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truck driver interview questions
Good truck driver interview questions are an opportunity to build a relationship with drivers while looking for job fit. The best recruiters use a conversational style to learn more about drivers’ experiences and skills as well as their goals for a new job. The better you know the drivers, the more likely you are to find someone who fits well with your fleet. Informative and approachable truck driver interview questions are the foundation of a strong recruitment for retention strategy.

1. Start With the Basics

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. 

Chelsee Patton and Truck

Chelsee Patton, Director of Recruiting at RTI

We spoke with Chelsee Patton, Director of Recruiting at RTI and CDL holder, about effective interviewing as part of recruitment. She shared these thoughts, I would take a look internally at your current approach to recruiting and think about how different you can be vs. what you’re doing today. When you have a driver call you, and you are talking to that driver, first just listen to what you’re saying. Are you automatically going into, “How much experience do you have? How many tickets? How many accidents?” vs. conversationally talking through all that with them. …One thing I would definitely encourage is to qualify your drivers through conversation.”

As you build a relationship 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. Others may focus exclusively on pay or home time. Both drivers could fit the job. 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 some 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 down the road. 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

ChelseeInPink 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. 

We asked Chelsee about RTI’s recruiting goals and the trucking predictive index. She noted that,

“The ultimate goal is to hire drivers who stay with us for a long time. We want to solve the retention problem that exists today… My approach and Chad [Hendricks]’s approach is to solve that problem in the long term, and hopefully, the predictive index will do that.”

She continued, “If we can market to the drivers who are similar to our drivers and have similar characteristics, maybe we have a better chance of gaining and hiring some of those drivers. And then when they come aboard, they’ll be some of our champion drivers who stay with us for years and years.”

Ultimately, drivers may decide that the job is not a good fit. It’s better to be transparent and find that out in early recruitment conversations. You may also have concerns about the driver being a good fit. Be direct in your questions as well. For example, if a driver interviews for a job that is different from their background (for example, an OTR driver switching to local), ask questions to make sure they are ready for the switch. All of these questions help align your hiring efforts with strong driver retention. 

4. Use Behavioral Interviewing

If you have a strong driver candidate based on their goals and qualifications, use behavioral interviewing to assess their competencies on the job. Behavioral interviewing states that how a candidate has handled situations in the past is the best predictor of future behavior. Evaluate drivers based on competencies, which are measurable ways we practice certain behaviors. Problem-solving, priority setting, and conflict management are all examples of competencies.

Behavioral interviewing helps identify top candidates based on their behavior in past situations.

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 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.

5. Share the Mic

truck drivingTruck 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 are a strong candidate but are 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. 

Truck driver interview questions are an opportunity to get to know potential candidates and focus on drivers who will boost retention. Each type of question will draw out information about driver candidates and works well in a conversational interview. 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

straight truck drivers
Hiring high-quality straight truck drivers is no easy feat right now. The demand for drivers is high, and the supply of drivers doesn’t match the current demand. That means that it’s a driver’s market, and companies must offer quality jobs that stand out to drivers to attract top talent. If you’re hiring straight truck drivers, these four tips will help you get the most out of every online or personal recruiting message.

1. Create Driver Personas

The first step to effectively hiring straight truck drivers is to know exactly who you are looking for. Driver personas are an opportunity to paint a picture of your ideal employees. What skills and endorsements do they have? Are there specific personality traits that are important to your jobs? Go beyond surface characteristics. Once you have a general idea of your ideal employees, consider what motivates these types of drivers.

As you develop your driver personas, study what makes straight truck drivers unique. Typically, straight truck drivers are looking for local work and regular home time. Many may have a family that they want to spend more time with. These drivers may not have a CDL A license. Their license type may give you insight into what kind of driving career that driver is looking for. A well-developed driver persona should clarify and direct recruiting efforts for hiring straight truck drivers.

