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trucking endorsements
Drivers are looking for companies that respect them, offer compensation that is commensurate with experience and skill, and that fits their lifestyle and professional trajectory. In a highly competitive driver market, and it’s difficult to stand out from other trucking companies. It’s also essential. To attract drivers, some companies help drivers obtain or renew trucking endorsements as a way of differentiating themselves. While this may not work for all business models, it can be a great way to incentivize drivers to apply, diversify your candidate pool, and build goodwill among your new hires.

Paying for Trucking Endorsements?

truck in the cityUltimately, the decision to pay for trucking endorsements is a company by company decision. Factor in driver supply, the difficulty of the position you are hiring for, and the type of drivers you want to attract. For example, Button Transportation offers to reimburse drivers for their Hazmat endorsement if there is high seasonal demand. It’s a competitive market for hiring drivers right now, and companies that want to stand out need to go above and beyond. Paying for trucking endorsements is a way to incentivize driver applications by making your offering more appealing. 

Financially supporting drivers as they obtain or renew trucking endorsements is also a good way to diversify your candidate pool. Without offering financial support, your hiring pool is inherently limited to drivers who already have the requisite qualifications. If you are getting plenty of qualified applicants, that might not be a problem. On the other hand, you may want to invest in newer, skilled drivers to grow your fleet. In that case, sponsoring endorsements is a great way to attract drivers who might not otherwise apply. 

Implementing a Sponsorship Program

If you decide that helping with their trucking endorsements is right for you, use best practices to launch successfully. First, make sure you set clear rules and expectations for what will and will not be reimbursed. Drive My Way Customer Button Transportation sets an excellent example.

Button TransportationButton Transportation pays for driver Medical cards, TWIC Cards, and Passports because top interested drivers expect these to be sponsored by their company. Button also clearly established a reimbursement policy for drivers. For each sponsorship, they pay when they receive the expense report and receipt. 

Consistency is critical for successful program implementation. Everyone from recruiters to finance managers to prospective drivers should understand the structure of the program in a successful launch.

Once you set up your program parameters, communication with drivers is the next step. Offering to help drivers obtain or renew trucking endorsements is a powerful advertising tool! Make sure to include the details of your program in a job description. In addition, make sure your marketing efforts are targeted at drivers who already have the necessary endorsements as well as those who might take advantage of your sponsorship program. In addition, some companies like Way Routes encourage drivers to study for their double/triple endorsement using the CDL Prep App. This app is a great option because it is available for both Apple and Android users.

We spoke with Guilherme Ribeiro, President at Way Routes, and he shared that:

“[CDL Prep] is the best app and will help you study before taking the test at your local DMV.”

Both drivers who have the necessary endorsements and those preparing for the test may be strong candidates. So, it’s important to include both in your recruitment and marketing. 

Supporting Drivers with New Endorsements

Supporting drivers as they earn a trucking endorsement is only the start of the road. Strong sponsorship programs also support drivers as they transition to their new roles. 

Way RoutesWe spoke with Guilherme Ribeiro, President at Way Routes, and he shared best practices based on their program’s success:

“If a driver gets [a doubles/triples] endorsement and has not driven doubles/triples before, we have a training program to help them gain the confidence and knowledge they need to be successful.” 

He continued, “When a driver starts, we have them train with someone for a week before they hit the road for normal shifts. You will spend your first week: learning how to connect and disconnect safely in the yard, shadowing a driver on local routes, and running local routes during evening hours when there is less traffic (live road training).” Way Routes continues to support drivers throughout their transition.

Guilherme added, “If after your first week you do not feel safe or confident with your new endorsement, you have the option to part ways with this opportunity, and Way Routes is very respectful about your decision and is happy to have given you initial training. On the contrary, if you are feeling confident but would like an additional week (+/-) of shadowing/training, Way Routes is happy to continue investing in training for you so you feel safe and confident when you hit the road!” 

Supporting drivers through their new role ensures that new drivers meet your safety standards and it builds a good rapport with new drivers. For some companies, helping drivers obtain or renew trucking endorsements is a great way to bolster recruitment and retention efforts.

truck driver incentive program checklist

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Truck Driver Incentive Program Checklist

The best incentive program is the one that’s effective, sustainable, and engaging for drivers. Use this checklist to align your target behavior with rewards that motivate your drivers and create a program with lasting impact.

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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

honest driver recruiter
Recruiters often have a poor reputation with drivers. Many drivers are likely to start by assuming that all recruiters are dishonest and trying to trick drivers. If you’re a recruiter, that’s a tough starting point. Driver concerns are valid, but they may not always have access to the complete picture. To be an honest driver recruiter, you must prioritize continuous transparency

The root of the recruiter and driver tension often stems from unmet expectations. Information changes quickly, and drivers may have unspoken expectations that aren’t met. This combination can leave drivers feeling like they’ve been duped. In conversations with drivers, it’s important to give accurate information that applies to that specific driver, but preparation for transparent conversations starts long before then. 

