Developing a Truck Driver Recruitment Strategy

Interestingly enough, the same three key factors used in planning your departmental budget will also be your starting point in developing a solid driver recruiting strategy.

Driver Turnover - We have already established that turnover provides you the number of replacement drivers you will need in the coming year. By doing some in-depth analysis, you can also identify other areas that may impact and influence your Recruiting Strategy.

For instance, take a look at the total terminations for the year, some will be involuntary (drivers who were fired for legitimate reasons, continuous hours of service violations, etc.) but most will be voluntary terminations (drivers who resigned for any number of reasons, hometime, family issues, etc.) Your primary focus should be on the voluntary terminations. What are the common factors? Is there a certain geographic area that has a high percentage of voluntary terminations? Is there a high percentage of terminations at a certain terminal location or along a specific customer lane? What are the reasons cited for leaving - hometime, pay, family issues?

It may seem like the Recruiting Department has little or no influence when it comes to turnover, but knowing where to hire drivers and where to assign them once they are hired can have a huge impact on turnover. Continuing to hire drivers in Phoenix because it's on a customer lane may not be the prudent thing to do if every driver hired there leaves within a few months because of hometime issues.

You will also want to look at turnover by longevity, granted most turnover occurs in the first 90 days, but what if you discover there is a noticeable increase in turnover for drivers on the fleet between 18 and 24 months? Look a little deeper, you might discover there is a delay or a gap in the company driver pay scale during that time frame and while other carriers are offering a significant mileage pay increase at the two year mark, your drivers don't see a significant bump until three years of service.

Truck Count - What you really want to know is Driver Count, and more importantly, where your drivers are domiciled. Where do your drivers live?

Compare the geographic locations of your drivers to the voluntary termination report, what conclusions can you draw? Do certain areas of the country have higher turnover than others? If so, there may be a hometime issue in that part of the country. You want to target your advertising dollars in areas where turnover is low.

You will also want a Customer Pick-Up and Delivery Report. Where are your major customers located? Where are the primary pick-up and delivery locations? How does that compare to the Driver Domicile report? How does it compare to the termination report? Are your drivers able to get hometime if they live along the lanes between pick-up and delivery, or do they need to live at one end or the other to get quality hometime?

Advertising Cost per Hire - This seems like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised once you analyze it. Are your recruiting ads targeting the right geographic locations? Are you comparing costs to results? Which advertising mediums (web-based, print, radio, etc.) are producing the most leads? And, more importantly, which ones are resulting in the most hires?

Are you spending your advertising dollars based on results or are you using the shotgun approach and hoping for the best? Analyze and adjust if you want the most bang for your buck.

Another area to consider in your Driver Recruitment Strategy is staffing. If you can't handle all of the inquiries in a timely fashion, you are wasting your advertising dollars. Generating leads, is one thing, being able to handle the volume is another. Make sure have adequate staffing to not only answer the phones, but that your recruiters are able to spend quality time interviewing, screening and gathering accurate information from potential drivers.

You should also have adequate staffing to make sure applications are processed correctly and quickly. Turnaround time for getting back to a potential new driver should never be more than 24 hours.

One of the tricks in speeding up the application verification time is to prioritize applicants based on work history and availability. This starts with the driver recruiter.

When the phone rings there are three questions the driver recruiter should ask a potential new driver immediately.

1. Who am I speaking with? Get the applicant's full name.

2. In case we get disconnected, what is the best way to contact you? Get a primary contact phone number and a secondary if available. Capturing an email address is also a good idea.

3. Are you driving for someone right now? If the answer is yes, find out for how long. If the answer is no, ask when was the last time they held a driving position. Use this piece of information for establishing priority. A driver that is currently driving for another carrier similar to your operation is more likely to meet your qualifications than say a driver who hasn't driven in the past 6 months.

Another good question is, how quickly are you looking to make a move? Will this driver be able to attend your next orientation or will they need to give notice, take some home time, etc.

All of these questions will help you establish priority for application processing.

Another area to look at is the number jobs a driver has had, the more reference checks your processing department has to make the longer it will take to make a hiring decision.

Developing a successful driver recruiting strategy can be a difficult process, getting the information you want, in the format you want it will be the biggest challenge. Interpreting and analyzing that information will be time consuming and projecting the results will be scary, but if you have done your homework, a clear picture will begin to develop and you can move forward.

Be sure to fine tune as you go, monitoring and tracking results will be critical to your success. As a Recruiting Manager it's not what you expect, but what you inspect, that will bring results.