2. Speak to Driver Priorities

Straight truck drivers are highly sought after right now. It’s a driver’s market, so companies need to make jobs appealing in order to stand out from the competition. Driver personas give insight into your ideal candidates, and this information is valuable. Use the insights on driver motivation and priorities to inform recruiting and marketing decisions. Driver priorities should be front and center in online marketing and advertising. In addition, these details can be part of recruiting conversations. Not all driver candidates will fit your profile, so take the time in recruiting conversations to ask a few questions about driver goals and priorities. Then, highlight how your available jobs are a good fit for that candidate.

It’s a driver’s market, so companies need to make jobs appealing in order to stand out from the competition.

When speaking with drivers, get them the information they care about quickly and succinctly. The driver personas can help guide the tone and content of your conversation, but the basics are still essential. Drivers want to know about compensation, home time, schedule, route, equipment, and customer interaction. Be specific when you share this information and give precise details on the job requirements. In job descriptions and recruiting conversations, include all required qualifications, skills, years of experience, and other prerequisites. This will help drivers self-select whether they fit your requirements and will save time for everyone involved.

3. Embrace Digital Recruiting

straight truck

Hiring straight truck drivers is a competitive challenge, and digital recruiting is a must. Many companies start with a basic website and social media channels because they are easy to set up and are typically free to start. That said, there are other online recruiting tools such as search engine optimized content marketing and job boards if you want to branch out. For any channels you choose, establish trackable metrics so you can determine which channels perform well.

Regardless of the channels that you utilize, a clear brand must help communicate your story. Be consistent in imagery and content tone across all platforms. Give drivers something they can recognize as distinct to your company. Photo and video content are powerful recruiting tools because they help drivers see themselves in the job. Many drivers are not job searching on a computer, so make sure all content is optimized for mobile. 

4. Support Driver Referral Programs

Driver referrals and word of mouth recruiting still reign as powerful recruiting methods. At the end of the day, nothing replaces a trusted source, and truck drivers trust other drivers. Referrals can be even more powerful in a local setting such as when hiring straight truck drivers because these truckers travel in the same circles. They are talking regularly and will be job searching in the same geographies. Word travels fast when companies have a distinctly positive or negative reputation, so make sure your drivers have good things to talk about!

Nothing replaces a trusted source, and truck drivers trust other drivers. Driver referrals are a powerful recruiting resource.

As a company, driver referrals, especially from top team members, help get other quality drivers in the door. A referral from a trusted source is a little extra confidence that interviewing the candidate will be worth your time.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

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

Get the Ebook

trucking regulations and driver misclassification

Driver misclassification is not a new problem as part of trucking regulations. If a driver fills the role of a company driver, but the employer pays them with a 1099 as an independent contractor, there’s a problem. That driver is likely misclassified, an error that employers can face serious consequences for. Recent Legislation, such as the PRO Act, was developed to help combat driver misclassification. Unfortunately, it also effectively eliminates the owner operator business model. Here’s what you need to know about the state of the PRO Act in Congress and driver misclassification.

What Is the PRO Act?

If you follow political or legal developments in trucking regulations, you’ve likely been following the PRO Act. This bill, formally known as the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, intends to protect workers from unethical employment practices, but it has alarming consequences for the owner operator business model. The PRO Act is similar to California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), and it sets very specific criteria for gig workers. Unfortunately, in trucking, this also applies to owner operators. 

Under the PRO Act, for a company to employ an independent contractor (like an owner operator), the partnership must pass an ABC test. According to the PRO ACT, an independent contractor must meet the following criteria:

“(A) the individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under the contract for the performance of service and in fact;

(B) the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer; and

(C) the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.”

As part of trucking regulations, the B prong is usually the hardest to satisfy. Section B requires that independent contractors must be doing work outside of the scope of normal business. Unfortunately, in an owner operator model, those drivers are at the heart of a successful operation. Trucking experts are raising concerns that the PRO Act may effectively eliminate the current owner operator model. To date, the PRO Act has passed in the House of Representatives but has not made it to the Senate floor for discussion yet.

What Is the PRO Act Trying to Solve?

truck driverMany trucking regulations experts are strongly opposed to the PRO Act, but there is an underlying problem that this Act brings to the surface. The PRO Act tries to prevent companies from “employing” workers without offering benefits AKA misclassifying drivers. In many cases, this pushes the cost burden to the individual driver. However, owner operators are business owners, and many enjoy the freedom, income potential, and flexibility that comes with their role.

