Webinar Q&A Part II: Driver Recruiting Today: Why Is It So Hard?

Did you have a chance to attend our recent webinar, "Driver Recruiting Today: Why Is It So Hard?" We received more questions than we had time to answer in the allotted time frame, so Jeremy Reymer, Wendy Bartz, and Priscilla Peters, our presenters, answered them below in this Q&A-style blog post.

If you weren’t able to join the live webinar, don’t worry – you can watch it on-demand anytime!

Question: I see a lot of drivers who took the local delivery type jobs that were new to the industry and now want to come back but have been out too long for their experience level and have to start over.  Is that industry wide or more our own qualifications?

Answer: It can be a double-edged sword for the driver who takes a local delivery (non-CDL) job, but then wants to get back into driving a CMV. The good news is that, because of the high demand, more companies are willing to work with that driver and put him/her through an abbreviated training or finishing school in order to bring them onboard. 

Question: Do you think companies should look at changing their hiring guidelines?

Answer: This is a decision that carriers have to make individually. For most companies, safety, insurance guidelines, and how you manage your processes are some of the most important areas to consider if/when you are evaluating and changing hiring guidelines. Be sure to always keep the driver in mind – and be sure the driver experience you’re selling is the same one you’re delivering after the hire. This will help with retention.

Question: Has the value/effectiveness of jr/Trainee drivers or CDL training programs increased due to the pandemic/shortage?

Answer: This type of training is certainly valuable; however, I think with COVID it has been dramatically impacted because in some cases driver trainers are refusing to have drivers they don’t know in their trucks. This is another slowdown for the industry regarding the talent pool coming into the industry.

Question: Any insights for smaller companies who don't have the budget to compete with the big dawgs?

Answer: Conversion Interactive Agency has a new solution – LeadFlex Max, which levels the playing field for small fleets, and allows you to post jobs, advertising and receive leads from an easy-to-use platform. I would recommend checking that out. It was designed with small fleets in mind.

Question: Any suggestions for a new driver recruiter? It's a terrible time for this to be your first experience as a recruiter!

Answer: Always remember you are in sales – be the best salesperson you can be! Authenticity and persistence are the keys to success in this industry. Keep in mind, the drivers you’re recruiting are also being recruited by others. What can you do to be sure they remember YOU and YOUR COMPANY? Consider reading Exactly What to Say - CDL Driver Recruiting Edition – it will make a huge impact.

Question: Does the panel have an idea of how this economy has impacted recruiting spend per hire?

Answer: It has certainly made an impact. More than anything, the uptick and the recent boom in freight has impacted competition for drivers, which is impacting cost-per-lead in most advertising sectors. Add to that an election year, where political ads are spending HUGE dollars, and you have a perfect storm of rising ad spend and per hire costs. 

Question: Is there a need to possibly go more "old school" in recruiting too? Should we be getting out there in front of potential applicants by hosting formal and informal job fairs? Of course, using safe pandemic practices. Is it possible that having that human interaction during a time when human interaction is almost non-existent, would make leads more eager to turn into actual applicants? I understand this is kind of a loaded question.

Answer: There are some great platforms that offer virtual hiring events and they can be very effective and affordable. Indeed and Conversion Interactive Agency both offer virtual hiring events that I have seen do well for carriers. In most cases, you can recruit those who sign up even before the event. 

Question: Quality of Applicants is an issue. I can get an applicant into processing but there seems to be difficulty keeping them from falling off before orientation. Suggestions?

Answer: When people refer to a ‘driver shortage’, we really mean a ‘qualified driver shortage’. This year especially, it seems increasingly difficult to find drivers that are qualifiable. If you ARE able to find one, your best bet is to provide a great experience, moving efficiently (leverage technology when you can) through the process so you can hire the driver before someone else does.

Question: Does DriverReach offer a platform to administer digital orientation modules and videos created by the carrier? Also, do you integrate with Pro-Tread safety modules at all?

Answer: DriverReach integrates with several leading LMS systems in the trucking space, but Pro-Tread isn’t one of them...yet! DriverReach also has a robust e-document solution that enables companies to manage much of the orientation process – especially the paperwork aspect – electronically, allowing some of our customers to cut their orientation class time in half.

Question: Many leads are opted out of texting, so what do we do when we leave a message, and can't text them, because they don't want it?

Answer: Use phone calls, emails, or social media reach outs to communicate if they have opted out of text. Once you reach them, encourage them to consider opting back in (assuming they’re comfortable with that form of communication and interested in ongoing communication with you).

Question: What's a good way to "sell" reduced guaranteed hours due to the economy/COVID? (from 40 to 32)  I try to say this will eventually return to 40, but I cannot guarantee when.

Answer: The most important factor is to be honest and up front. We’re all dealing with a challenging environment. Tell the truth about what they’re potentially getting into. And focus on what they gain with that reduced schedule – more time with family, more time to do things that are important to them. There can be a silver lining in the situation. They may just need the proper perspective.

Question: What was the book you held up earlier?

Answer: Thanks for noticing! Exactly What to Say - CDL Driver Recruiting Edition. The first book of its kind in the trucking industry and a great resource for improving conversations and increasing conversions. After all...recruiting is sales!

Question: What recruiting platform is experiencing the most success?

Answer: Right now we’re seeing great success with Facebook Messenger ads and drip campaigns, Search Engine Marketing on multiple tier one and tier two search engines, and managing online driver reputation and reviews has also proven successful.

Question: What can we do to keep recruiters motivated and engaged because they are working much harder for the prize?

Answer: It’s important to create an environment that keeps up morale. It is a tough job, and it’s harder this year than I’ve ever seen it. That can produce a very stressful environment. At the end of the day, people want to have a job they enjoy doing every day. Make it fun. Make sure relationships are being built. Trust, Respect, and Candor are recipes for success.

Question: I hear all the time that drivers do not call in anymore. Ours have dropped by 90% in the last few years. Is that the ‘normal’ now?

Answer: For some carriers this has become the new normal; however, keep in mind in today’s mobile world, any communication should be treated as yesterday’s “phone call.” Too many times we see carriers ignoring comments on their social media posts, and we remind them – today’s social media comment is yesterday’s phone call. You must monitor and answer all forms of communication, most importantly any and all mobile communication.

Stay up to date on CDL trucking trends! Be sure to check out the DriverReach blog for other relevant articles and head over to our webinars page for an up-to-date list of upcoming events and on-demand recordings.

Interested in seeing DriverReach’s modern Recruiting and Compliance Management System in action? Request a demo!


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