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3 Tips for Hiring a Local Truck Driver

A local truck driver is not the same as the type of person who prefers Regional or OTR routes. Even though both are part of the trucking industry, these are often completely different groups of people. For example, many local drivers highly value home time and family time while OTR drivers are drawn to the call of the open road. Knowing this, align your marketing and recruitment efforts with the priorities of a typical local truck driver in your fleet. If you’re hiring local drivers, here are three tips to help you fill your fleet with quality drivers.

1. Talk About What Local Drivers Care About

Home Time

One of the biggest reasons that some CDL drivers prefer local jobs is for the home time. Driver home time should be clearly stated in your job description, but don’t stop with a general statement.

family time for local truck driver

That’s not enough detail to recruit the quality drivers that you want to hire. Instead, be specific. Drivers want to know when they will be home. Whenever possible, give exact times as well as days of the week. Are they working a day shift or a night shift? Will they be home every weekend? Will they work occasional weekends? Including all of this information in the job description ensures that you’re not wasting time. 

Pay

Every driver wants to know about pay. To recruit the best drivers, companies should offer drivers compensation that is at or above the average for your location and type of haul. If you find yourself deciding between a hiring bonus and higher pay, know that most drivers prefer higher pay. CDL drivers are typically well aware that driving local routes earns less pay than driving OTR, but they want to know what they can expect. 

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.

2. Don’t Leave Out the Details

Schedule

Local drivers expect to be home every day. In addition to sharing the hours or miles that drivers can expect on the job, share specific schedule information in the job description.

Drivers want to know the specifics. Will they have weekends off? What time does the shift start? How long is the typical workday?

For example, what time do shifts typically start, and how long is the average workday? If you are looking for a local truck driver to be on a night route, make sure that’s clear. Also, communicate when drivers will have days off. Drivers want to know whether they will have weekends off, consecutive days midweek, or another combination of days off. When it comes to time off, consistency is key. Local drivers want to know when they can make plans for family gatherings, sports games, and other life events.

Route and Customer Service

local truck driver in Seattle, WAThere can be a lot of variation in route 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?

Another important element of the route is the level of customer service. Share with drivers whether your runs are dedicated and be clear in your expectations for customer engagement. If there is a customer service component, consider offering specific training to your drivers. 

Level of Touch

Regardless of the level of touch required for your local truck driver position, include details in your job description. Loading and unloading aren’t necessarily a dealbreaker for drivers but be upfront about it. As drivers are pushing to be healthier on the job, some local drivers will appreciate the opportunities for additional movement and exercise

3. Articulate Your Value

Value Proposition

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

Why should drivers choose your company over one of your competitors? That’s your value proposition.

It’s what will help you attract drivers and prevent losing drivers to competitors. Your value proposition can include anything from a competitive pay rate to weekends off or a great company culture if these things set you apart. 

Company Culture & Other Benefits

When you are creating your value proposition, consider what a local truck driver in your fleet values. Many local drivers are very family-oriented, so offering immediate medical insurance might be particularly valuable.

Also, because local drivers see their supervisors and colleagues more regularly, a good work environment and company culture can be particularly strong assets. Once you’ve identified your strengths, be sure to include them in job postings and hiring conversations!

recruit and hire local truck drivers

Recruit and Hire Local Truck Drivers

We partner with driver recruiters and hiring managers nationwide to help them recruit and hire local truck drivers for open CDL positions.

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How to Improve Remote Onboarding for Truck Drivers

Whether digital process enhancements have been underway at your company for years or are completely new in your fleet, Coronavirus changed everything. Many tried and true processes for hiring, onboarding, and training are simply not feasible right now. With the possibility of continued social distancing looking likely, establishing a protocol for remote onboarding is well worth the time. Here are a few best practices that have proven successful in the trucking industry.

Prioritize People

Driver safety has to be a high priority for all fleets during this time. Drivers have questions about everything from orientation to sanitation. It’s important to address these concerns quickly and compassionately.

As you hire new drivers, it may be tempting to increase efficiency by removing human contact in the onboarding process and relying solely on technology. In this case, removing the personal touch is a counterproductive strategy. 

With reduced face to face contact, reaching out to new employees becomes even more important. Each interaction becomes more meaningful because there are fewer touchpoints. Studies have demonstrated that most driver turnover happens within one year. With such limited time, it’s critical to start out on the right foot. What you do in response to the challenges of trucking during Coronavirus will leave a lasting impression. With that in mind, even with remote onboarding, make every effort to warmly welcome new drivers into your company. 

Get Organized

Transitioning to remote onboarding for the foreseeable future may require a significant shift in workflow. As you prepare to refine the rapidly implemented processes of this spring, consider what you will need to move more permanently to remote onboarding. 

Gather the requisite hiring documents and establish a secure system for sharing them with drivers. That might include driver contracts, tax documentation, and any other hiring forms you typically request. 

