Nothing is more frustrating than putting time, effort, and money into your recruiting and still falling well short of your goals. Unfortunately, this is a feeling that many trucking fleets know all to well. Fleets want drivers. They need drivers. You need drivers. And there are drivers out there. So, why are so many finding it difficult to fill seats and actually reach their goals?
Having dozens of recruiters manning the phones and dumping money into the recruiting process doesn’t guarantee that you will get the drivers you need. While it’s definitely not a bad thing to have a staff devoted to working the phones, there are some things you need to have in place to make sure all that hard work isn’t wasted.
The same is true for your advertising budget. Spending money on generating leads or applications doesn’t automatically equal getting quality drivers. It certainly doesn’t hurt, but there’s more to it than just spending money. You have to take the necessary steps to make sure you’re not just throwing money at the problem, and you’re actually investing in the areas and systems you need to reach success.
Randall-Reilly’s team has spent years helping fleets just like yours figure out where to improve and exactly how they’re falling short. In that time there have been a few things that have jumped out at us as consistent problems fleets run into. Most of these problems are classified in one of two ways – problems with your recruiting system, or problems in the way your recruiters work or approach leads.
Problems related to your recruiting approach.
You don’t have enough leads.
If you don’t have leads to pursue and keep your recruiters busy, you’re going to fail. There’s simply no way around it. You don’t want your recruiters sitting around waiting for leads, but you also don’t want so many leads that you overwhelm them.
That leads to an interesting question. How many leads do you need? You have to remember every fleet is unique and because of that pinning down an exact benchmark number is difficult. While there is no magic number I can tell you, there are some things you can do to help you figure out what’s right number for you. Start by taking a look at what you’re already doing. How are your current conversion rates? How many empty trucks do you need to fill? What kind of goals have you set for yourself in regards to growth for the future? If you know, how many drivers you need to hire and your conversion rates of leads, you can approximate how many leads you’ll need to reach your desired hires. However, there are usually other inefficiencies to contend with.
You don’t have quality leads.
The number of leads isn’t the only thing that affect your recruiting. You need to make sure they are quality leads. I previously covered just how important lead quality is in the article, Driver Recruiting: Quantity vs. Quality of Leads.
Your fleet doesn’t stand out.
One of the worst things you can do is blend in with the crowd. What is it about your fleet that is different from everyone else? Prospects have a lot options out there today, so it’s vital you do all you can to highlight exactly what it is that makes your fleet special and different from all the others. Are you pet friendly? Do you run newer equipment? Strong company culture? Anything that sets you apart is a selling point to drivers. Never blend in!
Drivers don’t know who you are.
Even if you have great pay and are a wonderful fleet to drive for, drivers may be wary of signing on to what they consider an unknown entity. Maybe you’re a smaller fleet, or perhaps you just haven’t done a good job of getting your name out there. The result is the same either way. Drivers have to know who you are to want to drive for you.
Tips to Build Your Brand
Get your name out there!
You need to make sure people know who you are. Use image and video heavy multi-channel campaigns that get your name in front of the drivers you are after across various platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and the Google Display Network.
Gain Drivers’ Trust
Making sure drivers know who you are is only the beginning. You need to establish trust. Content marketing is an excellent way to reach potential drivers with pertinent and useful information. Nurturing relationships (of both prospective drivers AND those that already drive for you) and providing quality material for drivers will lay the foundation for you to build your fleet into a trusted brand name.
You’re using antiquated technology.
Older lead tracking systems do not allow you to scale your approach effectively or enable recruiters to respond as quickly as necessary. You cannot let slow response times kill your chances with quality leads. Make sure your systems are up to date to give you the best chance to accurately track, scale, and reach prospects in a timely manner.
Poor fleet reputation.
Drivers talk to drivers. Drivers talk to drivers. When it comes to driver recruiting, your fleet reputation matters. Do everything you can to keep your drivers happy, give them support, and a high quality work environment. Just as a bad reputation can drive drivers away, a good reputation among drivers can have prospective drivers clamoring to join your team.
Problems related to your recruiters.
You don’t have enough recruiters.
So, you have quality leads rolling in, but your recruiters are struggling to keep up with the pace. Maybe you need to bring in some extra recruiters to help field those leads they’re not getting to. While there is no magic answer to how many recruiters you should have, there are some things you can take a look at to help you figure out if you have enough recruiters on staff to meet your needs.
Review how you’ve performed in the past as well as taking a second look at how you’ve allocated your budget can give you a clearer picture of how to move forward and what changes to make. For a more in-depth discussion about how to find the number of recruiters that works best for you check out our previous article, What is the Right Number of Recruiters for Your Fleet?
Your recruiters don’t have the skills they need.
Sometimes it comes down to how your recruiters are handling the leads they have.
Poor Time Management
Recruiters have to prioritize high value and quality prospects. The faster they reach leads the better chance of successfully converting them to drive for your fleet. Marking names off a list and going through the motions won’t achieve the results you are after.
A major problem some recruiters have is that they don’t have a working knowledge of the industry. To be effective at their job they need to not only know the intricacies of your fleet to help highlight the benefits, but they also need the knowledge of the industry in general.
Recruiters can’t hope to connect with drivers if they have no idea about the challenges they face out on the road or the current state of the industry.
Failing to focus on the drivers.
Drivers are like everyone else, they want to feel valued. No one wants to be taken for granted. You should do everything in your power to make sure you focus on the drivers and create a positive environment for them to thrive in (for more on this check out Does Your Fleet Embrace a Driver-Centric Culture?)
Creating a positive culture and experience for the drivers doesn’t just apply to the fleet itself. It all starts with the recruiters. After all, recruiters are the first point of contact a driver will have with your fleet. They need to represent your culture and values. Recruiters have to approach the process with the drivers in mind.
Drivers don’t want to feel like a number on a spreadsheet. Focusing on the drivers themselves and the advantages you fleet offers can be the deciding factor that pushes a driver to choose you over competing fleets.
Where do you go from here?
Do any of the issues from above sound familiar or hit close to home? If so, you ask yourself, now what? Good news is it’s never too late to change. Figuring out where you struggle is the first step in fixing your recruiting process. Once you’ve identified where you have difficulties and know exactly what your weaknesses are you can address them and move forward.
Do your best to offer an environment that drivers enjoy working in and give your recruiters the training they need to stay up to date with not only your fleet, but the trucking industry itself. If it’s the question of quantity or quality leads that is holding you back, consider teaming up with Randall-Reilly. Let us put our years of experience and plethora of driver data to work and help you find the exact drivers you are after.