Meeting the Challenge of Driver Recruitment

The rules for driver recruiting have changed. The pool of available quality drivers is shrinking while those who are looking for new positions are much more sophisticated than their predecessors. In the past, fleets relied almost exclusively on advertising to promote their pay packages and reputation. However, today's drivers are much more likely to utilize social media, FMCSA web sites, and other online resources to evaluate potential employers. Fleet operators should be aware of how their organization is perceived across the multitude of online resources available to drivers.

Key suggestions for improving the recruitment and retention process include:

Realistic job preview

Driver recruiters have a history of painting a much rosier picture to recruits than what they will actually experience during their first six months on the job. Pay and home time estimates should be relatively accurate. There should not be significant changes between what is initially promised and what occurs. Drivers who have been sold a false bill of goods will often quit within the first 90 days and post about their experiences on the web, damaging the company's reputation in the process. 

Utilize social media

If there is a good story to tell, make sure that it is heard. Utilize Facebook, chat rooms, and driver boards to explain why your company is a better place to work than the competition. Good drivers know that they are an in-demand commodity and will research their options. 

Utilize the referral process

The best way to recruit quality drivers is to have your own drivers recommend them. 

Fully explain the pay and benefits package

Drivers should understand why one opportunity is better than the next. While many drivers still only look at the rate per mile, the best ones often review the entire pay and benefits package. While take home pay is still the most important consideration, other critical issues include home time, health insurance, retirement programs, and reimbursements. 

Protect the company image

Shabby looking vehicles, unkempt drivers, and poor safety records hinder the recruiting process. Power units do not have to be new to be in good condition. Clean and well-maintained vehicles tell a good story. 

Stay in touch with your drivers

It is important to understand their concerns and what they are saying to others about your organization. While senior management may believe that drivers are being treated fairly, that perception may not be accurate. Drivers who share negative personal experiences can be debilitating to an organization. Employees should be surveyed regularly while managers should maintain consistent contact with drivers in the field to get their perspective. Utilizing exit interviews whenever a driver leaves is a great way to gain a better understanding of his/her perception about the company. 

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