Throughout the entire process, allocate more time than you would usually consider necessary. Both management and employees are likely going through several “first-times.” A buffer allows everyone involved to work through challenges without the pressure of a tight deadline.

Digitize Your Material

Review the training files you would normally give to new drivers. If a digital copy doesn’t already exist, make one and decide how you will share that information. Fleets with greater financial flexibility may consider working with a learning management system designed for onboarding truck drivers. For companies on a tight budget, start with free tools like online repositories that let you share files and folders. Drivers should be able to access much of their training material remotely.

There are some training components that work well in person but fall flat online. Avoid trying to use materials designed for in-person orientation in exactly the same format online. Instead, use this time to consider how that information is best presented in a virtual format. Often, that means shorter “in-person” sessions, and more opportunities for drivers to learn at their own pace.

Communicate Clearly

As you move forward with changes to your remote onboarding process, don’t forget that drivers are also in uncharted territory. Many drivers may not immediately be comfortable with using technology for onboarding. For some drivers, this may be the first time they are using many of the online job training tools. 

Prior to the onboarding process, communicate with drivers about exactly what they can expect. 

If you are using specific technologies, share the details early. When possible, give drivers time to explore programs like video calls on their own to prepare. Any guidance you can offer on accessing information will also help smooth the process. 

Infuse Your Culture

Driver orientation and onboarding is about more than information sharing from your company. It’s also when drivers meet their peers and supervisors. It’s hard to replace this kind of natural networking in remote onboarding. Video calls, social networks, and personal phone calls or emails all help bridge the gap.

During orientation, consider arranging at least one video call for all new drivers. This is also the perfect opportunity to launch a mentoring program. Then, new drivers meet other members of the fleet and have at least one personal connection to regularly connect with as they start their new job.

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Remote Onboarding

This free guide helps you transition to remote onboarding to boost your driver recruitment and retention. Use this guide to help get your remote orientation process right the first time.

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Total Compensation for Drivers: Communicating Effectively

Job offers that are limited to salary and health benefits tell a partial story. If you have great perks, equipment, or company culture, don’t miss a chance to talk about it! Total Compensation statements are a great way to showcase all of the direct and indirect compensation benefits you are offering to truck drivers. They won’t make up for bad pay, but they are a good way to highlight all of the assets you have to offer. In short, a total compensation package accounts for the complete pay package awarded to employees on an annual basis.

Direct compensation is the money that is paid directly to an employee. It typically includes base salary and incentive pay. On the other hand, indirect compensation accounts for all of the compensation that is not paid directly to the employee. Healthcare, retirement benefits, fuel perks, and continuing education opportunities are just a few examples of indirect compensation.

When talking to a candidate, share both the direct and indirect compensation to effectively communicate what you have to offer.

Typically, the more detail you’re able to give, the more beneficial the statement will be. Here are several common assets to include in a total compensation package.

Direct Compensation

Direct Compensation is divided into two main categories⁠—base pay and bonuses. These are the most common forms of compensation that come to mind for most people.

Base Pay

Whether you state base pay as an hourly rate or annual salary, be clear about your offering. At a minimum, include how much can drivers expect, the anticipated hours or miles, and how frequently they will get paid. If your company offers a per diem rate, this can also be included.

Bonuses

Clarify the potential for driver bonuses from the start. A few of the most common are safety, sign-on, performance, retention, and referral bonuses. Consider sharing the average amount that drivers receive from bonuses in addition to the top amount. By sharing both, drivers have realistic expectations (boosting driver satisfaction and retention) and a goal to strive for.

Indirect Compensation

Indirect compensation includes a very broad range of offerings. Most companies offer several forms of indirect compensation, but may not discuss it in their job offer. That’s a missed opportunity! Let drivers know about all of the benefits you’re providing them. While it may not come as money in the pocket, indirect compensation can be significant financial assets. Drivers who are a good fit for your fleet will value the benefits your company provides.

Health and Wellness

Medical benefits, life insurance, retirement benefits, and disability insurance are all common forms of health and wellness benefits. Nearly all fleets offer basic healthcare, and many go above and beyond. This section should communicate when benefits start as well as the details of each package. If you offer a 401K match, that’s another great asset to include in this section. Even perks like a gym membership allowance or smoking cessation programs can be included here. Drivers love to see that you are prioritizing their health by supporting their healthy habits. 

Days off

Paid time off and vacation days are another form of indirect compensation that drivers value highly. If you are offering any additional sick days or benefits for drivers who get sick with COVID-19, make sure your total compensation package includes that time. In addition, always include the anticipated schedule for home time in a job description or compensation package. 

Continued Education

Learning and development offerings are a wealth of opportunities for drivers. Many potential employees will be particularly excited to find a company that supports their professional growth. Whether you offer compensation for educational assistance programs or regularly facilitate career advancement opportunities, these are a form of indirect compensation. Not all drivers will take advantage of continued education opportunities, but those who do will be highly appreciative. 

