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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.

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recruit for retention
Many companies, either intentionally or inadvertently, incentivize driver recruiters to prioritize hires above all else. In some cases, this is an effective short-term solution but often, it does not hold companies in good stead in the long run. Instead, recruit for retention. Lowering driver turnover can dramatically save recruiting costs because there are fewer drivers to replace. Strong driver retention also improves company culture and driver satisfaction. While they may occupy different line items on the budget, recruitment and retention are points along the same spectrum. In your fleet, take concrete steps to incentivize driver recruiters to recruit for retention.

Analyze Your Current Structure

truck driver recruiter

The first step to incentivizing driver recruiters to recruit for retention is to assess your existing program. Frequently, recruiters are incentivized for fast hires. Bonuses based on achieving a set number of hires in a specific time frame or rewards based purely on hiring numbers are just that. When recruiters are put under extremely tight deadlines, this exacerbates the problem. Recruiters are likely getting lots of drivers through the door, but that does not necessarily mean those drivers are highly qualified or likely to stay. 

In addition to analyzing the incentivization structure for recruiters, take time to observe several recruiting conversations. How are recruiters connecting with potential candidates? What questions are they asking drivers? Are they taking the time to understand what these drivers are looking for in a job? The personal touch of a driver recruiter can make a big difference in first impressions. Recruiting for retention may require retraining driver recruiters to approach conversations with candidates as relationship-building opportunities.

Change the Reward Target

Once you have a clear view of your existing recruitment incentivization structure, decide whether you are effectively prioritizing retention. If not, determine the necessary changes to make retention the goal. 

One of the most common ways to incentivize recruiters is through a rewards system. Rather than rewarding recruiters for hires, consider distributing rewards only for new drivers who stay at least 30 days. If you feel a longer time period is necessary, try 60 or 90 days. Drivers often leave because of unmet expectations. So, encouraging recruiters to prioritize retention necessitates that they vet drivers carefully and clearly communicate job expectations to reduce quick turnover.

Drivers often leave because of unmet expectations. Encourage recruiters to be candid and transparent to better recruit for retention.

To ensure follow-through from recruiters, consider asking for notes about each driver’s future plans. This requires recruiters to ask each driver about their long-term priorities as well as the immediate qualifications needed for the job. Remember, even though many companies incentivize recruiters with financial rewards, there are other options. Vacation time as well as internal or external recognition are also significant motivators for many recruiters!

Train Recruiters From the Start

trucking recruiter on phoneFrom the moment of onboarding, driver recruiters should be trained to look at recruiting as a long game. Explicitly tell recruiters that the company’s mission is to minimize turnover and maximize retention of quality drivers. Train everyone who works closely with drivers to recruit through conversations to foster strong relationships. This may be a change from previous jobs that focused exclusively on hires, so it’s important to continuously reinforce recruitment for retention in both words and actions. 

After you make any necessary changes to the incentivization structure and train drivers to recruit through conversations, you are ready to revamp your recruiting – almost! As you restructure incentives, make sure you are setting recruiters up for success. Even the best recruiters cannot boost driver retention for poor jobs.

Drivers want jobs that meet their financial and home time needs, are a good fit for their skills, and have a company culture of respect. Without these components, recruiters are fighting a losing battle. To incentivize driver recruiters for retention, change the reward targets, train recruiters to have conversations, and make compelling job offers. 

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 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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stop sexual harassment in trucking

Sexual harassment in the trucking industry is a documented problem. The good news is, many people want to promote safer work environments and stop harassment. Frequently, conversations center on women who experience sexual harassment. This is not a problem exclusively experienced by women, but in a heavily male-dominated field, it is often women who report incidents. As a result of the trucking shortage, more and more female drivers are entering the workforce, and safety on the job needs to be a priority.

Regardless of your personal feelings on the subject, it makes good business sense to take clear steps to stop sexual harassment in trucking. Small companies and large fleets alike can rely on a combination of policy and company culture. What’s a good way to check if you’re doing well? Look around you. Are women drivers and employees who you recruit staying with your company? If there is a disproportionately high level of churn among female employees, uncover the reasons for that turnover.

