Drawing drivers

18 April 2008

Word of mouth is a very effective recruiting mechanism, and many hauling companies prefer to begin with candidates referred from their own trusted sources. Spreading the word that a good company with a good reputation is hiring will often draw qualified candidates.

Many companies offer referral bonuses to employees who bring in candidates who are hired and pass a probationary period. You may be able to help your employees in their recruitment efforts by providing them with corporate brochures, flyers, audio tapes, video tapes or CDs to pass out to their contacts in the industry. In addition to being relatively inexpensive, the word-of-mouth method provides some level of applicant pre-screening.

Advertising is the next step in the recruiting process. Even at this stage, you can begin to screen for desirable candidates by not casting too wide a net. Consider narrowing your advertising placements to those likely to be seen by people with a serious interest in the driving profession.

Effective options include trade papers, driving schools, company newsletters and bulletin boards, resume databases and internet sites such as SC&RA's Career Services at www.scranet.org/ jobcenter. These provide a more limited but less risky pool of readers.

Each advertising option has its own pros and cons, depending on the time and budget available for the recruitment effort. Track the source of applicants over the long term to determine which types of advertising net high-quality applicants. Also, track your advertising success in relation to the time of year or day of week.

Advertisement content matters considerably in an industry with healthy competition for good drivers. Your advertisement should make your company stand out from your competitors and answer the question: “Why drive for our company?” Promote such key benefits as:

• steady work

• competitive pay and benefits

• a respected name in the industry

• regular schedules

• well-maintained equipment

• special driving responsibilities

• advancement opportunities.

If space and budget permit, other benefits you might include in your initial advertisement include:

• good working conditions

• company stability

• company profitability

• specialized training

• bonus programs

• customer interaction

• interesting environment and people.

Balance your desire to attract driver candidates with the need to be true and realistic in your advertising. Trucking - or perhaps trucking in your particular environment - is not for everyone.

To narrow your audience, list your strict requirements. For example, your ad can stipulate that drivers must:

• be at least 21

• have two years' commercial driving experience

• pass a US Department of Transportation physical

• have a clean driving record

• pass a substance abuse test

• have a commercial driver's license

Close your advertisement with specific contact information: your company's phone number, e-mail address and fax number, as well as the reporting date, place and time.

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