Perks

Once you have covered the big benefits like health insurance and PTO, it might be easy to overlook smaller perks, but they add up! Perks can help drivers with big expenses such as relocation benefits or maintenance benefits. They might also defray the cost of smaller, regular expenses such as highway tolls, or gas. If you offer an EZ Pass or a Fuel Card, list it in your total compensation package.

Highlight Non-Financial Incentives

When asked, drivers revealed that there are consistently two top factors that determine whether they are looking for a new job: pay and company culture. Company leadership and culture are difficult to equate to a compensation amount. That said, they are no less important to driver recruitment and retention. If you prioritize a family-like culture or are very safety-minded, it’s appropriate to include this in your total compensation package. 

Foodliner, Inc. is one of the largest bulk food carriers in the country and a Transport Topic Top 100 carrier. They make a point to highlight company culture in their job descriptions. We spoke with Tim Yochum, Foodliner’s Director of Recruiting, and this is what he shared:

“The culture of a family owned business that values their people, treats them with respect, and works well together as a team is what makes us successful and provides a more positive experience for the driver. We have late model equipment, high quality shops, and a great customer base, but in the end it is people that make it all work.”

Similarly, quality equipment is a high priority for most drivers and can be included. Consider adding the year and type of truck as well as whether it is manual or automatic. Then, highlight any additions to the cab. If you provide a fridge, microwave, Sirius XM radio, or allow ride-along programs, share it in your total compensation package. To recruit drivers, there are also other attractive non-financial incentives that you can implement.

Communicating Total Compensation Effectively

After you have clarified exactly what your company is able to offer potential candidates, start drafting the total compensation statement. Ultimately, you’re looking for good hires and strong retention. Tim Yochum shares why he prioritizes transparency at Foodliner:

“We list non-monetary compensation in our job postings and if a candidate contacts us we are very open to providing the details of the compensation so they understand how this can affect their total compensation package. Honesty up front verses a surprise later is what we feel candidates value and appreciate. We feel that if the only reason you take a job is the money, then that will eventually be the reason you leave the job. We want the candidate to understand how the total package affects them and their family.”

Give as much detail as you are able to clearly share. It’s important for drivers to have all of the necessary information to make a decision. Even if drivers decline the job offer, that is a better outcome than hiring drivers with misleading information. If drivers feel like they have been intentionally deceived, they are more likely to quit and will have a poor impression of the company. There should be no hidden surprises. Clear communication that highlights everything you have to offer is the best approach to a total compensation package.

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7 Reasons Drivers Decline Your Jobs

Unlock the top reasons why truck drivers decline your CDL jobs by downloading our free ebook. The book shares insight to what drivers really want.

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How to Use Behavioral Interviewing to Hire Better Drivers

It takes more than a valid commercial driver’s license and a good safety record to be a top-performing professional truck driver. A driver may meet all the minimum technical requirements for the job. They may have previous tractor-trailer experience, a valid license type, and the required endorsements. Even so, that driver still may not fit your job or company well.

To reduce driver turnover and improve your company culture, prioritize the quality and fit of your drivers. Building a high performing team requires evaluating and rewarding drivers. That’s true for not only the work a driver does but also how they do their work. No one can predict how successful someone will be in their job. That said, behavioral interviewing will help you hire better drivers by evaluating their previous performance as a signal of their future performance.

What is Behavioral Interviewing and How is it Different?

Behavioral interviewing is based on the belief that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Behavioral interviewing states that how a candidate has handled a situation in the past is the best way to understand and predict how they will behave in the future.

This style of interviewing uses historic evidence from a candidate to predict future behavior using behavioral competencies, not traits or skills.

Competencies as a benchmark for hiring were introduced by psychologists in the early 1970s. Studies were conducted that demonstrated that knowledge-based and intelligence tests did not accurately predict candidate success in a new role. In time, psychologists developed competencies based on empirical data gathered by job incumbents with exceptional performance in specific functional roles. Competency models have become the core of modern behavioral interviewing. One set that is widely used is the detailed list of 67 competencies known as the Lominger competencies.

Vocabulary to Know

As you prepare to use behavioral interviewing with your staff, there are a few phrases to clarify. Get to know the differences so you can differentiate between them during an interview.

 Traits 

Traits are characteristics that are deeply ingrained and typically don’t change a lot over time. Gregariousness is a good example of a trait.

Attributes/Skills

Attributes are skills in the context of a behavior. They typically develop because of experiences, and people often learn attributes over time. A few examples are motivation and loyalty. Look for evidence of these attributes such as a job promotion.

 Competencies

Competencies are a combination of skills and behaviors. An interviewer can easily identify and measure competencies. They are the way we practice certain behaviors. Problem-solving, priority setting, and conflict management are examples of competencies.

How It Works

behavioral interviewingTo successfully use behavioral interviewing, there are a few steps. First, review a competency chart. Then, identify the competencies that are most important to successfully doing the jobs you have open.  For all truck drivers, planning, problem-solving, and time management are likely to be high on your list.