What is Considered Sexual Harassment?

  • Quid Pro Quo: This is one of the easiest forms of harassment to identify, though it may not be easy to report or document. Quid Pro Quo is an explicit request or demand from someone in a position of direct or perceived power of “I do this for you, then you do this for me.”
  • Hostile Work Environment: This harassment is often much harder to spot. At its core, a hostile work environment is any unwanted speech or conduct that makes someone else uncomfortable and inhibits someone from doing their job. It could include anything from crude jokes or suggestive comments to inappropriate photos or shirts to nonconsensual touching or other forms of unwanted attention. Hostile work environment complaints are evaluated based on how the comment or action was perceived, not how it was intended. So, make sure employees are clear on your company policies and expectations.

How Can You Promote A Safe Workplace?

1. Policies

Many companies share sexual harassment policies during driver orientation. Unfortunately, while that may be sufficient if legal action is taken, it may not be very effective in preventing incidents. During onboarding, drivers receive a lot of new information, and the complexity of legal policies makes them difficult to understand at the best of times. 

Policies should be clear to everyone on your staff. Provide a straight forward reporting structure for documenting an incident before a situation arises.

Instead, remind employees frequently of your policies by incorporating it into your company culture. At their core, policies should be comprehensive but clear to your staff. Communicate a zero-tolerance policy of sexual harassment in your workplace. In addition, provide an uncomplicated, consistent reporting structure for documentation of incidents before there is an incident to report. Encourage employees to use this structure if they do need to report a situation.

2. Training

In addition to training all drivers, recruiters, and other employees on your policies, consider offering safety training. Offer this training to women or anyone else who wants to join the conversation about safety on the road and in the workplace. The underlying question is, “What can you do to set drivers up for safety?” 

As an employer, help prepare female and other drivers for these situations. Communicate that it is not their fault. It’s important not to place blame or hold the injured person responsible for the situation. Then, share best practices for preventing and confronting uncomfortable situations. Encourage drivers to be aware of their surroundings. Share resources such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) if drivers want to reach out for confidential help.

3. Reporting

female truck driversUnfortunately, many drivers will experience sexual harassment on the job. Decide how you will handle sexual harassment situations before they arise. Have an open-door reporting policy on reporting. Make it as easy as possible for drivers to bring an incident to your attention. Prior to an incident, clearly share how drivers can expect reports to be handled. If there are specific forms of documentation you require, make sure your employees know what that is. Take care not to set barriers that unintentionally repress reporting. 

Having a designated check-in person is another great way to encourage a culture of safety. Employees should know that they can approach that person with sexual harassment reports. If drivers aren’t coming to you, it may mean that they are too nervous or uncomfortable to broach the subject. Designate someone on staff to periodically reach out to drivers proactively about their experience on the job. 

4. Accountability

Accountability includes two sides when it comes to stopping sexual harassment in the trucking industry. The first is accountability within your company. When someone makes a sexual harassment report, it’s important that staff are trained to take the complaint seriously. In addition to prioritizing strong company values, there could be legal consequences for ignoring or glossing over a sexual harassment report. 

Hold your company and your employees responsible for their actions. A safe workplace benefits all employees.

The second aspect of accountability is to hold any employees involved responsible for their actions. Clarify how your company will follow up on the report and what the consequences will be. Clearly state (in writing when possible) what will happen if there is a repeat incident. Ultimately, a safer workplace is a positive asset for all employees.

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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4 Reasons Verifiable Fleet Safety Needs to be a Top Priority

Fleet safety is one of the most important things for a trucking company to prioritize. One bad safety incident can cost thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. It can cause a ripple of damaging effects for years: in bad publicity, drivers turning down jobs, and overall a long recovery from the incident. Though not every accident is avoidable, most have causes that prove to be preventable. So here are 4 reasons verifiable fleet safety needs to be a top priority.