Connect Your Team

Honest mistakes happen frequently as a result of miscommunication. Imagine you are a recruiter. You are giving drivers standard information on pay, home time, and routes. The driver seems interested and you plan to talk again tomorrow. In the interim, someone made route changes to accommodate a new client without you realizing it. By the time you talk to the driver the next day, the route no longer comes close to the driver’s house and home time will be much tighter. The same driver who was excited yesterday is now frustrated that they got “bad information.” It’s all too easy for simple miscommunication to leave a bad taste for drivers.

Drive My Way Account Executive and former Hiring Manager, Kilie Erickson shared her views:

“I do not believe recruiters are dishonest, I do believe that recruiters could be limited to the information provided to them. If they do not take time to have a complete understanding of the business operations, culture, future goals, and current struggles they will mislead drivers not because they are dishonest, but uninformed.”

Erickson continues, “As a recruiter, if all you get is a piece of paper with pay, benefits, home-time, schedule, and a phone, you have some work to do. The best recruiters are given the ability to see all aspects of the business. They have spent time getting to know the operations and how each department interacts with each other and, most importantly, the drivers”

To be an honest driver recruiter, carve out time to regularly sit with safety, dispatch, and company management. While it is time-consuming, it’s imperative that recruiters understand all of the moving pieces and are up to date on job changes. The increase in internal transparency dramatically increases recruiters’ ability to provide external transparency. 

Know the Equipment

Once you get beyond pay and home time, equipment is often one of the top priorities for drivers. As a recruiter, you likely spend limited time personally with the equipment. That makes equipment a prime opening for miscommunication in recruitment conversations. On the other hand, a driver would be delighted to hear from a recruiter who can vouch for the equipment quality because they were out in the yard earlier this week and keep tabs on the maintenance records.

Drive My Way’s Kilie Erickson adds:

“I urge recruiters to look at the equipment- get inside! Don’t be afraid to tell drivers the good, bad and ugly about the job. Giving only positive information will leave the driver thinking ‘what are they not telling me’ or ‘this sounds too good.'”

If you are a veteran of the trucking industry, you know the ins and outs of what drivers care about when it comes to equipment. However, if you’re a new recruiter or have never spent meaningful time in a truck though, you may not have an intuitive sense of what drivers really want to know. The best way to gain a better perspective is to spend time with the drivers while they’re on the job. If you’re not on a CDL track, ask to do a ridealong with a driver for a day. Even a single day will give you insight into the open jobs and the people you’re recruiting. 

Tune in to Current Drivers

One of your best resources as a recruiter is current drivers. Some recruiters spend very little time with company drivers after they’ve signed on the dotted line. In reality, these drivers are a huge asset! Get feedback from current drivers. This can be done through brief formal surveys or informally and gatherings like a company cookout. In their eyes, what are the biggest perks of the job? What are the biggest challenges? Why do drivers stay with the company? Why do they leave? Keep this information in mind as you recruit new drivers. Make sure the job details you highlight align with the perspective of your current drivers.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

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

Get the Ebook

new driver recruiter
When you’re a new driver recruiter in the trucking industry, there’s a lot to learn. Depending on your background, you may know recruiting well but are learning a new industry. On the other hand, if you’re familiar with the trucking industry, you may be in a new role as a recruiter. In either case, you’re starting at a new company that has specific criteria for their drivers. The most successful new recruiters do three things when starting a new position: learn the company, learn the driver, and follow trucking recruiting best practices.

1. Learn Your Company

As a new driver recruiter, one of the best places to start is with your company. You will likely go through a company onboarding process, and this is a great opportunity to learn key statistics and any new technology systems you will use. This is the one time that you will effectively be able to see your company through the eyes of a driver candidate before you know the ins and outs of the job! Take advantage of this time and look for answers to specific questions a driver might have. 

Beth Potratz

Beth Potratz, CEO of Drive My Way

In a recent episode of his podcast, Recruit and Retain: Trucking Edition, recruiting guru Chad Hendricks asked Drive My Way CEO, Beth Potratz, how driver needs are changing. Potratz shared:  

“In 2021, we are seeing that drivers are truly researching and assessing an offering before they will even provide any little bit of information. They are done being asked to complete a full app and providing all kinds of information, and now they are taking control and asking a lot of questions upfront.”

With that in mind, a job change is a perfect time to thoughtfully create your foundation in a new role. As a new driver recruiter, that should include a cheat sheet of key statistics and a clear employee value proposition for your company and driver jobs. If you’re new to the trucking industry, talk with experienced recruiters at your company and compile a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Creating a reference sheet is an effective way to reinforce key information for yourself and it is a reliable tool that allows you to jump right into conversations with drivers. 

2. Know Your Drivers

Once you have mastered the basics of your company, it’s time to focus on the drivers. Even if you’re familiar with the trucking industry, take time to understand how your new company’s driver needs are unique. Start by building a few essential driver personas. Ask yourself: Who is the ideal driver for your company? What types of candidates are in the pipeline currently. If there is a mismatch between your answers, you may need to develop a new recruiting plan to better attract your preferred candidates. 

