Distill your qualifications list to the true minimum qualifications. Use federal and state requirements as well as the minimums that you determine for your company and the specific job in question. Do not inflate the required qualifications from the essentials. Keep all of the necessary qualifications on the job description skills list. From there, determine your next round of priority qualifications. Decide where to increase your minimum qualifications and where to leave them at their baseline.
Minimum Qualifications Are Not Static
Once you have reevaluated the qualifications for each job posting, consider those requirements the starting point. Optimize minimum by making them responsive to driver supply and job demand. When applicant volume is low, decrease the minimum qualifications to increase the hiring pool. This is often an effective recruitment strategy when hiring in challenging geographies with limited drivers. Even within a single company, some jobs may mandate different qualifications.
Qualification requirements are not static. When applicant volume is low, decrease the minimum qualifications to increase the hiring pool. When applicant volume is high and job demand is low, consider increasing minimum qualifications.
On the other hand, when applicant volume is high and job demand is low, consider increasing minimum qualifications. Rapid changes to job postings may cause interested drivers to get frustrated by the perceived changing standards. Increase the required qualifications gradually to find the balance point between a sufficient candidate pool and maximizing driver quality. Then, boost your efforts with other recruiting best practices to connect with the drivers who will be valued members of your fleet.