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Why Qualified Drivers Aren't Replying to Your Ads

Are you fishing with a net or a spear?

In other words, are you attracting best-fit drivers with your ads or are you wasting time with unqualified leads? You need ads that make it easy to attract, recruit, and hire the drivers you want while avoiding the drivers you don’t. This article will explain why you aren’t getting those results today.

Driver Hiring Challenges

You’re not the only trucking company struggling to hire qualified drivers. It’s a national issue. Consider some of the following statistics from The ATA regarding the lack of qualified drivers:

  • The industry will need nearly 1.1 million new drivers over the coming decade. That’s just under 110,000 per year on average.
  • Retirement accounts for over 54% of drivers forecasted to leave the industry by 2028 - about 600,000 between 2019 and 2028. In other words, you’re going to be losing more drivers than we have coming in.
  • In 2019, the trucking industry was short over 60,000 drivers, which was up nearly 20% from 2017’s figure of 50,700. If current trends hold, the shortage could swell to over 160,000 by 2028.

All that to say, you’re fighting an uphill battle that will only get harder. So what do you do? Throw your hands up and admit defeat? Of course not. You take action to hire as many qualified drivers as you can. You need to leave the driver shortage for your competition.

Two Self-Imposed Challenges:

You can’t control the fact that the nation is struggling to find qualified drivers. However, your lack of qualified drivers in your pipeline isn’t only affected by outside factors. You’re likely dealing with two self-imposed challenges in your recruiting process:

  1. Your ads don’t stand out from the competition
  2. You lack positive reviews

You need to address these two concerns before you can fill your fleet with all-stars.

1. Your Ads Don’t Stand Out From the Competition

Get on google right now and search “trucking jobs near me.” You’ll probably see 5 or 6 ads that say the same thing: family-owned, get treated with respect, great hometime, blah, blah, blah.

Now, pull up one of your ads. How similar does it look? Does it say anything unique compared to the dozens of trucking ads it’s competing against? If not, it’s no wonder your ads aren’t attracting qualified drivers.

You need something that makes drivers stop scrolling through their social media feeds and say “Wow, I gotta click this ad.” We call it your purple cow - a purple cow turns heads in a field of black and white spots.

You need to write ad copy that makes you stand out as the purple cow. There are dozens of strategies to do so, and we could write an entire book on effective ad-writing. For the sake of this article, we’ll point out just a few effective strategies:

  • Your ad should say something unique. If the competition can say it, why bother? No one will notice.
  • Your ad should be tangible. Be as specific as possible. How much hometime? How much guaranteed paid? Specific, tangible claims help you stand out.
  • Your ad should include images and video. Statistics show that people click on ads with images more than just words, and they click on ads with video most of all. Catch qualified driver’s attention with visuals.

2. You Lack Positive Reviews

The second self-imposed challenge you need to overcome is your negative vs. positive driver reviews of your company. You’re probably thinking this is outside your realm of control, but the fact is, you have direct influence over whether you have more positive than negative reviews.

The biggest mistake you can make is underestimating the power reviews have over how many qualified drivers apply to your company. Consider these two facts:

  • Indeed and Glassdoor surveys showed that 67% of all job seekers state that the company reviews influence their decision to apply or not. 
  • 20% of all leads on Indeed stop on TruckerReport to view your reviews before applying.

Drivers care about what other drivers say more than what you say. They’ll believe your reviews, and if you have a low rating from past drivers, you’re not going to attract high-quality leads. They’ll go with the company that has an average of 4-star reviews over the one with 3.5, every time.

So, how do you swing the odds in your favor? There are a couple of strategies you should implement:

  • Ask drivers for positive reviews. When’s the last time you went out of your way to leave a positive review for a restaurant? People take action when they’re angry. As a result, you end up with a disproportionate amount of negative reviews. Simply ask your veteran drivers to leave an honest review of your company. They’ll be happy to speak their mind.
  • Use your Facebook/Indeed/Google company profile for video testimonials. Earlier, we said people care more about ads with video than they do ads with just words. The same goes for reviews. Capture driver testimonials on video and put them out there for the world to see. Better yet, send them to drivers who apply to your company. Let them know how great it would be to work for you.
  • Respond to negative reviews. When drivers leave a negative review, publicly apologize for their experience and offer to fix the solution. Don’t get into arguments, but genuinely offer a solution. People will take note and you’ll look a lot more enticing to new candidates.
  • Fix your driver culture. Maybe it goes without saying, but in order to capture positive reviews, drivers need to have good things to say about you. You need to invest the time and energy into creating a driver-centric culture. Educate your frontline supervisors on how to treat drivers with respect and retain your all-stars.

Fill Your Empty Seats

It’s no wonder you’re struggling to find qualified drivers. Nearly everyone is. You’re not helpless, though.

Get more responses on your ads with better ad copy and more positive reviews. Take action to overcome the hiring challenges we’re all dealing with. You’ll grow your fleet of all-star drivers while your competition wonders where all the qualified leads went.

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