As you start recruiting, prioritize driver retention in addition to filling your pipeline. When you speak with drivers, you are starting a relationship

In his podcast, Chad Hendricks also asked Beth Potratz, how recruiters can foster relationships with drivers. She shared:  

“It’s maintaining relationships with people who you have spoken to who shared they aren’t ready to make a move yet but are considering making a move in the future. It also could be looking at drivers who have left your organization and are now eligible to be rehired. Maybe the grass wasn’t as green as they anticipated when they made the move, so [it’s] reconnecting with those folks. Anything you can do to continue to put your brand and employee value proposition in front of people to spark interest.”

When the time comes, make sure your company is top of mind and there is an existing relationship. This is particularly important in priority geographies. If there are geographic regions that are high driver demand for your company or have low driver supply, building relationships early will help you down the road.

3. Implement Recruiting Best Practices

new driver recruiter

Once you take the time to understand your company and your future drivers, there are several new driver recruiter best practices to follow. To reach drivers effectively, contact drivers on their terms. Often, this means by phone or text messaging (with opt-in preferences!). In addition, be available when drivers can talk. Depending on the type of driver you’re recruiting, this may include evening or weekend hours. Reaching drivers on their terms gives you a better chance of getting in touch, but it also shows that you understand and respect drivers’ schedules.

Once you’re in touch with drivers, it’s important to follow up quickly and to maintain a consistent relationship. If a driver responds to a job posting, follow up with them as quickly as possible. Good drivers are in high demand, and they’ll get hired quickly! If you want to get top drivers in your fleet, you have to be faster than your competition.

Once you’re in touch with drivers, establish regular points of contact. For some drivers, you will need quite a few points of contact before they take steps forward with your company. Be patient, but be proactive. A quick follow-up and consistent subsequent touchpoints will ensure that you’re top of mind when that driver is ready to move jobs.

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

Considering a Truck Driver Sign-On Bonus Program?

Most carriers in the United States now offer some form of a truck driver sign-on bonus. In 2010, that number was zero. There has been a dramatic increase in the popularity of sign-on bonuses, and at this point, sign-on bonuses are almost an expectation from truck drivers. However, if most companies offer sign-on bonuses, competition to recruit quality drivers becomes that much tougher. Here’s what you need to know to stand out to the right drivers and fill your fleet.

Why Are You Offering A Sign-On Bonus?

The bottom line is that a truck driver sign-on bonus can make your job more attractive. Sign-on bonuses aren’t the total compensation package, but if a driver is between your job and another similarly competitive position, a sign-on bonus might be enough to tip them to your side. However, a sign-on bonus that doesn’t also improve driver retention is not taking full advantage of the program’s strength! 

riverside transportWe spoke with Riverside Transport, a top Dry Van carrier in the Midwest, and they shared this about the impact of a sign-on bonus on their driver recruitment and retention. 

“Drivers love getting the extra pay for sign-on-bonuses. It definitely helps with their cash flow, thus drivers tend to stick it out with us to ensure they get their bonus payouts. It becomes a win-win when the drivers stay, earn more, and then statistically get past the 90-day mark. That driver could theoretically be a part of the RTI family for the long stretch. That is the ultimate hope with our efforts.” 

At the end of the day, the goal is not just to get drivers in the door, but to keep them with your fleet, reduce turnover, and save recruiting costs. Use variables such as the dollar amount and distribution period to fine-tune your sign-on bonus efficacy.

How Much Should You Offer?

The question of dollar amount is an important one for sign-on bonuses. If you don’t offer enough money, drivers might find the offer stingy or simply not attractive enough to change jobs. On the other hand, if you put a number that’s too high, drivers might be skeptical. Some drivers may see an uncommonly high truck driver sign-on bonus as a sign that your company is compensating for negative job elements. 

When asked about determining the right bonus amount for your drivers, Riverside Transport shared: 

“Be flexible with your sign-on bonuses based on market needs, make them attainable and realistic and not so over the top to scare away drivers. Many drivers can be leery of sign-on bonuses.”

Riverside continued, “Realistic sign-on bonuses with payouts that are are reachable [help] get the driver past the 90-day mark in terms of payout. This benefits both recruitment and retention, and is nice for our drivers.”

Unfortunately, there’s no uniform amount for every situation! One driver’s “too low” might be close to another driver’s “too high.” Ultimately, there is no set dollar number.

Since there is no standard dollar amount for sign-on bonuses, decide an amount based on your recruitment budget and the drivers you need to attract. Some companies offer all drivers a flat rate truck driver sign-on bonus. This simplifies job descriptions and ensures that there are no concerns about fairness between drivers. Other companies favor a variable sign-on bonus rate. Drivers may be paid more with more experience, endorsements, or other specific qualifications. Variable rates can be particularly attractive to experienced drivers who would earn the larger sign-on bonus.