While the owner operator model works well for many truck drivers and carriers, driver misclassification is still prevalent in the industry. Misclassified drivers include those who earn pay as independent contractors and do not have guaranteed work but work like company drivers. There is a difference between owner operators who run under their own authority and misclassified truck drivers, however, the PRO Act includes both. 

What Is Driver Misclassification?

Driver misclassification occurs when fleets try to pay company drivers as independent contractors. By classifying company drivers as 1099 employees, carriers illegally avoid paying full benefits to their drivers. Owner operators are a different business model. They are independent contractors. True owner operators run their own business. They partner with carriers based on a mutually agreeable contract and may run for multiple carriers simultaneously. 

If you are uncertain about the appropriate driver classification for your fleet, there are ways to check.

Does the driver:

  1. Do their job under their own direction? For example, can drivers refuse loads if it doesn’t meet their criteria?
  2. Pay lease, maintenance, and insurance costs? Have proof of vehicle registration in their name?
  3. Have the ability to work for another company?

If you said “no” to any of these questions, you are employing a company driver. In that case, the driver should earn pay as a W2 employee and be eligible for benefits.

Brian Dershaw

Brian Dershaw, Partner at Taft Law

We spoke with Brian Dershaw, Partner at Taft Law, and he shared Taft’s response to companies with concerns about misclassification:

“In many instances, contractor classification may be an essential component of the company; the consequences of misclassification could be detrimental. With that in mind, we continuously navigate the federal and state tests in this area. This includes guiding clients in ways to maintain their independent contractor classification and, if appropriate, advising on the transition to an employer-employee model.”     

Paying a company driver as a 1099 employee is illegal and can lead to serious consequences, but there are legal resources, such as Taft Law or other firms, that can help.

What Are the Penalties for Driver Misclassification?

The legal ramifications for driver misclassification can vary based on the situation. In some cases, the company is required to pay back the money owed to the driver based on the loss of income and benefits. In severe cases, companies may face additional fines or time if the misclassification is found to be deliberate.

When asked about driver misclassification penalties, Taft Law’s Brian Dershaw, shared:

“If an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor, that can raise serious issues across the employment spectrum. These include wage and hour issues such as overtime under the FLSA and state laws, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, health insurance benefits, and employee-specific anti-discrimination and leave laws (e.g., ADA, Title VII, ADEA, and FMLA). Misclassification can result in steep financial penalties and other damages.”

Misclassifying drivers as independent contractors when their role is as a company driver is a serious offense. The PRO Act may not be an effective solution to driver misclassification in the trucking industry because of its reaching consequences for owner operators. However, driver misclassification is a serious problem, and carriers should take immediate action to rectify any misclassification in their fleet to avoid legal consequences.

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As the freight market continues its strong outlook, hiring is again top of my mind for many carriers. Recruiting for retention should always be at the core of an effective recruiting strategy. It’s faster and more cost-effective to retain current drivers than to recruit new drivers. If you are a large trucking company that needs to quickly hire drivers, use these five tips to efficiently fill your fleet with quality drivers.

1. Capitalize on Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is one of the most powerful recruiting techniques because it optimizes for efficiency. Ultimately, the goal of inbound marketing is to have driver candidates proactively reaching out as a result of your marketing efforts. This subverts the traditional model of contacting each driver lead directly and is frequently a more efficient way to speak one to many. 

There are many inbound marketing strategies that are valuable when recruiting for a large trucking company. Referrals and Word of Mouth advertising have strong persuasive power because they are built on trust. Drivers want to know what working for your company is really like from other drivers. These two recruiting strategies are powerful because they hear about your company from a trusted sourceyour current drivers. 

Social media and online advertising are inbound marketing strategies with a high reach potential. The goal of these campaigns is to generate driver interest and provide a signpost for ways in which serious candidates can engage more deeply with your company. If managing a digital marketing strategy exceeds your current staffing capacity, or you want to amplify your impact even further, consider partnering with a company like Drive My Way to extend your company reach.

