Truck drivers are the backbone of the United States. They are the reason why products and services can get from A to B promptly.
To fulfill this demand, there are over 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States. If you are reading this, you are likely looking for some of these truck drivers to work for your company.
However, you may have certain standards that result in you demanding a quality truck driver. This takes efficient truck driver recruiting.
How do you go about this process? This guide goes over some of the key steps and what to look for.
List Your Hour Requirements
An important thing you need to disclose early in the process is what type of hours you demand from your truck drivers. The reason this is crucial is that this can vary greatly depending on what routes you need a truck driver to take.
One example is if you are looking for someone to make local deliveries with a truck. This is likely only going to require normal working hours during weekdays.
However, you may need truck drivers to make long-haul deliveries across the country.
Let's say you needed a truck driver to go from New Jersey to California for a delivery. It takes nearly 42 hours to get there without stopping. However, you have to factor in time for truck drivers to sleep as well as other stoppages.
Plus, this truck driver may need to get back to New Jersey as soon as the route is completed. With that schedule, you are looking for a truck driver who can go at least a week straight on the road for long hours.
Not every truck driver may be looking to drive those types of routes. Others may not be capable of this. Disclose this as soon as possible to increase the chances of finding somebody to do the routes your job demands.
Ask About Experience
The next thing you need to do is ask potential truck drivers to mention any past experience they may have had with this type of job. This is important if your company demands that drivers have a certain amount of experience before applying.
It helps narrow down the field and gives you a better idea of what type of work the truck driver has done before.
Have they driven in the same area? How about the same type of truck? Have they driven longer routes before?
These are answers that you have a better chance of finding when you ask these types of questions. It also can help make a candidate stand out among the rest.
For example, let's say that you mostly get applicants who have less than two years of experience driving trucks. Then, you get somebody who has a decade of truck-driving experience with a couple of credible trucking companies.
That can make you feel better about your selection, and it can help verify that a certain truck driver is the right person for the job.
Consider Age Requirements
One thing your company has to think about is if you want to set a minimum age requirement for a truck driving position. Companies may elect to do this for a couple of reasons.
The first is the lack of experience. Younger truck drivers are less likely to have the experience required for more difficult trucking jobs. As a result, some companies may not bother giving those drivers a chance and automatically disqualify them.
The second reason has to do with truck driver insurance. A trucking company's insurance premiums can be impacted based on what type of truck drivers they hire.
The age of the truck driver does come into play for how much risk an insurance company is willing to take on.
Now, insurance companies will likely insure any truck driver who has the appropriate license. However, insurance rates are likely to be more expensive for truck drivers younger than 25 years old.
To keep costs and risk down, some trucking companies may decide that they only want to hire older truck drivers. Your company needs to decide if they want to go this route before posting a job opening. If your company does this, mention that there is a minimum age requirement.
Check for Licenses
To legally drive certain trucks, each truck driver has to have the appropriate CDL (commercial driver's license) for it. The CDL is legal confirmation that the truck driver is qualified to drive a certain vehicle.
This takes longer to acquire compared to a regular driver's license; you are driving a more specialized vehicle. Considering the size and weight of a truck compared to a regular car, it is no wonder why the process for this license is taken more seriously.
Trucks tend to be at least 20 times bigger than a car. Because of this massive size and weight difference, this makes trucks more lethal to drive in comparison.
They take a longer time to stop completely, they can be more difficult to make wide turns, and can cause a lot more damage in a crash.
How does a CDL help with this? It shows that truck drivers understand the risks with these vehicles and how to address each risk.
However, make sure that a truck driver has the appropriate CDL for your vehicle. Depending on the size and type of truck, there may be different versions of the CDL required to legally drive those vehicles.
Make sure your company is aware of this and has the appropriate CDL requirements for your trucks.
Check the Driving Record
Before you add a truck driver to your staff, you need to make sure that they are a reliable driver.
How can you do this? You search for their driving records to see if anything noteworthy comes up. This can be part of a background check that we will talk more about later.
