3 Things to Keep in Mind When Hiring Your Next Truck Driver 17 Jul 2019


The phrase “everyone’s hiring” may seem like an exaggeration. That is until you look at the trucking industry. Many trucking companies are desperate for new drivers and are offering large signing bonuses and higher pay. Why is there so much competition for truck drivers?

The transportation industry is growing faster than the number of truck drivers. The American Trucking Associations estimates that the industry needs around 60,000 more drivers to meet its growth rate. With a limited amount of drivers stretched across the country, hiring new drivers is a balancing act between the people available and the skills you need.

Your drivers need specific skills and licenses to drive commercially, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re forced to choose from a small pool of candidates. If you’re going to hire the right people, you have to keep some important facts in mind.

What should you remember when hiring your next truck driver? Let’s explore three key items to keep in mind.

1. What Skills and Licenses Do Potential Drivers Need?

Your shallow hiring pool may tempt you to ignore the skills and licenses truck drivers need to do their job. However, choosing a candidate without the right expertise puts your business at risk. Prioritizing the skills and license required to be a driver helps you focus on candidates you can hire rather than the ones you can’t.

Legally, truck drivers need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive professionally. Applicants also need additional licenses or certifications for certain truck features, truck models, or international routes. Having a CDL lets applicants drive professionally, but they still need the necessary skills to get the job done.

While DMVs do their best to ensure people have the right skills to get the license, many facilities don’t have the needed terrain to test these skills. Tasks, such as driving down a steep incline in a semi, don’t come naturally. Your potential hires need training and experience to handle these situations. Applicants should have a certification from a trucking school or experience as a driver.

Knowing what skills and licenses drivers need to be safe on the road keeps your business legally compliant. However, that’s not all you need to remember to make the right hire. What else should you keep in mind?

 Truck driver planning their route be looking at a road map

2. What Qualities Are Required for the Job?

Every job has certain qualities that are essential for successful employees. Knowing what qualities drivers need allows you to focus on candidates that match your requirements.

One quality vital for truck drivers is honesty. Strict deadlines and legal regulations require drivers to be honest, for example, when reporting how many hours they’ve driven. You can discover if a candidate is trustworthy by checking their references and running a background check.

Honesty is just one of the qualities drivers need. Potential applicants also need to be organized. Keeping track of paperwork and planning routes requires keen organizational skills. You can test organizational ability by asking drivers how they organize their paperwork and routes.

On top of organizational skills, applicants also have to be able to navigate. While GPS is helpful, it doesn’t always work. Drivers need to be able to read maps and navigate without digital tools. Having drivers navigate a short route during a road test shows if they’ll be able to find their way on the road.

Now that you know what to look for in a candidate, it’s time to start the hiring process. Let’s see how using best practices in hiring makes finding the best hire easier.

3. What Are the Industry Best Practices for Hiring Truck Drivers?

Finding qualified drivers takes effort. Thankfully, every industry has tips and tricks that make hiring easier. Using these practices helps you pinpoint the best candidates for the job. What best practices should you use when hiring your truck drivers?

  • When you find a skilled driver, you need to convince them to join your company. During the interview, stress the positive points of your company. For example, if your company offers flexible scheduling, explain how drivers can take advantage of it. Show applicants what you can do for them, not just what you want from them.
  • Use a road test. Some businesses get so caught up in what’s on the resume that they forget the practical application. Having candidates complete a road test shows if they can put into practice what they’ve learned.
  • Run the right background checks. Legally, you have to use a DOT background check to ensure candidates are safe drivers. Screening applicants also reveals if they have the right license for the job.
  • Check your driver’s CSA driver profile. The Compliance, Safety, and Accountability profile tells you if your candidate tends to speed or get into accidents.
  • Make sure your applicant’s medical certification is up to date. Your driver needs a medical certification to drive professionally.

Using your industry’s best practices shows you which applicant is best for the job. It also entices candidates to accept your job offer. Hiring truck drivers is hard, but remembering these three points makes the process seem effortless.

What’s on Your Mind?

Trucking companies desperately need more drivers — at least 60,000 of them. With a small number of drivers spread out across the industry, how can you pinpoint the right new hires from your hiring pool?

Your trucking company doesn’t have to settle for cut-rate drivers. The three points listed above will help you find amazing drivers. Other companies may be struggling for drivers, but using these three items will make hiring your next drivers easier than ever.