2. Know When To Use Outbound Marketing

While inbound marketing strategies should dominate your recruitment efforts, outbound marketing can be tactically applied to selectively increase your reach. For example, outbound marketing may be necessary for high-impact geographies that are not naturally driver hotspots. Many top drivers are still re-entering the workforce after recent layoffs and focused, outbound marketing can help attract these top drivers.

Phone communication tends to be a particularly effective outbound recruiting strategy for truck drivers. That includes both calling and texting. 

According to our Drive My Way Driver Happiness and Retention survey, 64% of drivers report talking by phone as their preferred means of contact with a recruiter. 

Text communications follow closely behind in third place. Allocating additional resources to underperforming positions through outbound marketing is an effective way to boost driver engagement where it is most needed.

With any communication medium, the most effective strategies keep driver preferences at their core. Reach out to drivers on their own terms. This may mean adjusting recruitment hours to include evenings and weekends. Similarly, choose the right communication medium. For a first point of contact, a call is often more personal. After, switching to text messages allows for quick communication that won’t get cumbersome for recruiters or drivers. Each touchpoint in an outbound marketing campaign should continue building a positive relationship with the driver.

3. Prioritize Based On Company Resources

If you are a large trucking company, you likely have resources that are unavailable to smaller companies, but keen prioritization is still essential. It’s important to know your strengths as a company and as a department. Then, rank your top priorities and note any gaps between your strengths and the resources needed as you finalize your recruiting strategy

For some companies, outsourcing resources can be a valuable strategic decision. Consider how in-house talent versus outsourced resources fit into your short and long term roadmap. If you outsource some of your recruiting efforts to a company like Drive My Way, this will extend the capabilities and capacity of your internal team.

Outsourcing specific aspects of your recruiting should amplify your existing efforts while giving you more time to focus on the things you do best. For example, Drive My Way pre-screens interested drivers using your screening questions and forwards or schedules screened drivers for interviews with your designated hiring manager. An outsourced company should seamlessly fit with your workflow.

4. Make the Digital Transition

Trucking is typically not the first industry to explore cutting-edge workplace technology, but a digital transformation is undeniably underway. Recent years have relentlessly shifted nearly every industry to rely more heavily on online communication, and trucking is no exception.

Digital advertising and communication should be a foundational part of your hiring strategy.

Digital advertising and communication isn’t the only area to add technological integrations. As you return to in-person driver orientations, consider successes from remote onboarding. Where did you save time? What aspects of remote onboarding increased efficiency or improved the accountability of training records? Blend these digital efficiencies into your larger hiring process. In addition, make sure your ATS seamlessly integrates with your recruiting process for a streamlined experience for drivers and employers.

5. Strive for Low Turnover

At the end of the day, retention must play a key role in a strong recruitment strategy. The best way to hire quickly as a large trucking company is to keep satisfied drivers behind the wheel and reduce turnover. According to Avatarfleet, hiring a new driver can add recruitment costs of $5,000$10,000 per driver. Retaining quality drivers is typically far less expensive.

High turnover leads to increased recruitment time and costs. When you hire new drivers, use behavioral interviewing to ensure that they will be a good fit for your fleet. Then, clearly communicate your employee value proposition to potential drivers in the interview to make sure they are excited by what you have to offer. To boost retention among your current employees, consider ways to increase driver satisfaction. Financial incentives are always valued, but there are many other ways to show appreciation as well. Public or private recognition for a job well done, flexible home time, and making visible changes based on driver engagement surveys are all ways to boost retention with what you already have.

Mockup-1-1

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slip seating

Traditionally, the philosophy in the trucking industry for regional and OTR was “one driver, one truck.” As with many things in the industry, recent regulatory and economic changes have made that norm less practical for many companies. Equipment efficiencies and financial incentives are pushing some companies to implement slip seating. There is, understandably, some driver resistance, so it’s important to understand the pros and cons. Then, thoughtfully evaluate whether slip seating is right for your company at this time. 