When Should You Give the Bonus?

woman truck driverThe best sign-on bonus program is the one that’s engaging for drivers and sustainable. It’s as simple as that. With that in mind, keep your incentive program as straightforward as possible. First, identify what behavior you are trying to incentivize. 

For a sign-on bonus, set your sights on recruitment AND retention. Are you having a hard time getting in the door, but retention is strong? Is recruitment strong, but turnover is high? Are both areas a challenge? 

To encourage retention, consider a phased approach with multiple distribution phases. Some employers offer a truck driver sign-on bonus that is paid out over the course of 6 months or a year. For example, Drive My Way client Armellini Express Lines pays their sign-on bonus to drivers over a one-year period to boost retention. 

Extending the pay-out period encourages drivers to stay with the company until they receive their full bonus. The first few months after a new hire have one of the highest turnover rates. An extended bonus period can hold drivers through the adjustment curve and boost retention in the long term.

What Should I Communicate To Drivers?

A truck driver sign-on bonus program is just one part of a total compensation package. Advertise the sign-on bonus with the job description, and make sure the rest of the compensation package is a strong offer. Many drivers have been burned before, so be prepared to answer skeptical questions about the offer. 

Be clear about how much drivers will receive and when they will get the money. Make sure to be transparent about the bonus from the beginning. There shouldn’t be any surprises for the drivers later on otherwise you risk building resentment. If there are any additional stipulations on the money, make sure drivers understand. If they feel jilted, they’ll talk about it, and it will kill your reputation. The best way to create a positive program is with thoughtful program structure and transparency for drivers.

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.

Get the Ebook

recruiter for driver applicantsWhen recruiting truck drivers, understanding the difference between active and passive driver applicants can be the difference between a consistent candidate pipeline and struggling to fill your fleet. Active driver applicants are ready to make a job change immediately. In contrast, passive driver applicants should be nurtured over time. An effective recruitment strategy should connect appropriately with active and passive driver applicants to allow you to nimbly shift recruitment strategies as company and drivers’ needs change.

Active vs. Passive Candidates

The difference between active and passive driver applicants comes down to the driver’s connection with the job search. Both types of candidates are necessary for a healthy recruitment pipeline, and it’s important to use the right type of strategy for each candidate.

type of driver applicants

Active Driver Applicants

Active candidates are currently looking for new jobs. They likely have applied to several places and want to make a job change soon. These candidates are often easier to recruit because they are ready to change jobs now. For active driver applicants, recruiters must act quickly because drivers want to move quickly to a new position and won’t stay on the market for long. 

Passive Driver Applicants

Passive driver applicants make up the vast majority of the job market, but may be overlooked in the recruitment process. These candidates include drivers that you have in your hiring database from any previous interaction, including re-hires. These drivers are not actively looking for a new position, so they may take a little more time and effort to recruit. Before reaching out to passive candidates, make sure to scrub your database and clean old driver information that is no longer relevant. 

Drive My Way CEO, Beth Potratz, shared her expertise:

“Recruiting is not a transaction, it’s a continuous effort that you should never stop. Active and passive job seekers are all consumers in the employment relationship whose needs will change throughout their career. Similar to consumers, they often have both articulated and unarticulated needs and you should explore both. If you build and nurture relationships with drivers, they are more likely to consider a job at your company when they are looking to make a change. It’s really all about relationships.”

Beth continued, “Start recruiting how you would like to be recruited and you will be surprised at the results. Listen for what is important to people and no matter what, always acknowledge their interest and get back to them with feedback and next steps. One thing is for sure, they will always remember how they were treated by you during the process.”

How to Reach Active Driver Applicants

1. Go Where the Drivers Are

The first step to reaching active driver applicants is to go where the drivers are. You know these drivers are already looking for a job change, so make sure they see what you have to offer! Now, a big part of being visible is a prominent online presence. While some drivers may still use old-school methods of finding a job, many drivers will likely start their job searching the internet. When they do, use digital marketing to make sure your brand is appealing and your job is visible to the drivers you want to attract. 

2. Send the Right Message

Once a driver sees your job posting or recruitment advertising, you have one chance to make a good first impression. Clearly share your employee value proposition (EVP) with drivers in the job posting. They need to know how your company is different and why they should come work for you! Active candidates are looking for a job change so they may be more eager to hear what you have to offer. That said, they are also much more likely to have multiple companies vying for their attention. A clear and well-written EVP as part of your job description is essential for recruiting top drivers.

3. Be Ready to Move Quickly

Active driver applicants are ready to move quickly. That means recruiters must be too! Active applicants are often not on the job market for very long. Hiring top candidates can come down to a simple decision of timing. If your company and another make similarly competitive job offers to the same driver, and the other company is more responsive, you will likely lose that driver. The better the driver is, the more competition you will have from other companies that want to recruit that driver. In order to attract top talent, you have to be faster than the competition.

