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The Ultimate Guide to Driver Recruiting

[Updated February 2022]

There’s no silver bullet to filling your driver recruiting funnel. It’s a long, hard, and sustained effort to consistently bring in the professional drivers you desperately need. The good news is, there's an opportunity to beat your competition in the current driver wage war, and it doesn’t involve throwing more money at advertising.

Our approach is like Moneyball - you need to look at different numbers, create a unique recruiting message, and have a more efficient application process than your competition. This page is a resource to help you improve your driver recruiting pitch, process, and people.

Editors Note: We're giving away our driver recruiting secrets! Check out our free video series to double your hires without spending more on ads:
[Video Series] Purple Cow Academy—Double Your Hires

4 Steps to Creating a Driver Recruiting Plan

Part 1: Crafting Your Driver Brand Statement

"A brand is what drivers think of when they hear your company name."

A brand is what drivers think of when they hear your company name. Your company has a reputation amongst drivers. Every interaction your drivers have with dispatch, management, payroll, secretaries, management, and other drivers shapes your driver brand. You can try to steer your brand through marketing efforts, but social media and review boards have given the power to your drivers to define your Driver Brand. Their perception is your reality – fair or not. You need to start by assessing where your Driver Brand is today.

How to Develop a Driver Brand Statement

To craft your driver brand statement, you'll define:

  1. Your target driver(s)
  2. Their existing pain points
  3. The competing alternatives

Read the sections below and follow the article links to learn more about developing your Driver Brand Statement:

How to Develop a Driver Brand

A brand is what drivers think of when they hear your company name. To create a unique driver brand, you'll need to define some key facts and values about your company and then apply those points to your marketing and advertising strategy.

Recruit More Drivers with Your Purple Cow

A Purple Cow is the kind of marketing that turns heads. The best way to stick out in a sea of nearly-identical driver advertisements is to take Seth Godin’s advice and become a Purple Cow. Find a way to stand out from your competition. What do you offer that’s different from the rest of the crowd? Consider the following:

  • Company fuel discounts
  • Higher cents per mile payouts
  • Health insurance benefits
  • Wellness benefits to cope with the mental strain of truck driving
  • 401(k)
  • Time off and work/life benefits

Then, use what's unique for your driver brand statement!

Recruit Drivers By Asking The Right Questions

Recruiting is a daily challenge in trucking. It takes a lot of effort and vigilance to fill your driver needs, especially when you have to deal with driver turnover. But you want to maximize these efforts and get the right drivers for your company. Otherwise, you’re just treading water.

How to Create a Unique Driver Brand 

How do you make your trucking company stand out from the rest during the recruitment process? Find your unique driver brand. Read a summary in part one of our presentation at the Ohio Trucking Association's annual conference.

Steps to Develop Your Driver Brand Statement 

Take the term Driver Shortage out of your vocabulary. It’s an excuse not to grow your fleet. There is a Driver Problem, but not a shortage. Read the recap from our webinar with Verified First to learn how to develop your driver brand.

Unanswered Questions for Driver Recruiting and Social Media

Read about real-life examples of trucking companies that have driver brands that appeal to all drivers. Also, learn about the tools and strategies that these companies are using to attract drivers to their fleet.

Driver Brand Statement ebook

Part 2: Defining Your Driver Personas

The biggest mistake a transportation company makes when it comes to driver recruiting is not taking the time to define the target drivers. The desperation for drivers has created a process of ready, fire, aim that creates ineffective advertisements. The objective is not to please everyone, but to create specific ads for the right person. One ad for all jobs is a backward approach. The correct approach is multiple ads and campaigns for each job type you offer while constantly testing and tweaking.

Different drivers value different things. Your stay interviews with existing drivers will help you determine your different driver personas. We define driver personas by their job duties and their shared values, motivations, and personalities. To help create the different personas, start with the different jobs you offer and spread your stay-interviews evenly across each job. The common themes will boil to the top.

Read the info and articles below to learn more about developing your driver personas so you can specifically target your advertisements.