What Is Slip Seating?

In short, slip seating means that multiple drivers share a truck. Drivers don’t have a single cab that they are solely responsible for or that is reserved for their use.

Why Does It Matter?

In the trucking industry, slip seating has not historically been the norm, especially for regional and OTR drivers. There are good financial reasons for employers to use it. That said, slip seating often comes at the expense of employee satisfaction. 

Pros

empty semi trucks in yardBetter Equipment Utilization

As an employer, you are responsible for the overall financial health of your company. From that perspective, slip seating often makes good economic sense. First and foremost, it allows for greater equipment utilization because you can drastically reduce the amount of time that a truck will sit empty in the yard while its designated driver is not on shift. Slip seating allows a company to make more runs in the same amount of time without buying more equipment. 

Tax Incentives

In addition to time efficiencies, there are tax incentives for slip seating. You can take advantage of these incentives if you account for the depreciation of trucks as an asset. According to Duff Swain, president of the consulting firm Trincon Group LLC in a FleetOwner article, trucks can be depreciated over a 3 year period. The best way to maximize profits while minimizing expenses and taxes is to drive at least 700,000 miles per truck in three years. Realistically, 700,000 miles over three years is not feasible for a single driver. So, to reach optimal mileage, multiple drivers are a must.

Cons

Driver Dissatisfaction

Perhaps the biggest downside to slip seating is that many drivers don’t like it. This is particularly true for Regional and OTR drivers. It might be easy to dismiss driver concerns under the pretense that they will soon adapt to new policies. However, think twice before making your decision.

Driver complaints are legitimate and could affect not only company morale but also the company’s bottom line. Driver happiness is a huge driver of retention.

Drivers cite messy cabs, the inefficient use of time required to remove belongings from the cab, and less well-maintained equipment as top concerns about slip seating. In some cases, no driver views the truck as their own. Then, they may also be less likely to treat it with care and cleanliness. 

semi truck repair garageMaintenance & Health

In addition to driver concerns, employers should consider that slip seating increases the number of miles driven on each tractor. As a result, routine maintenance or repairs may come up more frequently. Health concerns should also be a top consideration, especially this year. Multiple drivers using the same enclosed space in rapid succession means that disinfecting and other health safety protocols should be a high priority before each driver change. 

It’s a Fleet-Based Decision

There are clear benefits and drawbacks to implementing slip seating in your fleet. Ultimately it’s a company decision. Some companies may also find that it makes sense to use slip seating for some trucks, but not for the entire fleet. Is the cost of driver dissatisfaction worth the potential financial upside for your fleet at this time?

To bolster driver retention and recruitment, consider whether there are other things you can do to improve driver satisfaction.

Implementing slip seating may increase driver turnover, especially in the short term if drivers do not agree with the decision. Fleets should be prepared to allocate recruiting and retention resources in their budget while they make the transition. To bolster driver retention and recruitment, consider whether there are other things you can do to improve driver satisfaction. Ultimately, most people are willing to put up with working arrangements that aren’t ideal if they like their job and the people they work for. For example, employee recognition, incentive programs, or career-building opportunities can all go a long way toward improving driver satisfaction and improving your bottom line by reducing turnover.

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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Regional Truck Driver
Hiring a regional truck driver is all about balance. These drivers are often looking to balance good pay with home time. Regional jobs attract drivers who want to be home more regularly. That said, they’re also willing to be away a few days each week to earn a higher paycheck. Every regional truck driver will have slightly different priorities and preferences, but here are a few tips to keep in mind for hiring your next regional truck driver. 

What Regional Drivers Are Really Looking For

1. Home Time & Pay

truck driver family timeThese are often two of the most important factors for regional drivers. Many regional drivers prioritize more home time and are willing to take a slight pay cut if they were at an OTR position. Regional jobs can be the perfect balance between OTR and local.

As an employer, if you offer good home time and at or above industry average pay, you will attract quality drivers. If you have a unique home time or compensation package, clearly share the details with prospective drivers and how your package benefits them.