How to Reach Passive Driver Applicants

1. Go Slow To Go Fast

An effective strategy for recruiting passive applicants is entirely different than recruiting active applicants. For passive applicants, start by building your driver lead pipeline. It will take time to nurture a productive driver candidate pipeline, but the payoff is significant. You are playing a long game. There are many ways to add drivers to your passive candidate pipeline. One of the most powerful ways to connect is via a referral from other drivers. These referred drivers may not be looking for a new job immediately, but if you nurture the lead, your name will be top of mind down the road when they are ready for a change. At its core, building a passive driver pipeline is all about relationship building. 

2. Maintain Regular Touchpoints

It can be tempting to focus recruiting efforts on active driver candidates because they will be ready to move quickly. Don’t fall into the trap! Just because applicants are passive does not mean you shouldn’t have regular touchpoints with these drivers! Regular touchpoints through driver-centric content or other outreach efforts build your relationship with passive applicants. Regular touchpoints also allow you to more quickly respond if a driver starts to look for jobs actively. 

3. Track the Data

laptop to track hiring data

Passive driver applicants are nurtured with a series of small touchpoints over time. As a result, tracking interactions over the lifespan of each driver lead is essential. Document each communication or touchpoint with the driver meticulously. Ideally, this information should be stored in a centralized repository or ATS that is shared among all employees who might contact drivers. It’s a good idea to also include anonymous passive interactions, like website traffic, in your data. These are potential ways to add drivers to your recruitment funnel, and you can optimize your efforts by amplifying areas that are successfully generating interest. 

4. Be Prepared to Court Drivers

For a successful recruitment campaign, both active and passive driver candidates need to know what you bring to the table. However, to hire passive driver applicants, be prepared to show your best! Remember, passive driver candidates weren’t looking for a new job. It’s your job to convince them why YOU are a good fit for THEM!  This is the time to review your data on past conversations and what content this driver consumes to understand what matters to this particular driver. Then, use this data to recruit based on their interests and needs. To convert passive applicants to hires you must be able to clearly state the advantages of your company and open positions and why it will be a good switch for them.

Building a Comprehensive Strategy

A strong recruitment strategy should account for both active and passive candidates because recruiting demands can change quickly. Having active and passive candidates in the pipeline helps ensure that recruiters aren’t left without any candidates when driver demand is high. There may be times that require recruiters to focus more on either active or passive driver applicants, but don’t neglect either side completely.

Drivers are not static as active or passive candidates. An active applicant may become passive once they find a new job. A passive candidate may decide they are ready for a job change and start actively looking for new positions.

A recruitment strategy that effectively connects with active and passive driver applicants allows you to nimbly shift recruitment tactics as drivers’ needs change.

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text recruitment

Text messaging is here to stay as a powerful recruitment tool. With the digital transformation in hiring that is underway, text recruitment isn’t a miracle solution, but it is something you can incorporate into your driver recruitment strategy to improve your recruitment funnel. Text messages are fundamental in recruiting and it is one of the best ways to attract drivers from untapped demographics to your fleet.

1. Make It Personal

Text recruitment does not mean turning drivers into faceless numbers. As with any effective recruiting strategy, text messages work well when they are personal. Avoid bulk texting and build a relationship with the driver before doing so. An overused bulk text is a good way to end up on a blocked list. Each conversation should start with a message that addresses the driver by name. Crafting personal messages can be very time-consuming, so standardize messages where you can. Consider drafting templates that can be customized with driver names and positions, but make sure to keep confidential information out of text messages. Templates also convey consistency and professionalism regardless of who sends the message. 

As with any effective recruiting strategy, text messages work well when they are personal.

At each stage in your recruitment efforts, think of how the driver is experiencing the process. First impressions are very important, so allow drivers to opt-in as a sign of respect for their time and preferences. Unfortunately, text recruitment can be easily abused, so always give the driver the option to opt-out of messages. Then, make sure you have a solution in place to ensure that the driver won’t get texted again until they opt back in. At each stage, ask yourself, “How would the driver describe this experience to another driver or friend?”

2. Get the Timing Right

One of the reasons texting is so effective is that it can be done at any time. That means that drivers can take a moment when they’re waiting at the shipper or starting their break to read or send a quick text. That does mean that the responsibility is on companies to be available when drivers are ready to talk. Text recruitment is most successful when you’re quicker than competing companies. Recruiters must be very responsive and have a quick turnaround time to be effective. 

Another trick to getting a positive response? Keep the message short. It’s tempting to tell drivers everything they need in one message, but that’s not an effective strategy. Text recruitment is about efficiently building the top of your funnel so that you can engage with drivers more deeply going forward.