  • Driver Personas Template - Use this downloadable file to help you create your advertising message and give us a shout if you need any help!
  • You Don’t Have to Have a Driver Shortage - There isn't a lack of drivers, there's a lack of quality drivers for companies to hire. That doesn't mean there's a driver shortage; it means you must accurately define your recruiting funnel and create more targeted ads to better quality leads.
  • How to Recruit More Women Drivers -Women make up nearly half of the workforce, yet only 6% make up all truck drivers. Recruiting (and retaining) women drivers is a necessity that all trucking companies should embrace and it all starts with transparency and sincerity in marketing.
  • How to Be a Successful Driver Recruiter - There’s never going to be a silver bullet. The driver problem is a national phenomenon, affecting virtually every company in the transportation industry, so tightening up your recruiting efforts is a good place to begin. Read our three tips that can help you become a successful driver recruiter.
  • Recruit Drivers By Asking The Right Questions - Time to ditch those old, overused interview questions. To recruit the best available employees in trucking, we put together the best questions to ask a new driver.

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Part 3:Recruiting to Millennial and Gen Z Drivers

Millennials and Generation Z get a bad rap in the transportation industry. They’re seen as lazy, spoiled, and adverse to hard work. The problem is, it isn’t true. These comments have been made by previous generations since Socrates around 410 B.C.:

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

It’s true that younger generations approach work differently than Boomers and Gen-Xers, but they’re not lazy. You need to create a job and culture that inspires them to see how they make the world a better place.

Below are a few articles you can use to help your recruiting efforts for attracting younger drivers.

5 Ways to Attract (and Keep) Good Millennial Drivers

Millennials represent the largest segment of the workforce in the country with 86 million people, and that number will only continue to grow over time. How do you reach this workforce and put them in a position to be successful drivers? Read our 5 ways to attract and retain good millennial drivers.

Millennial Drivers: A How-To Guide

You’ve read about how the trucking industry needs younger drivers. Let this how-to guide teach you to understand and impact how millennials think about trucking.

You Need Millennial Truck Drivers

How do you find younger drivers and, more importantly, how do you make sure they’re the type of workers you want? Read this post to find a few different ways you can make an informed decision.

The Millennial Problem 

Part two of the presentation held at the Ohio Trucking Association’s Annual Conference focused on finding and onboarding Millennials into the trucking industry.

Recruit & Retain Younger Drivers Without Spending More Money 

The average age of your driver population is going through the roof and you desperately need a game plan to bring the next generation into your trucking company. What can you do to recruit more drivers without spending a ton on marketing and advertising? Read the list to find out.

Creating a Career Path for Drivers: Why It's Important

The trucking industry, like all industries, offers many opportunities to learn and grow. To combat the driver problem, we urge you to create a career path for your drivers so they are given the best chance to learn and develop at YOUR trucking company - not at your competitor’s.

Recruit Young Drivers By Meeting Them At Their Level

Younger people have a negative view of trucking. They’re familiar with a stereotype of middle-aged men, in lousy health, spending their whole lives behind a wheel out on the road. That is a poor representation of the trucking industry and you need to wipe that away from public perception. To do that, you need to have a flexible recruiting strategy.

How to Create Millennial Drivers 

Millennials became the largest generation in the workforce in 2016. Generation Z is only a few years behind. Even so, most trucking companies fail to effectively recruit and retain millennial drivers. Now, it’s sink or swim. Whether you like it or not, you need millennial drivers.

Part 4: Driver Finishing School

The average age of an Over-the-Road Truck Driver is 55 years old. As your drivers get more gray hair, you need to be building your farm system to replace them. Insurance companies see this too and are loosening their strict two-year experience requirement - if you bring them a consistent and documented curriculum. We’re even starting to see systems to recruit and train drivers who are 18 years old.

To build a safe and responsible CDL Finishing School program, it needs to be built on a train-the-trainer model with consistent teaching and documentation throughout the fleet. Your reporting for each driver will make it clear who’s excelling and who needs a watchful eye.

This time-consuming endeavor will increase your cost per hire to about $10,000. If done properly, these students will pay for themselves with fewer accidents and lower turnover because you’ve groomed them from the ground floor - they never learned two years of bad habits.

Click on any of the links below to learn about AvatarFleet's CDL Finishing School program (which is ELDT-compliant), as well as helpful articles on the importance of creating a farm system for your drivers.

AvatarFleet | CDL Finishing School

CDL Finishing School effectively trains and develops recent CDL graduates into safe professional truck drivers, providing a consistent process and documentation. The program builds on AvatarFleet's online driver training and our train-the-trainer program, LLLC Instructor Certification. Perhaps most importantly, it is ELDT compliant.

