The First Step To Driver Retention: How You Recruit Drivers

Posted by John Kuder on July 5, 2020 in the category Recruiting, Retention

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If you’ve read our articles before, you’ve heard this one many times: there’s no silver bullet to solving your driver problem. You struggle to find, recruit, and hire good-fit drivers. You spend more time than you care to admit managing compliance.  When you do manage to hire someone competent, they’re walking out your door as quickly as they walked in. The driver problem is a complex issue and it takes a multi-pronged approach to solve it. We’ve been saying this until we’re blue in the face, but we’re not alone in this train of thought.

In his third edition of his blog series “Recruiting Evolution,” Jason Crowell, recruiting and retention manager at Brady Trucking, shares innovative ways to effectively recruit a fleet of best-fit drivers. Specifically, he points out the important role retention plays in recruiting. Nothing happens in a silo. Retention and recruiting have to sing kumbaya if you’re going to solve your driver problem. 

It’s a Buyer’s Market

As Crowell points out in his article, the golden age for recruiters is also the golden age for job seekers. The drivers you are recruiting have a vast pool of information about you at their fingertips. Any singing and dancing that your recruiters try to pull won’t go anywhere. Your potential hires can uncover your dirt and see through the charade. The internet has no problem showing the world what color underpants you have on. 

It’s incredibly short-sighted to exaggerate, overstate, or bold-face lie to get drivers into your empty seats. Crowell says, “when a recruiter paints a rosier picture than the job-reality, that recruiter will wind up with ballooning employee turnover.” That happens for two reasons. First, if you hire candidates who aren’t actually a good fit, they’re likely to quit when they realize the work just isn’t for them. Second, if your good-fit candidates don’t get everything you told them they would, they can quit and find a new job that same day. Never forget that you’re on the wrong end of supply and demand: there are more open positions than there are quality drivers (even in the COVID-19 recruiting era). 

Auto-Screen Poor Fits with a Realistic Job Preview

When struggling to recruit drivers, it’s a natural tendency to oversell the position. You need to replace the drivers that are quitting in droves, so it makes sense to get as many people in the door as possible, right? Well, not quite.

Not everyone is a good-fit for your company or the work you’re offering. If you successfully sell someone on taking a job that they aren’t actually interested in, all you’re doing is creating more turnover for yourself. Save yourself time, money, and headaches by investing in a realistic job preview.

A realistic job preview (RJP) is a short video that shows job candidates what the job they’re applying for is like. It shows the good, the bad, and the ugly. By investing in a realistic job preview, you will:

  • Attract better-fit candidates
  • Save your time by not wasting it on poor-fit applicants
  • Reduce your voluntary turnover

Crowell said it best. An effective RJP video “scares off the applicants who should be scared, but it's a magnet for the right ones.”

If you want help creating an RJP specific to your company, contact us here.

Retain Best-Fit Drivers by Meeting Expectations

A realistic job preview will help you sift-out some poor-fit applicants, but what about the ones that you do want to hire? Any misdirections, overstatements, or false information in the recruiting process with them does severe damage to your retention numbers. That’s because drivers quit when their expectations aren’t met.

Keep this in mind: your recruiting efforts are your first impression. Candidates are checking your company out for honesty, integrity, and culture. If you get off on the wrong foot with a lie, you drastically reduce your chances of keeping those drivers. There are two important steps to take in meeting your drivers’ expectations.

The first step is to make sure your recruiters have accurate information. Review their recruiting materials as closely as you would a budget. If there’s one item out of line, address it. Any false information your recruiters give a candidate is only going to cause problems for you later.

The second step to take is drafting a mutual expectation form. You can’t meet your drivers’ expectations if you don’t know them in the first place. That’s why we recommend sitting down with each and every new-hire and filling out a mutual expectations agreement. The document details what your driver can expect from you and what you expect from your driver. If everyones in agreement, both parties should sign it. Then, when your driver has a problem, you have an avenue to solve the problem. Encourage your drivers to come to you with concerns regarding how they’re being treated rather than Facebook for all the world to see.

Retention, Recruiting, And YOUR Driver Problem

Stop renting drivers and start recruiting them for the long-haul. Crowell refers to it as “recurring revenue” for your recruiters. If you want the most return on investment for your hires, you need to focus on hiring the right people for the job and painting a clear picture of what they’re signing up for. We know the pressure’s on to hire more drivers, and it’s easy to forget the big picture, but don’t lose sight of your end-goal. You want to hire (and keep!) a fleet of best-fit drivers. 

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