For drivers who regularly work with customers, you may prioritize customer focus. On the other hand, it may be a secondary priority for OTR drivers who spend long hours solo on the road with less customer interaction. For an OTR position, problem-solving and technical skills may be key.

Once you know the required competencies, develop a list of behavioral-based interview questions. You will need one question for each competency to assess whether candidates have what you need. All behavioral interviewers should train in the STAR model before evaluating candidates. This teaches interviewers to ask questions that allow the candidate to describe his or her past experiences. Interviewers will listen closely for the Situation or Task the candidate encountered, the Actions they took, and the Result of their actions. Interviewers should assess each answer while citing behavioral indicators that verify how the candidate previously showed behaviors that led to success.

Benefits of Behavioral Interviewing

Everyone wants to sound their best during an interview, and it’s natural for humans to be selective in their storytelling. It’s all too easy for a candidate to embellish or stretch the truth when talking about themselves. Unfortunately, as an interviewer, this makes your job very difficult. Even a well-meaning enhancement of what a driver would do in a situation can create a biased interview. It’s much harder to completely make up a situation that has already happened. When in doubt, there are often other sources who can confirm what a driver has said.

Behavioral interviewing was developed to more accurately assess candidates based on behavior-based proof and to reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process. This type of hiring helps interviewers to look for competencies rather than traits. Then, you are more likely to hire based on the ability to successfully perform a job. It will also reduce hiring bias toward candidates who seem like a good fit primarily because they look, sound, or behave like you.

Quick Guide to Behavioral Interviewing

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Behavioral Interviewing

How a candidate handled a past situation is the best way to understand and predict future behavior. Use this free guide to hire high-quality drivers and reduce your turnover rate.

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3 Best Ways to Reach Truck Drivers for a Big ImpactRecruiting truck drivers is a complex process. Drivers have so many things competing for their attention constantly. So, recruiters must be flexible and creative to be sure their messages get to prospective drivers, and that the message is clear and in a format a driver will best receive it. In the current climate, delivering a clear message to reach truck drivers is more important than ever. If you are hiring and looking to bring on new drivers, here are 3 best ways to reach truck drivers for a big impact.

1. Be Optimized for Mobile

Professional truck drivers don’t spend much time sitting behind a desktop computer. With most of the day spent behind the wheel, it is likely that a few quick peeks at their phone during pit stops would be the best time to get your message to a prospective driver. What do you need to do to improve your postings to get better engagement? Think about the way the driver will see them first.

If you’re sending out emails or running ads for your jobs, be sure that they are optimized for mobile devices. Don’t take the chance that your message will not be well-received if it’s not.

You want to ensure that the most common tool a driver is getting their info from is the way that you are tailoring your communications to them. Your first impression on a driver may be made on their phone. So it’s important to focus on optimizing your recruiting for mobile devices.

2. It’s a Digital World

Being competitive in the driver recruiting business means your overall strategy needs to have a strong digital plan to reach truck drivers. And a great way to help your people connect with drivers, is to use technology to complement your recruiting efforts. If a driver has an unpleasant experience with your website or application system, that might make a bad first impression on your potential new candidates.

Using systems and technology that put the driver’s needs and expectations first, is a fantastic way to have an electronic introduction be a smooth one.

Otherwise you risk alienating a good driver before you even get a chance to speak with them. You want to a make your interactions simple and straightforward to ensure they continue to engage with your recruiting efforts.

3. Is Your Message Driver-Centric?

Working to reach truck drivers truck drivers with your message, means your message needs to be focused on their needs. You need to be on trend with putting your driver’s needs first.

Do your research with your current drivers to find out their preferences in communication. Are they more inclined to one social media platform vs. another? What did they like and dislike about looking for their last job?

Take this information and help your team hone your recruiting messages that will attract and retain the type of drivers that you want to hire. Once you craft those messages, use the right tools to help deliver them.

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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The most well informed recruitment plans have drivers at their core. In a finely tuned trucking recruitment plan, the needs and preferences of your drivers sit side by side with company logistics and priorities. First, listen closely to the questions, concerns, and priorities expressed by drivers. These are valuable insights that will help close leads. Similarly, marketing, budgeting, and technology are the infrastructure that supports the relationship between recruiters and drivers.

Start With Drivers

Developing trust with drivers requires a significant investment of time. Building a relationship with drivers takes multiple touchpoints, ideally on their schedule. That may mean making time during evenings or weekends to speak with drivers. In conversations with prospective drivers, be clear early on about pay, hours, home time, and other key details. Your total number of driver leads may decrease as a result, but it’s worth it. As a result, you will retain quality leads who are more likely to become hires.

Ask drivers what attracted them to your job post and, when relevant, why they are no longer interested. Then, use this data to refine your job descriptions. If there is one aspect of the job that is consistently cited as a problem, consider creative solutions. Is there an opportunity to increase driver pay? If not, what non-financial incentives can you offer that will attract drivers?

