Driver Recruiting: What NOT to Do (Part 1)

The competition among fleets trying to find and secure qualified drivers is a constant ongoing struggle. With a shortage of drivers currently upon us and freight demand on the rise, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon.

With that in mind, it’s important to make that driver recruiters are effective as possible to ensure a fleet’s success. It’s easy to say recruiters need to be effective, but how can you put that advice into action? A successful recruiter is someone who can engage with a prospective driver and make them feel comfortable and important, addressing any concerns that he or she might have.

So, what exactly should recruiters do? Is there a secret? Since every prospective driver is different and in turn should be handled differently than other drivers, it’s hard to really define what recruiters should do. Perhaps it would be easier to define some common mistakes that recruiters consistently make. Over the next few weeks we will cover the persistent trouble areas that pop up.

Knowing these mistakes and what NOT to do will help you make sure your recruiters avoid these common pitfalls and optimize your recruiting efforts to reach its maximum potential.

Recruiters Put Too Much Emphasis on Short Term Goals

 
GoalsTruck drivers are individual people and to be treated with respect. All too often recruiters are only concerned with meeting a quota and tend to think about the prospective drivers they are pursuing as a number. Drivers pick up on this and when they sense a recruiter, and by proxy your fleet, does not really care about them and are only concerned with the bottom line, it is incredibly difficult to change that negative perception.

This negative view can cost you not only the prospect the recruiter is engaged with, but other future prospective drivers as well. Drivers talk to one another and respect each others’ opinions. If your fleet develops a bad reputation for not caring about drivers and only being driven by money and the bottom line, your fleet will be tremendously handicapped moving forward.

On the flip side, if recruiters are able to genuinely engage with a prospect and make them feel valued and respected, it can lead to a successful conversion and a long term relationship which could continue to yield referrals.

Skipping the Introductions on Recruiting Calls

 
After being on the job for a while, recruiters tend to lump drivers together into categories and rely on pre-conceived assumptions they have of those categories. Because of this tendency, recruiters may try and skip the “small talk” and get down to business at hand. However, every conversation between one of your recruiters and a prospective driver should begin with that recruiter creating a friendly and positive environment.

The simple step of personal introductions and taking a moment to get to know who the driver is and a feeling for who they are will build up a comfort level and promote trust. Even if the prospective driver ultimately declines to join the fleet at this time, the positive experience will continue to influence their perception and opinion of your fleet. This can lead to referrals, and keep your fleet a viable option should the driver look to change fleets in the future.

Allowing Your Fleet to Blend Into the Crowd

 
Crowd

Your recruiter will more than likely not be the only one that is pursuing the prospective driver. The modern heavy-duty truck driver is more likely to jump from fleet to fleet and drive for multiple employers over the course of their career than in the past. When drivers are looking for a new fleet, they typically speak to several companies multiple times looking for the best possible fit before making their final decision.

This means that your recruiters must do everything they can to illustrate the differences between your fleet and the rest of the competition. Is the pay higher or structured differently? Do you offer more local routes than competitors? Are there opportunities to move up within your company? Excellent driver/dispatcher relationships?

These are all things that should be highlighted and touted as ways to set you apart from any competing fleet. You never want to blend in and be just another option. Do anything you can differentiate yourself from rest of the pack. Whether it is pay, route length, opportunities, or positive employee relationships, it’s important to cover and highlight these things to show drivers how you are different and superior to their other available options. It’s the recruiter’s job to show prospects that you are not like the rest, you are better than the rest.

Recruiters Overwhelm Prospects with Too Much Information

 
Information overload is a consistent problem with recruiting landing pages we have previously covered, but recruiters themselves make this problems on calls. Dumping massive amounts of information without knowing what the driver is looking for is an exercise in futility.

Overwhelmed by InformationSharing information and being knowledgable is a vital part of being successful, but it must be meaningful information to the prospect. This again goes back to establishing a connection with the potential driver. To be effective, recruiters need to listen and ask effective questions to understand exactly what the driver is looking for. Establishing this connection and avoiding dumping too much information too quickly will allow recruiters to share relevant information, advice, and help prepare a custom-built plan for that particular driver’s situation.

Making the Mistake of Answering All Questions Up Front

 
This may sound a little strange, especially after hammering home the point that recruiters need to engage drivers and build up with them to understand who they are. At first glance it may appear deceiving to withhold information from prospects, but in reality this is designed to help create a relationship while not overwhelming them with too much all at once.

During a typical call, recruiters are immediately hit with all kinds of questions. Answering these questions one after another rapid fire shortens the conversation and may lessen the chances of a successful conversion. Every driver’s situation is different, so taking the time to slow down the conversation and fully grasp who the prospect is will allow them to better serve and educate them.

It takes time and practice to understand how to handle different drivers, but by avoiding these rapid fire question and answer sessions the recruiter will find that they are able to provide more accurate, applicable, and helpful answers to any of the questions drivers may have.

More Tips to Come

 
These are just a few things recruiters should avoid moving forward. In the following weeks we will share more tips and suggestions of what not to do in your recruiting. It is our hope that with this knowledge you will be better able to guide your recruiters in their efforts and achieve success.

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