3. The Follow-Up

Once you’ve made the initial contact with driver candidates, follow-up at regular intervals. If you haven’t heard from drivers after a few days, reach out again with a second touch. Similarly, be ready to pick up the phone. Many drivers still like to hear from recruiters by phone, and a call is a great follow-up to your text recruitment strategy. That said, stay away from using a personal phone number. All communication should go through phones that are strictly for professional use. If you don’t hear from drivers after several points of contact, it’s appropriate to send a final text message to close the loop. Here are a few sample templates:

After Driver Expresses Interest: 

Hi [Driver Name], it’s [Your Name] from [Company]. We saw your interest in [Job Title]. We offer [Pay, Home Time, or Benefits] and are excited to get in touch. Text or call me at [Phone Number] or finish your application at [Website]. Thanks!
YES if interested  
NO if not
END opt out all msgs

Qualifying Candidates: 

Hi [Driver Name], we saw your application for [Job Title]. I’d like to talk a little more by phone or text message. When is a good time?
—[Your Name], Recruiter at [Company]

Closing the Loop: 

Hi [Driver Name], are you still interested in driving with [Company]? If so, I’d love to hear from you. You can also find open jobs at [Website].
—[Your Name], Recruiter at [Company]

4. Maintain a Unified Tracking System

In a strong text recruitment campaign, clear organization is essential. You will likely have multiple people managing the text campaign, and there will be countless drivers to keep track of. Use a digital tracking system to document your text messages and what stage of the recruitment pipeline each driver is in. A unified tracking system will also ensure that you don’t send duplicate messages to the same driver. You will know exactly what information has been shared with each driver. 

A unified tracking system should also track other forms of communication with each driver. Texting can be an effective recruitment tool, but it shouldn’t be the only or even necessarily the primary tool. Integrate texting with other forms of communication. A blended approach that includes calls, emails, and texts is an effective strategy.

5. Work Toward In-Person Communication

Text recruitment campaigns are an excellent way to expand your driver candidate pool, but don’t lose sight of the end goal. Ultimately, the goal is to increase interviews that lead to driver hires.

Texting is an efficient way to handle the logistics leading up to an interview, but it shouldn’t feel impersonal.

Each text message helps set a foundation for future conversations. Building meaningful relationships with potential driver candidates is at the core of an effective text recruitment strategy.

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

pet friendly trucking companyBeing a pet friendly trucking company is more than just a perk for some drivers. Offering a pet rider program strengthens company culture, retention, and recruiting. Ultimately, pet programs are about driver satisfaction and happiness and should be considered part of an overarching retention strategy. With strong marketing that displays a positive company culture, pet programs can also bolster driver recruitment efforts. 

Driver Happiness Improves Driver Retention

Fundamentally, pet and rider programs are about driver happiness which directly influences driver retention. According to our Drive My Way Driver Happiness and Retention Survey, drivers who are unhappy at their jobs are more than 60% more likely to have job searched in the past 3 months. Unhappy drivers also report being unwilling to recommend their company to other drivers and do not want to work at their company for a long time. In contrast, the majority of drivers who are happy rarely think about looking for a new job and would recommend their company to other drivers.

Company drivers indicate that company culture is the second most important factor that drivers are attracted to their company. Being a pet friendly trucking company is only one small piece of company culture, but for some drivers, it makes a big difference. Offering a pet program is a great way to boost driver happiness, continue building a positive company culture, and increase driver retention.

Pets Improve Driver Happiness

As any pet owner knows, pets make our lives better in countless ways. Studies have shown that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression, have lower blood pressure in stressful situations, and lower cholesterol. For truck drivers, the benefits of a pet while on the road are even greater. Some truck drivers struggle to maintain their health. Having a pet that needs regular exercise encourages drivers to regularly get out of their truck, stretch, and walk around. In addition, pets can reduce depression among drivers who spend long periods of time away from home. They fill our need for human touch and give companionship during long stretches away from loved ones.

We spoke with Sydney Abernathy, Director of Recruiting at Super T Transport. She shared her perspective on the benefits of being a pet friendly trucking company.

“We have a pet policy to attract and retain drivers and the benefit is increased wellness in our drivers. A pet can promote wellness for a driver with increased activity, reduced stress and anxiety, and by filling a need for companionship  Driver wellness is one of the biggest challenges a driver faces on the road. If you consider a pet policy part of your driver wellness program it is easy to see the return of the policy on your bottom line.”

Establishing A Successful Pet Program

woman and dogOffering a pet program is a great way to boost driver happiness and retention, and there are several best practices that will make your program successful. First, consider the guidelines you will share with drivers. It’s reasonable and recommended to include some restrictions on the type of pet or size of the animal to reduce the likelihood of equipment damage. Weights limits that allow pets up to either 30lbs or 60lbs are common among top carriers. Similarly, some fleets encourage drivers to stick to either cats and dogs and allow petitions for other pet requests.

Top carriers including JB Hunt, Knight, and Crete are known for allowing pets on the road and are a great model for implementing a successful pet program.