Connect Recruiting and Marketing

Once you have identified which job aspects most appeal to drivers, align marketing and recruiting efforts. Platforms targeted toward recruiting drivers like social media pages and your company website should present a cohesive story that highlights the most compelling parts of your company.

If you’re unsure how to refine your media presence, start with feedback loops. Create visible channels through which drivers can give feedback.

Thoughtfully review driver comments and reactions. Then, assess comments for actionable steps and implement any changes that make sense. Throughout this process, track driver lead attribution to identify which channels most effectively engage drivers. Identify marketing channels with a low cost per hire (CPH), and increase spend there. 

One of the most powerful lead generators is word of mouth. Consider implementing a referral program for current drivers to help recruit new employees. To start, designate specific time and resources for the internal marketing of referral initiatives. Similarly, include marketing efforts for retention as a key element of recruitment. Retaining drivers is one of the most cost-effective and time-efficient ways to keep a fleet running smoothly. 

Account for Large and Small Expenses

When creating a budget for a trucking recruitment plan, it’s easy to overlook variations in cost per hire. Often, these are recurring costs, and those numbers add up quicklyIncreasing budget precision in your trucking recruitment plan may increase your intended spend. 

When reporting up for budget approval, revenue is the bottom line.

Assess the revenue totals for an incomplete fleet. Next, compare that to the revenue that could be generated with a fleet at full capacity. A well-defined recruitment budget clearly demonstrates the increased revenue potential of a fleet operating at full capacity. Here are a few places to make sure you have accurately assessed your costs.

Turnover

Driver churn is a huge part of the recruitment process. Realistically, failing to account for the extra drivers you will need to hire to compensate for turnover will set your budget back substantially. 

If Company A has a 100 driver fleet and a 50% turnover rate, they will still need to recruit more than 50 new drivers annually. You have to account for turnover within your new hires. That’s an additional 25 drivers! Company A should plan a recruitment budget for a total of 75 new hires to maintain their fleet size.

Referrals & Rehires

Not all hires have the same cost. Referrals and rehires are typically a lower cost per hire than a cold lead because they already have a warm introduction to your company. As a result, these hires should be assigned a lower cost in a trucking recruitment plan. With that in mind, if rehires are not currently a part of your recruitment budget, add them! Allocating resources to retaining drivers will save capital in the long run if you can reduce turnover.

Hiring Across Divisions

Just as referrals and rehires have a different cost per hire than other leads, large fleets may also see a significant difference in CPH across divisions. For example, local no-touch freight jobs are likely to require less time and expense than an OTR livestock position. Analyze historical CPH data and use that information to create a more precise budget.

Use Technology as Infrastructure

Successful recruiting is personal, but the technical aspects cannot be ignored. Essentially, technology is the infrastructure that supports human relationships in recruiting. Everything from your company website to specific job applications must be mobile friendly to optimize driver engagement. 

Technology is the infrastructure that supports interpersonal relationships in recruiting.

Technology can remove inefficiencies in your recruitment process. First, conduct a systematic review to identify areas of lost, misallocated, or delayed information. Randall Reilly has compiled a list of common recruitment inefficiencies in the trucking industry. Then, evaluate your ATS and ensure that no leads are being lost or incorrectly attributed. Next, encourage recruiters to get qualifying information early. After, immediately eliminate any unqualified leads. Finally, carefully nurture your qualified leads

Calendars and standardized note taking practices can safeguard against lost leads. In addition, when leads are disqualified, track the reason. If a pattern emerges, you may be able to streamline your recruitment process. It pays to eliminate disqualified leads earlier in the pipeline because it saves time in the long run.

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

hiring truck drivers

Recruiting is all about building, maintaining, and nurturing personal relationships. In this uncertain time, there’s one counterintuitive rule to remember. Even if you’re not hiring truck drivers, keep recruiting. Doing so will help you smoothly transition back to hiring drivers when your fleet is back to normal. 

Maintaining your recruitment efforts may seem like the last thing you’d want to do when you’re downsizing. Don’t be lulled into complacency. If you only focus on your plans for the next few weeks, you will be too late. Continuing to nurture your pipeline is critical to your company’s long-term health, but your strategy may have to change as a result of the global health crisis. Uncertain times require improvising, adapting, and overcoming obstacles. When you’re not actively hiring truck drivers, focus on building relationships in your recruitment pipeline. Here are a few best practices.

1. Don’t Lose Interested Applicants

As HR professionals know all too well, recruiting isn’t a faucet that you can turn on and off. Leads that are not consistently nurtured will turn cold and disengage. Even when you’re not hiring truck drivers, it’s important to develop your relationships for future employment.

Consider that consumers typically take three to nine months to make a decision. In this case, your jobs are a product, and applicants are your consumers. Most people spend the majority of our waking hours at work, and making a job change is a really big decision.