1. Mitigate Your Risk: Drivers

Your drivers are your most valuable assets. You put a lot of time and effort into hiring them, so be sure to put that same effort and time into keeping them. Driver health is one of the best ways to mitigate risk over the road. Healthy minds and bodies make for safer drivers. If you have drivers that are overly tired or stressed, they’re more likely to make mental errors that can cause safety issues. And drivers who are not trained well certainly won’t be set up to be safe and successful drivers. Think about what you can do to help support your drivers’ health and well-being. Put plans in place to start making driver health a priority. And share those plans to everyone in the company.

2. Mitigate Your Risk: Equipment

Put risk mitigation steps in place with your equipment as well to help with your overall fleet safety. Staying current with all the required service and safety checks required for your company’s equipment is especially important.

Keeping your fleet in good repair can keep your employees more engaged. The state of your equipment can have a big impact on your drivers and how attractive your company might be to new employees. Have a clear fleet maintenance policy in place.

3. Create a Culture of Fleet Safety

Who is responsible for fleet safety? Is it left up to the drivers behind the wheel? Does concern for safety come from the top of the organization down? Is everyone aware of your safety policies? If you’re not sure of these answers, one of the best things you can do at this time is get your safety policies written down. And then share them with everyone. This is the best way to get a culture of safety started. Bake safety into the foundation of the company and communicate it both internally and externally. If not, it will always fall to someone else to be responsible for fleet safety.

4. Document Emergency Procedures

As mentioned, not every incident is 100% avoidable, and it’s true that accidents will happen. Even when you take precautions, you and your drivers need to be ready to react in case of an emergency. Having solid, documented processes in place is very important when talking about overall fleet safety. Ensuring your drivers know what do to and who to contact when a problem arises can help lessen the impact of the damage and the time getting the situation resolved.

Document your processes and procedures for any type of emergency that might arise. Ensure that your drivers have quick access to clear emergency contact information and steps to take in case of an emergency.

Taking these steps to ensure you’ve got a good start to verifiable fleet safety is an important way to create a culture of safety in your company. Working to always communicate and share updates to any of these policies is something that should be built-in to decision making and change management throughout the organization. Making that everyone in the organization is responsible for safety can make your company an attractive option when hiring new 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

How to Use Behavioral Interviewing to Hire Better Drivers

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

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

What is Behavioral Interviewing and How is it Different?

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

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

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

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

Vocabulary to Know

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

 Traits 

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

Attributes/Skills

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

 Competencies

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

How It Works

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

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

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

Benefits of Behavioral Interviewing

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

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

Quick Guide to Behavioral Interviewing

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Behavioral Interviewing

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

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How to Boost Driver Retention with What You Already Have

Trucking companies are in competition every day for the best drivers. Recruiters work hard to find the best fit drivers for their current and long-term needs. Once these drivers are onboard and driving, you still need to work to keep your driver retention rates high. Otherwise, you will be constantly cycling through the hiring process. You want your drivers to stay with you, and need to work to keep them. So when it comes to keeping good drivers, let’s explore how to boost driver retention with what you already have as assets to your driver strategy.

Company Culture

Every company has a culture, and it could be either your best asset or your worst enemy. One thing any recruiter needs to be aware of is the general perception of what it’s like to work for your company. If you’ve got satisfied and productive drivers, your company culture is an attractive value proposition when recruiting new drivers. And a strength that you should leverage when recruiting and onboarding your drivers.

Drivers will look for jobs where they find personal fulfillment and a sense of belonging, not just simple job satisfaction. Soliciting and acting on driver feedback signals to drivers that they can call your company home.

However, if you’ve got disgruntled employees and corresponding high turnover rates, it’s time for change. You need to do some hard work to fix the internal issues causing the problems. Take the steps needed to build a driver-centric culture. Your current employees and new hires will stay longer, improving your driver retention over the long run.

Driver Testimonials

Current driver testimonials are a powerful tool in recruiting for retention. Who better to tell a prospect about why a driver would want to work for your company, than a current driver? Sometimes the most sophisticated marketing tools for recruitment can’t compete with a simple, honest and authentic testimonial from a driver who loves their job. So use these to your best advantage!

