This blog post was updated on March 9, 2021.
Driver recruiting is never far from your mind. It leads to deep anxieties in the dark of the night. But what are you doing about it?
All too often, recruiting campaigns are off-base and ineffective. Millions of dollars are spent spreading weak messages out over ineffective media outlets. When these efforts fail to produce lots of applicants, trucking executives wring their hands and moan about the driver shortage.
Who are we? What makes us different? Are we high tech or old school? Are we family-oriented or big business? Are we short haul or 48 state? How often do our drivers get home? Do we specialize in no-touch freight? Do we have nice new tractors? Why do our long-term drivers stay with us? What do they like about us that keeps them here?
These are only a few of the more than 100 vital questions you better ask before you ever consider writing your first ad. And if you’re honest with yourself, you won’t get good marks across the board. That’s okay; you can’t be all things to all drivers, but you probably do have some good things to offer and that’s where you need to focus your energy.
Drivers aren’t disposable characters from The Dawn of The Dead, bereft of consciousness and reacting only to narrow stimuli. So why do you try to get their attention by jiggling a few goodies in front of them, as if they were hungry, yet minimally-conscious zombies? Effective recruiting requires an effective message. One that portrays to the outside world your inside reality.
Too many carriers run ads like they’re trying to attract zombies. And just like the zombie virus, this industry-wide mindset appears to be contagious. Why else would all the ads look identical? They all show a truck, a happy driver and offer a few platitudes. Do you really think this will get applicants plodding mindlessly to your doorstep?
Your message is ten times more important than where you place it. Good drivers are only going to apply for an enticing job. They get to be picky. They want a quality work life and they will only choose a carrier they think can provide this. Do you have the analytical skills to self-assess and creative staff to write good ad copy? If not, you better find some help. Building your brand starting today is more than just your future success…it may very well determine your ability to survive.
The goal is to get a prospect’s attention: interrupt them! And, you have about one third of a second to do it, so your ad better be compelling.
But, more than clever, it needs to inform. If you do get their attention, you have about one second to engage them. Immediately preach to them why they should drive for you and not the competition.
Once you have an effective message, you need to spread it far and wide. The more eyeballs you have on your ad, the more likely you are to land your new driver. The only problem is, advertising isn’t cheap. You need to invest your limited budget wisely. Today, that doesn’t happen in your small-town weekly newspaper. Today, you have dozens of choices, but what works? What doesn’t?
Advertising in print media is not enough. Putting a hotline on the back of your trucks is not enough. Hanging banners on your fence is not enough. Drivers have Smartphones, iPads, and laptops. They’re on social media. And, the good ones applying for jobs on a mobile device while at a rest stop. You need to go where they are to attract them to your company.
Our product A-Suite Ad makes it easy to reach drivers on social media. You can get hyper-targeted ads sent to your ideal driver for pennies on the dollar compared to traditional advertising methods.
The driver problem may be an industry problem, but attracting and keeping drivers to haul your loads is your problem. Only you can solve it. Perhaps you need some help, but either way, it takes a thoughtful, methodical approach that blends analytical expertise, creative skills and trucking wisdom.
Don’t treat drivers like zombies through a mindless recruiting campaign, or your company will soon be dead.
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