It’s too early to predict when freight demands will increase and hiring will resume, but you need to be ready. Continue to build a relationship with interested drivers. Found out what is important to them and whether you are a good fit. Then, when the time comes to bring in drivers, you’ll be prepared to quickly fill your open positions.

2. Stay Visible

Dee Sova from Prime Trucking

Example Campaign from Drive My Way

It’s important to stay top of mind for drivers even if you’re not hiring right now. While more drivers are in the market for a new job now, the competition remains very high for experienced, high performing drivers with exceptional safety records. A lull in recruiting is a good time to promote marketing campaigns. Highlight your current drivers with tasteful video campaigns.

There is no better endorsement for being a great place to work than one from current drivers who are happy that they joined and chose to stay. You can also take advantage of social media trends like #thankatrucker. Provide resources for current and prospective drivers to increase brand awareness and strengthen ties to your company. 

As a recruiter, it’s important to keep your energy high even when working from home. Continue making calls to drivers. Cultivating relationships in a hiring slowdown will make you an obvious choice when drivers are changing jobs in the future. Drivers are not shy about sharing their experiences with others. Employers will be remembered for the actions they took and how they treated drivers during this difficult time. 

3. Fine-Tune Your Message

With uncertainty rippling through the trucking industry, clear, positive communication is more important than ever. As a fleet, the best strategy is to be transparent about your position.

If you are not hiring new drivers, be honest with applicants. Even if you are not able to offer jobs right now, be a resource to drivers.

In recruitment conversations and all other company messaging, strive to acknowledge the current hardships, be authentic, and offer valuable, curated information that drivers can use. This is also an opportunity to optimize your outreach with video campaigns and a mobile-friendly interface. Setting the appropriate tone helps drivers respect and relate to your brand and will foster relationships with potential hires. 

4. Seek Out Opportunities That May Be Available in a Few Months

A hiring lull is the perfect time to look toward the future. The strategic recruiting plan that you laid out in early 2020 may or may not be the right fit for your company going forward. As you approach hiring for Q3 and Q4 of 2020 and beyond, do you anticipate your hiring needs changing? What is different about the drivers you need to recruit and how will your company meet those demands? Use the Drive My Way Ultimate Guide for Truck Driver Recruiting to create a comprehensive recruitment plan for the months ahead.

It is more important than ever to understand what drivers prioritize in a job.

Previously, drivers may have been asking for local jobs or flexible rider policies. Now, their focus may be on PTO policies for sickness or your truck cleaning standards. Listen carefully to what drivers are looking for and shape your marketing and recruiting efforts accordingly. This recruitment slowdown is also a great time to offer operations experience to recruiters to help your whole team align with current drivers’ experiences. Pairing a recruiter with a dispatcher or terminal manager may give them a perspective on drivers’ needs.

5. Prepare for Continued Remote Processes

Slowly but surely, companies are re-opening and finding a new normal. The widespread shutdowns due to COVID-19 will continue to ease, but the effects of the pandemic are likely to linger for far longer. With millions of Americans becoming remote workers overnight, virtual recruiting and onboarding have become the norm for many companies. Even as restrictions on in-person work environments are relaxed, prepare to manage your candidate lifecycle virtually.

While the circumstances have caused us to adapt and be distant, that does not mean that we have to lose the personal connection. In recent years, several companies, including Luma Brighter Learning, have started offering online Learning Management Systems (LMS) for onboarding truck drivers. It’s a strategy that is effective for both companies and drivers. We spoke with Luma Brighter Learning CEO, Gina Anderson, and she shared her perspective on why synchronous online learning is a great option for trucking fleets.

“The carriers are saving time, they’re saving money, they’re becoming more efficient, and they’re making their drivers happy.” Gina continued, “There’s not one way to train people. That’s why it’s so valuable to be able to provide mixed methods of training [using platforms like Luma]. You don’t have to get rid of synchronous (same-time) training — you can do it online. Drivers can learn any time, any place.”

Gina Anderson went on to add that it’s no longer a question of whether or not to implement online learning systems for drivers. Drivers still value real-time connections with peers, mentors, and trainers, so companies should be asking themselves how to make virtual onboarding possible. Asking drivers to complete the basics in a synchronous online environment is a cost-effective strategy to streamline your onboarding process while still complying with social distancing restrictions and engaging your driver community.  

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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The FMCSA Clearinghouse went into effect in January of this year. As with many industry-wide changes, there were some technical problems early on, but now, 90 days later, the majority of these have been resolved. 

The intent of the Clearinghouse was to identify drivers with positive DOT drug and alcohol tests. It is doing just that. Nearly 8,000 positive results have been identified. That may seem like a severe reduction in available drivers. However, it does increase the percentage of candidates who are eligible for employment. It also reduces the likelihood that a good carrier loses a driver to a less reputable company. The Clearinghouse ensures that companies are following the same hiring policies. 

Here’s how you can make the most of the FMCSA Clearinghouse.