Drivers looking for work, often ask around their peers for leads and opportunities to apply for driving jobs. Having a few good testimonials to leverage in your marketing channels is a fantastic way to recruit for drivers that will best fit your company culture for the long-term.

And when hiring for a best fit from the beginning, it also helps with driver retention once hired. Having your current drivers be a marketing asset for your company is a great way to make current employees feel even more valued. It shows that you’re proud of the work that they’re doing, and gives them even bigger feeling of belonging vs. just punching a timecard.

Flexibility

Flexibility is a major strength in any good recruitment and retention strategy. Keeping things personal in this process, means being flexible. Listening to what your candidates need in order to join your team vs. another, is extremely important. Candidates have a lot of questions for any recruiter. Are you ready to answer them for each candidate?

The more you can tailor the experience to each individual, gives you the best advantage for signing the best drivers. And signing them quickly.

Once new drivers are hired in, staying flexible to meet their needs help keep these drivers as happy and engaged employees.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your hiring process and start hiring for retention, Drive My Way can help!

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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3 Truck Driver Awards to Give Out This Year

People generally like to be recognized for their achievements. Professional truck drivers are no exception to that rule. Truckers can be rewarded in several different ways. Some drivers respond strongly to financial rewards. For other drivers, recognition as a standout among their peers is the best incentive. Here are 3 different types of truck driver awards to give out this year.

1. Driver of the Year

Many companies take great lengths to find out who their super star employees are and hope to retain them. But do you have someone who’s awarded as the best? Give out a coveted “Truck Driver of the Year” award each year. Select one driver to single out as exceptional among your whole team. He or she should be a driver who is the best example of your company culture, always displays professionalism, excels at customer satisfaction, and puts safety first. And make a big deal about it. Give them a prestigious award in front of the whole company! Be sure to put these in a prominent place so that others can aspire to this someday.

To make this more inclusive, you can create campaigns to nominate drivers for consideration. Have a team to vet your finalists and be sure to have the rules fair across your whole pool of drivers. Truck driver awards like these can be wonderful tools to help drivers strive to be the best, and ultimately want to stay with your company for a long time.

2. Million Mile Safety Clubs

Many carriers choose to recognize dedication and permanence in their drivers. Million Mile Clubs are a fantastic way to show your appreciation to those drivers. The drivers who put in the time, mile by mile, year after year, should be rewarded for their loyalty and commitment to their careers. The drivers that covered that many miles safely deserve the recognition for their respect for themselves, their cargo, and also for the other drivers on the road. A special trophy engraved with their name and the date, and the number of miles makes for a great keepsake for any long-time driver. Have something even more special for those drivers who achieve this milestone more than once.

3. Recognition Boards

The little things matter too. Catch someone doing an excellent job on any given day. Then recognize them right away by putting a small certificate on their locker or on a bulletin board in a public area. Or post a quick note of recognition for everyone to see on your employee intranet. These types of truck driver awards and recognition can make your drivers feel special on any given day for any reason. And they’ll feel proud to be a part of your organization.

Driver appreciation can and should be a year-round activity. After all, appreciation is a key component of driver retention. So no matter if your a recruiter, dispatcher, fleet manager, or executive, take some time to show your drivers how much you and your company value them.

Sometimes small gestures of appreciation can go a long way to let your truckers know that you’re thankful for them. Provide some company branded gear to wear on the job. Or give out other small tokens that show driver appreciation. These small things can be a boost to someone’s dedication to your company.

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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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What do truck drivers look for in jobs? What are the most important traits to them? These are the questions that pester recruiters in the back of their minds. Recruiters know that there is a driver shortage, and that truck drivers are looking for the best jobs they can find. If drivers aren’t happy then, they will quickly move on to finding another job with another fleet. We’ve written previously about the top factors truck drivers want. Here are some of the top traits of the best trucking jobs as drivers see them.