A driving record should reveal any road incidents that a truck driver may have had in the past. This can even include road incidents with their personal vehicles.
One of the biggest things a trucking company may be looking for is if there are any DUI charges. If a driver has been caught driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated in the past, it can make them a liability for a trucking company.
If they were to do this with one of your trucks, it could open up the door to a world of trouble. Possible things that can come from an incident like that include damage to your truck, a raise in truck insurance premiums, possible lawsuits, and more.
The hiring process is about minimizing risk. Trucking companies may deem that someone with a DUI history is too big of a liability to be allowed to drive one of the company's trucks.
There are a few other things trucking companies may look for here as well. These include reckless driving incidents, speeding tickets, any type of crashes this truck driver may have been involved in, and more.
All of these things could cause insurance rates for your trucking company to go up and increase liability. Checking a driving record can help minimize risk for a trucking company.
Conduct a Background Check
On top of checking a driving record, you will want to do a complete background check for each driver. A driving record may come back clean, but there may be some criminal history that you need to be aware of.
An example could be someone who has been arrested for theft. That may make a company more weary of trusting a truck driver with valuable company assets such as a truck.
You may even have to look for things such as fraud. Crimes like that can open your company up to investigations that you do not want to be involved with.
Then, you have to look for any history of violent crimes. This may make a truck driver a liability to other employees in your company as well as your customers. If a truck driver were to get violent while representing your company, it could open up the door for a lawsuit.
Something nobody wants to think about is if there is any history of sexual abuse. It could create more liability issues as well as more restrictions on where this person is allowed to go.
Do a background check to avoid these potential issues.
Perform a Physical
Another thing that companies need to do before hiring a truck driver is make sure that the truck driver performs a physical before getting behind the wheel. This is important to identify any health issues a truck driver may have before they can cause damage.
This includes testing someone's vision. It may have declined or gone unnoticed since they last drove a truck. Checking someone's vision can ensure that a truck driver can see obstacles on the road clearly.
Hearing is essential, too, because it can help truck drivers know what is around them. During a physical, truck drivers may be required to prove that they can hear sounds at a certain volume.
You also may check for things like blood pressure to see if a truck driver is prone to a heart attack or a stroke while driving a truck. All of these things can determine if a truck driver is in good enough physical shape to drive one of your trucks.
Ask for References
References can give your company a better idea of what type of person you are hiring. Typically, these are people who have worked with a truck driver or can at least speak to their character.
Truck drivers are likely to trust these people to give them a good recommendation when the time comes. However, it is up to you to read between the lines.
Assuming this is a past co-worker or a boss, you should ask them what type of work ethic and attitude this applicant had. Then, you should try to find out if there were any reliability or behavioral issues for this truck driver.
While you may not get all of the answers during this stage of the hiring process, you can at least rule out bad drivers who cannot even get someone to give them a good recommendation.
Good Interview Questions
Finally, you need to think about what interview questions you want to ask potential truck drivers when the time comes. This is likely going to be the first time that you speak to these truck drivers directly.
So, this will be your first impression to get a better idea of what type of person you may end up hiring.
Think about what interview questions you are going to ask questions. These questions should reveal characteristics that you are looking for as well as things you want to avoid.
One example can be asking somebody about flexible work hours. A truck driver who says no to this can be taken off of your list.
Then, you can think of a scenario that a truck driver may face on the road. This can be something like logging their driving hours and knowing how to efficiently plan a route with mandatory rest hours.
You likely want a truck driver that is efficient and responsible. Think about what traits are most important to your company and which ones represent the biggest red flags.
From there, center your questions in a way that will reveal these traits.
Get Help With Truck Driver Recruiting
These are the biggest things you need to know about the truck driver recruiting process. The goal should be to hire a truck driver that is qualified, responsible, and has minimal liability.
Do you need help finding a truck driver that meets these requirements? If so, Hire Velocity is here for you.
We have specific search strategies and talent insights that can help put your company over the top. If you give us an idea of what your corporate values are, we can find talent that matches these values.
Message us here to start the hiring process.