1. Reduce Processing Delays

As with any new system implementation, it will take some time for the Clearinghouse to become a well oiled machine. In the meantime, one of the best ways to improve your user experience is by reducing the processing delays. In order for your request to be processed, drivers must have already completed their CDL information. To confirm whether a driver has registered, ask them login to their Clearinghouse account. If the driver has not fully registered, there will be a note on the account prompting them to do so. 

If you are confident that the driver has completed their CDL information but your query is still pending, it may be lacking driver consent. To authorize a query, a driver must login and give consent for employers to access their record. If the driver has logged in and cannot see the consent request, you can cancel the original request and resend an identical one to reset the process. 

2. Take Advantage of Bulk Uploads

If you have a large batch of queries to process simultaneously from the Clearinghouse, consider conducting a bulk upload. Use the FMCSA’s bulk upload template.  To do a bulk upload, create a tab-delimited file that can be uploaded to the Clearinghouse. The file should include the following fields:

  • LastName 
  • FirstName
  • Date of Birth. Format is MM/DD/YYYY
  • CDL – Commercial Driver’s License or Commercial Learner’s Permit Number
  • Country Code of CDL issuance. For Canada: CN; Mexico: MX, United States: US
  • State of CDL issuance. For the U.S. and Canada, use two letter State/Province codes. Use MX for Mexico
  • Query Type – Choose one of the following:
    1. Limited Query
    2. Full Query
    3. Pre-employment Query
    4. Limited Query with Automatic Consent Request

3. Be Proactive

Employers are now required to conduct a query on potential employees before they operate a CMV. So, it is in your interest to expedite the process if possible. Many drivers have already registered on the Clearinghouse if they are job searching. Unfortunately, there are also still many who haven’t. As you approach the point of hire with a new driver, be proactive and ask them whether they are registered. Going forward, make this a standard part of your interview or hiring process. You can help drivers register if they haven’t already. 

4. Manage Existing Employees

At the time of the creation of the Clearinghouse, all drivers were added to the system. That does not mean that all drivers are registered.

As an employer, you do not need to register drivers who are existing employees.

For drivers who are already with your company, you can use the Clearinghouse to conduct your annual review. It is only when drivers are at the point of changing jobs or being hired, that they must be registered. 

5. Understand the Nuances

All drivers who are hired for CDL-A positions going forward will need to pass the Clearinghouse query. That said, the query does not need to have been completed by the time of hire.

Drivers can be hired by a new employer, but are prohibited from operating a commercial motorized vehicle (CMV) until they pass the Clearinghouse.

Employers can now decide whether to incorporate the Clearinghouse query prior to the point of employment, or to complete the query following employment but prior to operation of a CMV.

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employee value proposition

It’s time to go back to your roots. Every company needs to identify their business value proposition. An employee value proposition is exactly the same. Identify your employee value proposition, and consider it your north star. 

As you grow as a carrier, it’s easy for your core hiring offerings to get lost. Avoid the trap. A strong employee value proposition is about more than improved marketing. It should drive everything from your recruiting to your business model. Can you answer in 1-3 sentences:

1. Why is my company different (and better) than the competition?
2. What about my company is attractive to truck drivers?

This is your Employee Value Proposition. 

hours of service proposed ruleWhy is an Employee Value Proposition Critical?

The way we recruit employees has changed. Over the past decade, candidates have been steadily becoming more and more powerful in the job search. As a result, attracting the best talent has become harder than ever. As an employer, consistent and efficient communication of your employee value proposition has become extremely important.

Tips to Make Your Employee Value Proposition Stand Out

Now that you have identified your employee value proposition, make sure you package it in a way that is attractive to candidates. Here are a few tips to help you stand out from the crowd.

1. Move Beyond the Pay Rate

Your future drivers need more than a paycheck to be happy. It’s true, pay is often one of the first things cited by drivers as either a huge benefit of or drawback of a company, but you need to go deeper.

Start by thinking about what you have to offer as other forms of compensation: benefits, bonuses programs, loyalty incentives, other perks. Then, go beyond the finances.

Do you excel at creating a positive work culture or work environment with fair treatment or great home/family time? How about a focus on career? Career development opportunities and strong training or orientation programs can be very attractive to drivers. Make sure you can clearly identify what makes your company a great place to work. Then, talk about it! 

2. Make it Compelling

truck driver job description templateAn Employee Value Proposition should provide the foundation for your recruiting and retention strategy. It must be unique, compelling, and relevant if it is to act as a key driver of talent attraction, engagement, and retention. Be clear in what you offer, and make sure to cover all the core reasons that people are proud and motivated to work at your company. 

If you have a great company culture, try to capture your distinct company experience. Are your drivers offered good home time? Build on the emotional aspects of why your company considers that important. Those reasons will resonate with your drivers and tell them you care about their well being as an individual, both on and off the job. Make sure to incorporate your value proposition into your job descriptions.

Free Template: Truck Driver Job Description

Follow this template to make sure your job descriptions are converting.

