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Each day we get dozens of calls from new customers who now have an online application and want to know how they can do as a next step to attract larger numbers of qualified drivers to their new application. Our response is always the same. In addition to ensuring that you include your new application link in every job advertisement that you post, as well as on your website, the most important thing is to advertise. Never stop advertising.
When you do advertise your driver jobs, be aware that the two single biggest factors in determining how successful your driver recruiting campaign will be are:
1. Geography – where you are hiring at
2. Desirability – how desirable your position is in relation to others in the same market
For most driving jobs the geography part is fixed and can’t be manipulated. That only leaves the “desirability” aspect. No matter where in the US your open truck driving job is located you are no doubt competing with other driving jobs and carriers for the best drivers; and as you know, the most desirable driving jobs always have the greatest numbers of applicants and hires.
The question then becomes “What can you do today to make your driving jobs more appealing?” Obviously, if your driver job already offers great pay and benefits you will likely be able to fill it more quickly than driver jobs that pay less. However, if you’re like most of the carriers we see, with limited budgets to increase pay for prospective truck drivers, you will likely need to look elsewhere for creative ways to improve the appeal of your open positions.
One great area of opportunity that few carriers think to exploit, is the notion of “predictability”. This may sound foreign to you but think about this with an open mind. A few subtle changes in your operation can go a long way in making your driver jobs more appealing. Certainly it’s great to put together flashy job ads with eye-catching pictures of beautiful trucks and great mountain scenery, but most prospective drivers are sharp enough to see past those fancy ads, and recognize a worthless opportunity for what it really is. Instead, you will want to focus your creativity on the substance of your open driving job rather than the substance of your job-advertisement. After all, you can have a well-developed advertising message and communicate it thoroughly to the masses, but as they say, “Even if you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.”
While many in the industry have focused on “Quality of Life” (QOL) as the Holy Grail of truck driver recruiting, few have been able to impact QOL enough to make their driving jobs any more desirable. Most of the typical enhancements to QOL miss the mark significantly on what QOL truly means to a driver.
QOL means more than just comfy truck seats, or computer applications that show families where dad’s truck is on the map. It’s more than saying “You’re not just a number here” or “We treat everyone like family here.” Those things certainly help, but they are over used and fall way short of QOL.
For most adults, including professional drivers, real QOL must include the security of knowing what to expect on a daily basis. Being able to predict (“predictability”) with some degree of certainty in five crucial areas can significantly enhance QOL and the desirability of any driving job. These five areas are “when”, “where”, “what”, “how much”, and “how long”. This is a simple yet powerful concept. The degree to which carriers are able to address these questions adequately will they will see noticeable improvements in their ability to attract and retain qualified drivers. Let’s look closer at these five crucial areas;
– When? – When will I work? What days will I work? When does my day start?
– Where? – Where will I actually be most of the time?
– What? – What will I be doing, driving, sitting, waiting, loading/unloading etc…?
– How much? – How much money will I make each day, each week?
– How long? – How long will each shift/run/load last? How long before I’m done? How long before I’m off? How much downtime before the next shift/run/load?
Note that most local driver jobs are inherently better able to accurately answer these questions than their long-haul counterparts, and as a result, they are typically much more desirable and easier to fill.
Truck drivers, like everyone else, strive for stability and predictability in their lives. Like the rest of us, they too have bills that need to be paid on a regular basis, doctor appointments to schedule, personal events to attend, and the need for predictable downtime. Drivers want to be confident that they will make it home for Aunt Sally’s birthday party next month, or plan to see their child play in the big game. Ask yourself whether or not you would ever consider a job that did not answer all of these questions precisely. Could you go home and tell your spouse that you are considering a job where you aren’t exactly sure how much money you will bring home, and to top it off you’re not sure how often you will be home? Would you be comfortable not knowing how frequently you might have idle or unpaid time? Probably not.
A great starting point to offering a better QOL can come through offering drivers greater predictability in their work lives. While we do understand that shippers most often make it challenging for carriers to plan, or offer predictable schedules, we have witnessed how a more proactive campaign on the part carrier to create greater structure can pay off over time, in a major way. From there, drivers can build in the aspects of normal life that ultimately bring him those feelings associated with QOL.
For most, driving is not a highly attractive profession. However, for every job, there’s someone who thinks it’s a perfect fit for him/her. You simply need to incorporate as much structure as possible into your jobs in order for them to compete more closely with other mainstream jobs. The old-school thinking that the driver’s job “is what it is”, must be challenged.