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Recruitment and Branding in Trucking: Lessons From OTA's Technology Conference

Posted on November 14, 2018 in the category Recruiting

On November 8th, the Ohio Trucking Association held its second annual Technology Conference. The conference covered topics focused on how to use technology to grow your trucking business. I had the privilege of sitting on a panel to discuss the best ways to leverage technology to improve your digital driver brand and recruiting efforts.

Everyone asks us: what’s the best way to recruit truck drivers? It’s a hard question to answer because it takes more than just one approach. Every effective driver recruitment strategy actually has three components:

  1. Positive branding

  2. An excellent candidate experience

  3. The ability to expand their hiring pool

It’s a lot to unpack in one blog. That’s why we’ll cover the basics of each one here and blow-out all three individually in future posts.

3 Ways to Effectively Brand Your Company

Most companies have a great story to tell but most stink at telling it. Candidates’ perception of your company does not match the true reality. Do you want to look like just another average trucking company to potential hires, or do you want to look like the employer of choice? With driver demand and turnover at an all time high, you need to stand out from the crowd and showcase your positives.

There are three ways that you can effectively brand yourself to recruit more candidates: positive reviews, video storytelling, and using social media to prove your driver value proposition. It’s all about visibility into your culture for the outsider. You want candidates to see all the reasons that they should work for you instead of the dozen other companies that are pitching them. When you have positive reviews, professional-level recruiting videos that tell your story, and you use social media to display your company’s, you’ll generate more quality leads.

How to Improve Your Candidate Experience

To recruit quality truck drivers, you need to provide an excellent candidate experience. Your candidate experience is the process that potential hires go through when they apply to your company. It starts before you’re even aware of the candidate. You could have great drivers who want to work for you, but turn away because your process is cumbersome or fails to effectively tell your company story.

Focus on three aspects to improving your candidates’ experience:

  • Mobile compatibility

  • Time-to-hire

  • Live-answer rate

For starters, 90% of drivers that applied to our Applicant Tracking System in 2017 did so on a mobile device. Your ads, landing pages, career pages, release forms, and new hire/contractor paperwork all need to be mobile-friendly. Once they apply, how long does it take until they work for you? It should be days, not weeks. An Applicant Tracking System like A-Suite can get you there through automation and a simple application process. Lastly, just pick-up the phone. Your live answer rate needs to be over 90%. Otherwise, you could have quality drivers who call and don’t call back because they didn’t talk to anyone. If you called to get a pizza delivered and nobody picked-up the phone, what would you do? You’d call another pizza shop. That’s how candidates react when they call you and you don’t answer.

How Big is Your Driver Candidate Pool?

The average age of an over-the-road truck driver is 55. According to Women In Trucking, only 6% of truckers are female. You’re drawing from the same well and the well is getting dry. So how do you get new people into the industry? We’ll explore this topic in-depth in future posts, but for now, consider your requirements for hiring a new driver. Historically, insurance companies have dictated minimum age requirements of 23 and two years experience. This has created a dearth of younger drivers in the industry because there have only been a few dozen large carriers who would hire fresh out of school graduates. We are seeing many regional companies successfully implement a CDL Finishing School and a train-the-trainer model to safety hire and train recent CDL graduates. If you’re considering opening a CDL Finishing School, bring our curriculum to your insurance company to show a consistent, documented and outcome-based new driver curriculum. The insurance companies are realizing they need to support you in this effort or there won’t be any drivers to insure in 10 years.

What Is The First Thing I Should Do to Improve Recruiting?

We wish that there was one cure-all for hiring more truck drivers. Instead, we have steps that you can take today that will give you more quality leads. Creating positive driver branding, an excellent candidate experience, and expanding your driver pool will lead to more professional, safe drivers behind the wheel for you. But where do you begin? Put yourself in your candidates’ shoes. Take a look at your website, social media presence, reviews, and application process. Does it accurately represent your culture? Is there anything that would turn you away? Every step of the process should leave the candidate with the feeling that he or she would be an absolute fool not to work for you.

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