2. Route & Schedule

Regional positions can include a significant variety in route. In your job description or in an early conversation, clarify whether drivers are primarily on surface roads or highways. Will they be driving largely in urban or rural areas? 

To optimize recruiting efforts, find out what background your prospective driver is coming from and what they liked or disliked. Then, tailor your conversation to their background and priorities. 

For example, if they were driving OTR, emphasize opportunities for independence. If they were a local driver and liked it, talk about the variety of locations they get to visit. Regional drivers often enjoy the balance between getting to know routes and going new places.

3. Equipment

truck driver cabWhile they don’t spend weeks on the road at a time, regional drivers still spend a lot of time in their cab. That means that equipment and cab amenities are still a high priority. Be specific about what you offer for equipment. Consider sharing whether your tractors are manual or automatic, the model, if they are speed governed, and if drivers should expect slip seating.

How to Better Communicate With Regional Drivers

4. Get To the Important Details Quickly

At the end of the day, drivers are going to join your company because of good pay, home time, and culture. Even if you have incredible perks, most drivers won’t be interested if these essentials don’t meet their expectations. So, don’t waste your time or theirs on the fluff. Get to the important information quickly.

One reason a regional truck driver is likely to make a job change is for a better schedule fit and more home time. Is your job home weekends? Share that!

Drivers want to know what their day will look like. If you offer CPM pay, when do drivers finish the day? Do you have specific hour expectations?  Should drivers expect day shifts or night shifts? What time will they start?

trucker

Regardless of the structure of your regional job, these are key details that help drivers make the decision to switch companies.

Talking about regional truck driver compensation also requires specificity. What is the average weekly pay for drivers in similar positions? How many miles do drivers run in a week? Are all miles paid? Even if pay is not the strongest part of your job package, be upfront with drivers. Then, share any perks or bonuses that you offer as additional incentives.

5. Focus on the Positives

When you are hiring your next regional truck driver, use language that focuses on the best aspects of the job. A key part of this is knowing your value proposition and being able to communicate it to drivers. Focusing on the positives doesn’t mean omitting the negatives. Transparency is key for driver trust and a strong company culture.

A key part of this is knowing your value proposition and being able to communicate it to drivers.

A few great ways to focus on the job highlights are to talk about days HOME instead of days OUT. Similarly, if you have a take home truck program, make sure drivers know about it. In compensation conversations, include information about benefits. Many regional drivers have families and value reliable health care, especially if benefits start immediately. A few simple language changes give recruiting conversations an honest, positive tone.

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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5 Tips to Focus Your Driver Recruitment Efforts

Trucking recruiters are remarkably busy people. There is always a lot to do, many competing priorities, and a million moving pieces to keep track of in the hiring process. Add into that mix, a global pandemic that’s causing chaos throughout the U.S. economy, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble maintaining focus on what’s important. So, what can help a busy driver recruiter add focus to their recruitment efforts? Here are 5 tips to get you started.

1. Know What Driver Recruitment Efforts Are Working

It’s always a good idea to take time and review your recruiting strategy. How are things going? How is your budget looking? What is your ROI on your efforts? These are all important to know and track. And tracking and measuring your results are the only way to determine if your efforts are working. When you get a good picture of what’s working well and what’s not, it makes it easy to decide which tasks to continue and which ones to stop.

2. Plan for Future Needs

It’s easy to get caught only focusing your efforts on your immediate hiring needs, but a great hiring strategy helps you plan for now and plan for the future. Ensure your current driver recruitment plans will dovetail into your future driver needs as well.

Are you planning to add new regional locations? Are you researching getting into new industries? Those plans on the horizon indicate needing more drivers to support it. Plan accordingly! One of the best ways to do this is to look at your carrier’s long-term strategy overall, and it will help you know where you’re headed. Once you have a clear vision of where you’re headed, you can plan your driver needs for now and for the future.

3. Use What the Survey Says

You probably already have something in place to poll your drivers to help you gauge your driver community’s overall workplace satisfaction, and that certainly is an important thing to know. But are you conducting any pre-recruitment surveys of your drivers, Especially drivers who have turned you down? This is a fantastic way to understand and help you focus on where your efforts might have fallen short or cease those tactics that didn’t help you find or land the truckers for your open positions. There are several survey options available, many of them free. A quick online search should help you find one that meets your budget and specific needs.