1. Salary and Compensation

Have no doubt about it—drivers are looking to be compensated well. Truck drivers are in high demand, and they know it. The salary and benefits of different jobs depend on a number of factors which may sometimes be out of your control. That being said, make sure you do everything you can to ensure that drivers are being paid well for the type of job they are taking on.

Compensating drivers below the industry average will raise red flags and impact your company’s reputation.

In addition to salary, there are many financial incentives you can consider, such as sign-on bonuses and paid time off. Some companies give their drivers a bonus for every year that they stay with the fleet. Make sure that drivers are receiving a simple pay statement that is easy to understand and has the accurate amount. Drivers don’t want to waste time following up with the payroll department for company errors.

2. Home Time

This is one of the most important traits of the best trucking jobs. The ideal trucking job doesn’t take OTR drivers out on the road for more than a week. If the run is local or regional, even better. While drivers realize that OTR jobs are necessary, they will expect their work schedules to reflect the sacrifice in home time. Ideally, there is a considerable amount of home time of several days between jobs.

Don’t forget, the average driver works 8 days straight before taking a break. Anything the company can do to shorten that schedule, or to add more home time after that schedule, will be something drivers will appreciate.

Most drivers will have families hoping to see them every week. Even truck drivers currently without families will crave downtime after being on the road for that long.

3. Mileage

The number of miles offered on a given job is one of the traits of the best trucking jobs. Some drivers may feel that the shorter the run, the more desirable the job. But, that isn’t always the case. Other drivers enjoy OTR jobs, and would rather have a longer job which pays more. It is completely up to driver preferences.

Most importantly, drivers will be upset if the advertised mileage doesn’t match the real mileage.

Similarly, if the other traits of the job are not what they were advertised to be, drivers will not trust your company. Word about company reputation can spread like wildfire.

4. Equipment

Truck drivers are often frustrated when dealing with shoddy equipment. Drivers routinely warn other drivers to stay away from companies just because of the reputation they have over equipment. A big factor in determining what’s a good truck driving job is the state of their trucks and equipment. Are the truck models recent and well maintained? Or are they falling apart?

Truck drivers don’t want to be held liable for maintenance failures on the company’s end. Nor do they want to have to spend time repairing the truck while they should be on the road getting to the next destination.

While your fleet doesn’t need to have the latest and greatest truck models, you should make sure they are well-maintained. Invest in quality equipment and truck drivers will consider jobs from your company to be some of the best.

5. Respect and Communication

Perhaps the biggest sign of a good job for truck drivers is how well they are treated by the company. Drivers view themselves as working professionals just like in any other industry. They are looking to be treated with respect by the company and by their peers and supervisors. Having respect for drivers means valuing their time and effort they put into the work.

Put most simply, drivers just want the company’s representatives to treat them they way they would like to be treated.

A big component of respect is how well the company communicates with drivers. Having an open line of communication where both parties feel their concerns are heard and understood will go a long way toward earning drivers’ trust. Make sure dispatchers and others are not speaking to drivers rudely or taking them for granted.

In addition to some of the monetary factors, things like respect and strong communication from the company are what make for a good truck driving job. Keep these traits in mind that drivers look for, and soon your company will be known for offering some of the best trucking jobs.

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Given the continual driver shortage, truck drivers have many options in deciding which companies and fleets to work for. Recruiters need to constantly differentiate themselves from other firms when interacting with job prospects. Recruiters are constantly guessing about how much drivers will care about different factors when weighing job options. Data from Drive My Way’s database revealed some interesting factors which CDL truck drivers care about when looking for a CDL trucking job.

Drive My Way’s unique service matches drivers with companies based on professional qualifications and lifestyle choices. We asked our drivers which factors are most important to them when they are deciding where to work. We were overwhelmed by the sheer number of responses and slightly surprised by the results. According to our Drive My Way drivers, here are the top seven factors CDL truck drivers consider when deciding where to work.

1. Pay

Okay, this one is not a big surprise, but it’s good to have some hard data behind recruiters’ instincts. Type and amount of pay is the number one reason drivers said they consider when looking for jobs. In fact, over 15,000 Drive My Way drivers cited this as the top reason.

