Being a driver recruiter is no walk in the park. You hustle and dedicate yourself every day to hiring the best of the best. Even so, the big boss reminds you every day how many empty trucks sit in your lot. We’re here to tell you that you’re not the only one living in that world. In fact, almost every transportation company in America struggles to hire enough drivers. The driver problem gets worse each year with more drivers leaving the industry than are entering.
There’s never going to be a silver bullet. The driver problem is a national phenomenon, affecting virtually every company in the transportation industry. It negatively impacts everything from turnover to safety and it’s too complicated to fix with just one approach. That being said, shoring up your recruiting efforts is a good place to begin. We’ll share three tactics that can help you become a successful driver recruiter: prepare, plan, and probe.
When you’re recruiting a candidate, you’re trying to sell them on working for your trucking company. Drivers want to talk to someone who knows what they’re selling. The more you know about the trucking industry, your company, the routes and the customers, the more credible you seem. And if you seem credible, you’ll be a successful recruit. It’s why many companies have former drivers involved in the recruiting and hiring process. If you’ve never been behind the wheel, the best place to start is by asking a driver to let you do a ride along with them for a day. Ask a lot of questions and take an interest in their job. When you do so, you’ll learn more about the day-to-day of drivers and candidates will feel more confident in your opinions. They’ll be more likely to trust you and want to work for your company.
You also need to prepare by doing competitive research to find out what your competitors offer and what they don’t. Then, highlight the strengths of your company based on the unique opportunities driving for you offers. Without bashing your competition, you’ll be educated when you describe their current situation and compare how you’re superior.
If you’re hiring drivers all day, no doubt you have a candidate funnel. But when’s the last time you took a critical look at it? Where are the bottlenecks? If you can eliminate or reduce the bottlenecks, you’ll increase your conversion rates and have more candidates turn into drivers for your company.
Make each step low-risk and easy to say “yes.” For example, after a phone screen, a low risk question is: “may I send you a link to a mobile friendly application for the position we discussed?” Candidates are more likely to say yes when it is a clearly defined, short, and concise next step. Before they know it, they’re one step away from being hired. It all starts with taking a critical look at your plan at your hiring process to measure:
The fall-off percentage for each stage
The time it takes candidates to complete each stage
Once you know your shortcomings, investigate Driver Recruiting Software like A-Suite. They can help expedite the slower parts of your process like capturing data and ordering MVRs and Background Checks.
Recruiters are matchmakers. You’re trying to connect drivers with the right job and your company with the right drivers. You can make sure your candidates are good fits for their job by discovering their pain points. What keeps your candidates up at night? What do they value? You have to probe to get to the core of what your candidates look for in a job.
An effective way to learn your candidates’ pain points is using a list of discovery questions for each candidate. Tailor it to each person based on your driver personas. Come up with five questions to ask every candidate to determine if they’re a good fit. Some good examples are: What has you looking for a new job? What job would be a good fit for you? What caught your eye about joining our company? Once you know what hurts in their life, you can provide an accurate assessment of how you can help them with their career.
The driver problem has created a million-and-one issues for transportation companies all across the nation. Practically every one of those issues has its own solution, from the necessity of growing your driver pool to strategies on retaining your all-star drivers. If you try to solve it all at once, you’ll drive yourself insane without making an inch of progress. Take this elephant one bite at a time and assign these three tasks to your recruiting team. Or, give us a call and see what AvatarFleet can do to assess how you can improve driver recruiting.
It sounds redundant, but if you recruit truck drivers with retention already in mind and as part of the recruiting strategy, your chances of retention will be much higher. So what do we mean by that? We mean employing some basic strategies that can mean a world of difference when you recruit a new driver.
Here are four examples:
Anyone involved with recruiting will tell you that a qualified lead is anyone with a passing interest in driving for your company. They may not have even filled out an application yet; maybe they just requested information.
It’s critical that every single one of these drivers feel wanted. Chances are they are looking elsewhere because they don’t feel cared about at their current job. So show them you care. Listen to them talk about themselves and their situation. They will still be more than happy to feed you the needed info about their current situation and desires for better pay, home time, etc. But having a simple, natural conversation around all of that shows a human compassion for them as a person and that makes a huge difference to a driver.
We get it. You have to ask the general questions. Like, why they would be a good addition to the team and why they drive a truck. Those are important answers to have. But they tell you little about what kind of a person they are.
Focus more on that aspect of the interview. Ask them about their outside interests and home life. It will get them to both relax and inform you about what matters to them in their lives. Do family and community matter? Are they passionate about something? Those things matter just as much as experience when you recruit a new driver.
Ask about a problem-solving situation when they were confronted with a problem. A lot of places ask this question on the spot; try putting it on the application instead. Drivers will have more time to think and properly answer the question and you will learn even more than if they have to scramble in an interview.
Once a candidate gets into the hiring process, he or she tends to get passed off to human resources or someone else within the company. Instead, have the same recruiter who handled the application and interview keep in touch. This will reinforce the fact that you care about the person; you’re not just filling a truck.
This also allows the driver to get help if there are problems during hiring and the recruiter to guide them all the way to their first day on the job. For example, one recruiter said she always calls before a driver’s orientation to make sure they are ready and have all their paperwork set and have no questions.
While many applications come via the internet now, it is no less essential that recruiters call drivers and answer their phone calls. You never know which driver will be the next one you hire, so you have to remember that all drivers are important.
Ensure that your recruiting team tries to answer every single call in real time. 100% may seem impossible. But that doesn’t make it any less worthy of a goal.
Try one or a couple of these out. They may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many companies take one or two of these for granted. One thing is for certain. If you recruit truck drivers with retention already as part of the plan, you will keep more drivers around.
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