4. Narrow Down Your Sources

We already talked about measuring your efforts. Here’s a tip to take action after you look at your metrics. Take a look at the sources you’re using for driver recruitment and determine which ones are working best. Select the ones that are providing high quality candidates vs simply a high quantity of candidates. Then narrow down the list of sources and focus on the ones that are working best. Using less sources should enable you to improve your recruiting efficiency with less budget.

5. Let Drive My Way Help

Here at Drive My Way, we’re here to help you with your recruiting plans and execution. We have a variety of options available to help you find the drivers that will best fit your company and trucking needs. And don’t just take our word for it. We can show you how we’ve helped carriers like yours succeed.

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

 

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!

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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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4 Tips for Recruiting and Hiring Student Truck Drivers

Truck driver recruiting can be a tough business, especially when it comes to targeting the most experienced drivers with the best driving records. Carriers can wind up counter-offering driver after driver, or losing them in a few months to another carrier making a sweeter offer to lure them away from you. There’s a reason those drivers are in such high demand. So maybe there’s a different hiring path to take into consideration. With a little bit of creativity and changes to your recruitment strategy, putting a focus on recruiting and hiring student truck drivers can be a great opportunity to plan and build your driver pool for the future. Here are 4 tips to help you find your next group of long-term and loyal drivers.

1. Expand Your Marketing

Look at your recruiting marketing collateral, especially the images and headlines. Do they feel inclusive to student truck drivers? Or are they clearly speaking to an audience of long-term road warriors? It’s easy to miss on this important step in the process if you don’t stop and take stock of what messages and images you’re using.

Your marketing materials, especially your website, can be the first impression you make on potential new hires. Be sure that the drivers you intend to recruit are seeing and hearing messages tailored to them in your marketing pieces.

Another marketing tip is to be sure the channels you’re using to recruit are reaching the right targets. Though print and referrals have a place in your strategy, are those the best channels to use when recruiting student truck drivers, who are likely younger than your average driver? Probably not, so make adjustments to your tactics based on your target. Social media and an easy online process will help when recruiting younger drivers.

2. Implement Mentoring Programs

Mentoring programs can be attractive to student drivers. Inexperienced drivers need help learning the ropes and many times, a mentor can be a tremendous help. These drivers are not coming to you with years of experience and all the answers, they are looking for their first job to get them started in a new career. They’re excited to get started and need some extra help to get moving down the road.

Connecting student truck drivers with a mentor can be a mutually beneficial relationship between your drivers.

The student has a designated “go to” person to ask questions and bounce around ideas, and your seasoned driver has an opportunity to share what they know from years over the road. Each of them will benefit from a mentoring opportunity and will appreciate your team’s willingness to foster these relationships.

3. Sell the Entire Job

When seeking to recruit student drivers, you need to not only sell your open positions, but you also need to sell the career, the lifestyle, and everything that comes with the job. People looking to get into a career as a professional truck driver can be coming into the industry for a number of reasons. But one thing is clear, they’ve decided a truck driving gig is the right fit for them. So help them understand how you and your team can help them make their dreams a reality. Reinforce their decision at every point in the hiring process and be there for them every step of the way while they’re on your team.

Act as a great resource for new drivers, by being transparent on what the job entails and being ready to answer a lot of questions. Selling your candidates on the whole job will help your relationship with these drivers start off great!

4. Have a Driver-Centric Strategy

A driver-centric recruitment and retention strategy is a great way to build a strong driver team. Putting practices and processes in place to ensure you’re targeting the right candidates is very important. If your plan includes recruiting student truck drivers, be sure that you take into consideration the tips here.

You want to ensure that new drivers know that they’re welcome, wanted, and included in your company’s long-term future.

For more ideas on how to recruit and hire the best drivers, let us help! At Drive My Way we have the tools and expertise to match you with your next best-fit drivers.

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The 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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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

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