Truckers know a shoddy deal when they see one, so they’ll be skeptical if your company is offering them pay less than the industry average.

In addition to salary, drivers also look for opportunities for raises, bonuses, and overtime rates. If they are driving specialty or unusual hauls which are more dangerous, they will expect those to pay better. Bottom line, if drivers aren’t paid competitively at your company, they’ll shop around for a company where they are.

2. Health Insurance

Salary isn’t the only important factor when it comes to compensation. Drivers care about a full benefits package, including health insurance. Over 12,000 Drive My Way drivers cited this as a factor they consider when applying for a new CDL job.

The costs of health insurance have risen over the last 10 years, and drivers look for the best packages that covers their health needs. Drivers with families especially look to cover as many family members as possible. Many families will need special coverage for very particular health needs, and if their employers only offer very basic packages they will look elsewhere for a better deal. Try to balance out factors like the deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance costs and have a portfolio of different insurance options for drivers to choose from.

3. Retirement Plans

When deciding where to work, CDL truck drivers consider retirement options. The average truck driver age is 49. Many drivers are only about two decades away from retirement, so if they haven’t started saving yet they will want to now. Even younger drivers are likely to be proactive and start thinking about retirement sooner rather than later. Overall, nearly 12,000 Drive My Way drivers cited retirement plans as a top factor they consider in a new CDL job.

Many employers offer retirement plans but don’t automatically enroll their staff into a default plan. The result is that drivers and other staff are overwhelmed with having to make those decisions and put it off indefinitely. Make the process easier for your drivers by having an automatic opt-in policy. Then, they have the choice to opt-out or choose a different plan. Saving for retirement is hard, but drivers know the importance. Let your job prospects know you can make the process easier for them, and they’ll remember your company as one that cares.

4. Type of Run/Range

Truck driving jobs have a great deal of variety. One of the most critical attributes that make them different is the type of run and range that exists. Not all drivers want jobs that take them coast-to-coast across the country. Over 11,000 drivers named the type of run as an essential factor when deciding where to work.

Some drivers will prefer over-the-road (OTR) work. However, since OTR drivers spend less time at home and live out of their truck, they expect to be compensated better. Other drivers prefer local runs or regional runs. Make sure you get to know your driver candidate’s preferences in what types of runs and range they’d like to cover.

5. Type of Schedule and Paid Time-Off

Home time is one of the most important factors drivers consider when looking for work. Over 11,000 Drive My Way drivers cited both of these—type of schedule and PTO —as top job factors they consider when applying to a new CDL trucking job.

The average driver works 70 hours a week and goes 8 days before taking a day off. That’s a rough schedule for anyone, but especially for drivers who may have families and children. Truck drivers know that the job entails sacrificing home time, but they hope the sacrifices aren’t unbearable. Drivers won’t hesitate to pursue another job if that schedule and PTO package suits their needs better.

6. Training and Development

Truck drivers may have some experience behind the wheel already, but it won’t compare to getting some actual training. Nearly 8,000 Drive My Way drivers cited training and development as a top factor they consider when looking for a new CDL job.

Any company training or orientation that your company provides will make them feel comfortable in the position and foster a sense of belonging with the company. Research shows that employees who feel they’ve been trained and groomed by the company will feel a greater sense of loyalty to that company. More and more drivers are now interested in professional development opportunities. Making training and development a core part of HR operations is something recruiters can do to make a strong case for drivers to work there and remain there for many years.

7. Type of Haul

Over 4,000 Drive My Way drivers expressed that the type of haul is an important factor for them in choosing a CDL jobs. If you aren’t taking into account driver preferences and specializations in hauls, you’re under-utilizing them! Some types of hauls will require special CDL endorsements or special permits, so make sure to equip your drivers with those. If they are already certified, it makes a placement choice all the more easier. Figuring out which hauls should be covered by which drivers can be a tricky business given other constraints, but make sure you ask your drivers about their skill and interest level in them.

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