Why You Need Driver Finishing School

With potential Congressional changes coming to CDL age restrictions and new ELDT mandates, you need to be ready to have the proper support and mentorship in place for younger drivers. Without proper training, your millennial drivers will only increase your risk as a trucking company.

Implementing Driver Finishing School

You’re going to need to bring on less experienced drivers in order to deliver freight into the next decade. Less experienced drivers are at greater risk than seasoned veterans. A structured Finishing School program closes the gap and, if done properly, produces a new driver without bad habits.

Executing Your Driver Recruiting Plan

A clunky process will destroy creative marketing, so execution is everything. Start by mapping out the driver candidate’s journey and evaluating each step along the way. Each step should end with a simple, low-risk call to action that makes it easy to say “yes” to the next step. This includes a “yes” from your ad, to your jobs board, to your application, release form, interview, orientation, and day one. You need to treat the candidate like they are a guest at the Ritz Carlton along each step in the journey.

Click on any of the links below to learn more about executing your driver recruiting plan.

  • The Best Places to Advertise for Truck Drivers - Are you desperately searching for an answer to find the best places to advertise for truck drivers? Stop right there and rethink how you approach this idea. Assess if your driver brand statement and recruiting process are airtight BEFORE you post that expensive ad.
  • Why Your Driver Recruiting Needs To Be Mobile and Social - There are truck drivers looking for jobs and no one is reaching them. But you can. The world has gone mobile and lives on social media. Hey trucking: come join us! Here are two simple reasons why.
  • Improve Truck Driver Recruiting & Retention Without Spending More Money - Budget doesn't have to be the deciding factor for your recruiting efforts. It starts with being strategic and targeting your most ideal candidates. Separate your trucking brand from the competition by using these easy recruiting and retention strategies.
  • An Efficient Hiring Process Removes Driver Problem - Having an efficient hiring process helps eliminate the driver problem by making it easy on the ones who matter most. Use these simple tips to help facilitate the hiring process for your drivers and bring in more recruits!
  • How To Create Compelling Advertisements - Advertisements are essential to recruiting more drivers into your fleet. So what's the best practice for making advertisements for truck drivers? You must interrupt, engage and educate your audience.

How to Measure Driver Recruiting Success

www.avatarfleet.comhubfs6 Ways to Measure Driver Recruiting Success

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Cost per hire by source and location is the ultimate metric for success of where to spend money. However, that’s a lagging indicator. You need leading indicators that will allow you to make adjustments before you have a vacant orientation class. 

Measure how often you answer the phone (no voicemails) and leads generated each week. Tracking these trends will become your canary in the coal mine so you can predict success or potential failures.

Use these helpful tips below to start measuring the success of your driver recruiting efforts.

  • Three Driver Recruiting Metrics You Should Be Tracking - The cost-per-hire across the transportation industry has gone through the roof as lead-to-hire conversation rates plummet - you’re spending more on advertising and getting fewer hires. Before you spend MORE money on ads, use these 3 key metrics we use to measure the efficiency of a recruiting pipeline.
  • 6 Ways to Measure Driver Recruiting Success - To keep your driver recruiting pipeline full, you must measure both leading and lagging indicators. Once you understand key metrics surrounding those, you'll be able to repeat the successful recruiting campaigns that have yielded results and avoid the ones that have proven failure in the past.

Using Driving Recruiting Software

If your driver recruiting process takes weeks or is cumbersome to the candidate, they’ll apply to work down the street. They know they can find a job anywhere and they need a job now. Speed to hire is key. Modern driver recruiting software increases speed to hire with:

  • A mobile-friendly DOT application, release forms, and new hire paperwork
  • A pipeline to view all candidates and reminders and notes on one screen
  • Communication tools capture text, email communication, and images

The resources below will help you select the right tool and evaluate the correct features.

  • How to Choose Driver Recruiting Software - You’re finally ready to leave your pen-to-paper methods behind and go digital with your driver recruitment process. So where do you begin? Read how to choose your driver recruiting software to get a leg up on the competition and start hiring more qualified driver recruits today.
  • Participating in The Driver Shortage: It’s Your Choice - The choices you make regarding technology and pay can impact whether or not you participate in the driver problem.
  • Using Landing Pages to Hire More Drivers - Effective landing pages convert more unknown visitors into leads - that means onboarding more drivers with the same advertisement budget. Focus on improving three items on your landing pages: content, workflow, and a low-risk call-to-action.

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