Communicating With Drivers

Whether you are starting a new pet program from scratch or revising an existing program, communication is key to success. Give clear expectations about cab cleanliness and communicate these from the start. Additionally, set concrete repercussions for not meeting those standards. For additional protection, some companies ask for a deposit to cover any potential damages. If you implement a deposit requirement, make sure the cost of the deposit is not prohibitive. An exorbitant deposit amount breeds resentment because you are then only offering a pet program in name.

Once you have established the basic guidelines for a pet program, help drivers take care of their pets on the road. Ultimately, a healthy, happy pet is a better companion and is less likely to damage equipment. 

Here are a few simple tips:

  • Encourage drivers to take their pet for a vet check before going OTR. 
  • Let pets get familiar with the space before drivers are far from home.
  • Drivers should be aware of any dangerous chemicals or work sites and keep pets out of harm’s way.
  • Remind drivers to prepare food, water, a waste plan, and an exercise plan before they hit the road.
  • Offer resources for drivers to be successful and safe with a pet on the road.

Marketing Yourself as a Pet Friendly Trucking Company

bulldog in semi truck

Good marketing transforms pet programs into a recruitment tool in addition to a retention asset. Consider advertising yourself as a pet friendly trucking company in everything from general ads to specific job descriptions. Position your pet program as part of driver care and a positive company culture. Having a pet program is unlikely to attract drivers if the rest of the job is not competitive. That said, if you have a compelling job offer, being a pet friendly trucking company may give you the edge over your competitors.

Communication is crucial in recruitment conversations, so be open upfront about the structure of your program and any restrictions. Drivers will appreciate the clarity and the drivers who are a good fit for the position will stay engaged.

Being a pet friendly trucking company benefits company culture, retention, and recruiting. Pets increase driver happiness, and that decreases turnover. Pet programs are a great way to attract quality drivers while supporting the physical and mental well-being of your fleet.

driver happiness and retention survey

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Driver Lifestyle & Job Happiness Survey

We surveyed over 400 CDL truck drivers nationwide to discover what makes them happy in their career and life. Access the survey report to see the results.

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hiring dump truck drivers

It’s tempting to use a universal recruitment strategy across all of your unfilled driving positions. Avoid the trap! That’s not the most effective strategy if your goal is to recruit for retention. While dump truck drivers may have a lot in common with other truckers, there are also key differences. Honing in on those unique needs and preferences will help set your recruiting strategy apart. When you are hiring dump truck drivers, there are a few specific job components that are essential to mention to candidates. 

1. Home Time

Home time is always a top concern for drivers. Dump truck drivers are no exception. Not only that, but some dump truck drivers may have sacrificed higher pay for increased home time. With that in mind, make sure that drivers get the details they need. There are two key questions to answer. The first is, “How often can drivers expect to be home?” The second is, “Is the schedule consistent?” Drivers may have additional questions, but these two questions should be addressed upfront. 

How To Talk About It

Chances are, dump truck drivers are looking for regional or local jobs for a reason. If drivers share that they have a family or other specific motivations for staying close to home, incorporate that into the conversation. Talking to a driver with a family with young kids? Highlight time for attending their little league game or birthday parties. When possible, make it personal.

2. Compensation

Compensation is central to every hiring conversation. At a minimum, drivers want to know how much they can expect in pay and how that pay is determined. For dump truck drivers, clarify whether their pay is hourly, load-based, or determined based on other criteria. If you offer opportunities for drivers to increase their salaries based on performance or longevity, make sure to mention it. Similarly, include bonuses and incentive programs as part of the total compensation. That said, all the bonuses in the world won’t make up for low pay. To attract drivers, the total compensation should be at or above the industry average for your region.

How To Talk About It

Talk about the highlights, and make sure to present this as a total compensation package, not just salary when hiring dump truck drivers. There’s no solution for a lousy salary, but you can create a more holistic picture of your job offering if the pay doesn’t tell the whole story. After you’ve spoken, give drivers plenty of opportunities for questions.

3. Route & Level of Touch

Since dump truck drivers can be residential or commercial, it’s important to clarify the expected route when hiring dump truck drivers. This should also be in the job description, so this information won’t be new for drivers. That said, it’s always helpful to make sure that drivers are crystal clear on the position expectations.  This is not an easy job, and drivers should be prepared. Drivers also need to know the type of work environment they will be in. For example, if drivers will be working on a construction site, drivers should know that before they start. 

Drivers should be crystal clear on position expectations. That includes work environment, route, and level of touch among other job elements.

Similarly, make sure to include the level of touch in all hiring conversations. Driving a dump truck can be a very physical job, and that needs to be communicated to drivers. That said, don’t assume that a high level of touch is necessarily a bad thing for all drivers. 

How To Talk About It

Emphasize whether the job is typically the same routes or if drivers are frequently going new places. Some drivers prefer consistency while others find it monotonous. When talking about the level of touch, try not to make too many assumptions. Keep a positive tone and state the level of touch as a fact. Anticipating concerns could create problems where there otherwise would not have been any. By focusing on clarity upfront, you’ll find a driver who is a good fit for your job.