 

3. Talk About it In the Interview

Crucial Conversations with Driver Candidates: 3 Ways to Prepare

When interviewing a truck driver, focus on why your company is better than the competition. You are considering these drivers as potential employees. But, they also need to be sold on your company. Why is your company so special? How are you different? Why do drivers want to join your company and stay with you? Don’t let a good candidate leave the interview without sharing your employee value proposition. They need to view your company as a strong personal and professional fit.

4. Focus on What Matters

An effective value proposition rests on the foundation of driver personas. When you know what kind of drivers you want, you can align your value proposition with their interests.

To Determine Your Driver Personas: 

  1. Define the most important characteristics of your ideal driver. Do you need someone who is:
    • Reliable/timely?
    • Confidence/perseverance?
    • Courteous/willing to help others?
    • A good mechanic?
    • Prioritizing healthy habits?
  2. Set your goals
    • How many drivers do you need?
    • What’s your typical recruiting conversion rate?
    • Based on that, how many leads do you need?
    • Do you currently have empty trucks?
    • How are you planning for future growth?  

Use your ideal driver persona and your company goals to steer your employee value proposition. When they are well aligned, you are more likely to attract the drivers you want to hire. 

5. Consider Your Candidates Against Your Employee Value Proposition

With a little training and practice, probably most people can manage to drive a tractor-trailer. However, professional truck driving is more than just getting a vehicle from Point A to Point B. 

Great truck drivers are much more than mere steering-wheel holders. Driving a heavy vehicle with its cargo of costly supplies and equipment and keeping to a demanding schedule isn’t a job for an ordinary driver.

Use your ideal driver persona to evaluate applicants. Then, consider whether those applicants are attracted by your Employee Value Proposition. If so, you’ve likely found a good fit. If not, you may want to consider what types of benefits would be most attractive to the types of drivers you want to recruit. Doing so will make it easier to recruit those drivers AND retain them for longer.

The Quick Guide to Employee Value Proposition

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Employee Value Proposition

This free guide helps you create your employee value proposition and also effectively communicate it to drivers.

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What's the True Cost of Hiring a Truck Driver?

There are many ways to measure the success of your hiring process. Some things are more well defined. Other things are a little more subjective or hard to wrangle. But no matter how you decide to look at it, dollars spent to hire a great candidate is consistently at top of the list. So it’s important that you know what these costs are for your company. Let’s take a look at the true cost of hiring a truck driver.

How to Calculate Your Cost Per Hire

This calculation may vary depending on who you ask. But for the record, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and the American National Standards Institute standardized the equation in 2012. The calculation they set is as follows:

Divide all the money you spend on hiring-related items, both internally and externally, by the number of hires in a set period—a year, a quarter, or even the length of a concentrated campaign.

Turnover Is Your Enemy

Now that you understand the calculation and have an idea of where to get started, there’s another piece of the hiring puzzle that needs to be factored as well. And that’s your turnover rate.

The trucking industry faces high turnover rates. According to some surveys, over 50% of newly hired drivers will leave their carriers within the first six months. In some cases, turnover can be closer to 90-100% over a year.

Looking at those stats, it’s easy to see why turnover is a problem. Don’t fall into the trap of hiring simply to fill an empty rig as quickly as possible. If you’re hiring quickly and not taking the time to ensure you’re a good match for each other, it’s not likely it’s going to be a relationship that will last. Every time you hire a new trucker, hire with the intention to retain that driver. This way, you’re doing things up-front to mitigate the impact of driver turnover.

So if you go through the hiring process from start to finish just to lose the driver to another company after a few months, it’s going to cost more over time. When you keep repeating the cycle, it’s going to cost your company exponentially more. And you’re still going to have empty seats to fill. The cost of turnover should be factored into your costs when hiring a trucker.

So What’s the Real Cost of Hiring a Truck Driver?

Recruiting and hiring truck drivers have costs. Additionally, there’s costs to retain that driver once they’ve been hired. There are several ways to look at the hiring process and develop a budget for the pieces from start to finish.

The actual math is not the tough part here. It’s finding all of the costs you’d attribute to the cost of hiring. Not just the cost that got you the leads, but the costs that got you all the way to hiring a new driver.

Since you want to look at everything it took to get a new driver hired, you need to look at everything involved in the process. This is where things can get a little muddy when trying to find an industry number to compare. If you look around at industry websites, you’ll find a ballpark of about $5,000 to $10,000 per hire.

Your company’s cost per hire will be unique to the way you recruit and hire drivers. And it might take some time and refinement to ensure you’re looking at it correctly.

Measure Consistently for Best Results

The best way to look at this cost calculation and cost is to always measure it consistently. This is the only way that you’re going to be able to compare things year-over-year and be able to tell if the changes you’re making are helping to reduce your true cost of hiring a truck driver. Overall, you want this number to be as low as possible to deliver you a quality driver who wants to stay with your company. Once you are tracking consistently, you should see some trends that help inform changes to your overall hiring strategies.

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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