4. Schedule

As with home time, schedule is often very important for dump truck drivers. For some drivers, a better and more consistent schedule could be their reason for job searching. In the recruitment or hiring conversation be prepared to share specific details. For example, are there typical start and times? Do drivers have consistent days off? Will drivers work weekends or holidays? Are there other key scheduling details that might not be obvious to drivers? Include those details early in your conversation.

How To Talk About It

Workplace happiness is often about meeting expectations. With that in mind, try to set clear expectations about the schedule from the start. It might be counterintuitive, but that is especially important for any details that drivers might not like. When talking with a candidate, give as much detail as possible without over-promising. Then, drivers know what you are looking for, but they won’t have the overinflated expectations that can lead to high turnover.

5. Equipment

Operating a dump truck often requires manual labor from the driver. Unsurprisingly, that makes good equipment a top priority. Many drivers know what they’re getting into, and they are invested in having the right equipment to get the job done safely and efficiently. When you talk with drivers, make sure to communicate if you use roll off trucks, hooklift trucks, or something else. If you have specific expectations around skills drivers need to have, let them know. Similarly, if you are willing to train drivers on the job, share that too. 

How to Talk About It

Because equipment is so important in this role, make sure the details are shared in the job description as well as in recruitment conversations. Drivers will want to know the make, model, and year, so be prepared with details. They may also have questions about the number of miles on the vehicle or its current condition. Use this time to highlight safety practices and how your company cares for drivers through equipment.

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

hazmat driverRecruiting drivers to fill your fleet is often a never-ending task. Recruiting a Hazmat driver can help focus your efforts, but it also narrows the candidate pool. Before you launch your next recruitment campaign, make sure you know exactly which drivers you’re trying to reach. Then, implement some fresh recruiting tactics along with your tried and true strategies to attract drivers and retain them as valuable additions to your fleet.

1. Know What Makes Hazmat Drivers Different

When recruiting a Hazmat driver, it’s important to identify characteristics that differentiate these drivers from other drivers. This is part of building a driver persona. One obvious distinction of Hazmat drivers? These drivers were willing to put in the extra effort for their endorsement. There are many reasons why a driver might have decided that the endorsement was worth the time and money, and not all drivers will have the same reason. However, as an employer, you can confidently say that these drivers were willing to work hard for a goal and that they accomplished that goal. When you have a clear understanding of the driver personas you are recruiting, use your value proposition to tailor a recruitment message to their priorities. 

When you have a clear understanding of the driver personas you are recruiting, use your value proposition to write an appealing job description.

In addition to their endorsement, Hazmat drivers typically have several years of prior driving experience. This can be a tremendous asset when you hire because you can be more confident in their skills. It also means you can rely on behavioral interviewing and past experiences to select the best driver. That said, for many drivers, with more experience comes the expectation of higher pay. Drivers who have some experience typically expect respect and a quality position from their employer. To get quality drivers, jobs should be advertised at or above industry average pay for that type of position. Experienced drivers are also looking for comprehensive benefits and career growth opportunities. At the end of the day, a good job offer helps attract top drivers. 

2. Refresh Your Recruiting Techniques

Identifying your Hazmat driver personas is an important first step, but getting those drivers in the door is often much more challenging. Driver referrals are a good place to start. Hazmat drivers on your team are likely to know other candidates who are qualified and would be a good fit for your job. By relying on the networks that drivers naturally develop, employers can incentivize referrals for candidates who come with a good peer recommendation. 

truck driver

To help encourage drivers who are undecided about a job change, make sure your job is compelling. Good benefits, regular home time, newer equipment, and competitive pay are essential.

Recruit from a wide demographic base in your recruitment efforts. This allows you to tap into untapped markets and strengthen your fleet. Especially for endorsement-based positions like Hazmat, quality is more important than quantity. Work to establish a sustainable long term strategy for keeping turnover low and driver satisfaction high.

3. Implement a Retention as Recruitment Strategy

Once drivers are successfully onboarding, retention is one of the most time-saving and cost-efficient ways to keep your fleet full. While retention is not the same as recruitment, these aspects work in parallel to keep your trucks full. Financially, most drivers reported in the Drive My Way Driver Happiness Survey that they would rather earn incrementally higher pay and a smaller sign-on bonus than have a larger sign-on bonus but lower pay. Incentives like a performance bonus or small pay increase may feel costly, but over time, they may be comparable or less expensive than regularly recruiting and training new drivers.

Retention is not the same as recruitment, but they work in parallel to keep your trucks full and your drivers happy.

Ultimately, driver satisfaction is key to a successful “retention as recruitment” strategy. Driver satisfaction starts with a clear, appealing job and position description. That includes competitive pay, reliable home time, full benefits, and clear route expectations at a minimum. Once these essentials are met, focus on building a strong company culture. Each of these aspects of hiring plays a key role in successfully recruiting your next Hazmat driver. 

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