Tips for Driver Hiring and Management

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The need for drivers is rising, and a lot of fleets in many industries are trying to fill open positions to meet the demand. Your company must be able to quickly and thoroughly attract, recruit, interview, evaluate, and hire applicants in a competitive job market in order to survive.  Here are some recruiting recommendations for hiring drivers that will assist you in finding the best candidate and enhancing your systems:

Create Appealing Job Postings

Open driver positions should be appealing to potential applicants, especially if you are a small fleet competing for employees with large corporations. The most obvious incentive is a competitive salary, but if you can’t offer compensation at the top of an expected range, try to create positions that include good benefits, plenty of time off at home, wellness programs, and training and advancement opportunities.

Properly Advertising Job Postings

Drivers need to be aware that you are hiring! The job posting should be advertised on all of your online channels, including your website, blog, and social media accounts. You should also post the job on popular job search websites and the numerous driver job boards available online.

When creating a job listing, include every relevant detail that an applicant might be interested in, such as salary, driving hours, and the minimum and preferred requirements. Don’t forget to mention the job’s appealing benefits, fleet amenities, programs, and advancement opportunities!

Create and Promote Driver Referral Programs

Drivers are a close-knit community, and you can bet they talk about their employers. A recommendation from a reliable fellow driver can have a significant impact on attracting qualified candidates for your open positions. Incentives for recruiting new drivers can range from gift cards to bonuses to paid vacations, depending on your budget.

Choose the Right Candidates

Once you have a list of applicants, you have to decide which ones to invite in for an interview and to take through the required driver qualification process. Make sure to filter out candidates based on their age to legally operate your vehicles, years of experience, various certifications, where they are located, and anything else that is important to you. You might also take into account when selecting applicants:

  • Military Veterans
  • Bilingual immigrants
  • Recent graduates
  • Minority groups

Systemize Driver Qualification

To operate your commercial vehicle, the driver must be legally qualified. As a result, prospective candidates will be required to provide proof of all required certifications. Almost every state will require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). There are three types of CDLs: Class A, B, and C, as well as specialty licenses and certifications for specific drivers, such as a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME). Make certain that any applicant you are considering has the appropriate license.

You should also ensure that your company is meeting the minimum driver qualification requirements.

Including but not limited to:

  • Previous employer checks
  • Motor Vehicle Reports
  • Drug & alcohol testing
  • Accidents & Incidents

Systemize Background Checks

To evaluate an applicant, you must consider a number of factors. Moving violations in the last ten years, instances of driving or operating under the influence, safety compliance, criminal history, and health/fitness required for the job should all be considered in the background screening. In addition to a motor vehicle report, the following resources are available:

  • Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) profile via the FMCSA
  • Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (DAC) Employment History via the FMCSA
  • Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) via the AAMVA
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)

In addition, you should obtain a driver’s medical certification and confirmation that the medical examiner is on the national registry.

Choose the Right Interview Questions

When it comes time for the interview, you want to make sure you learn all of the pertinent information. Inquire about previous experience, previous relationships with employers, reasons for leaving previous jobs, problems they’ve encountered and solved, and how they handle road accidents. Include questions about specific road procedures and maneuvers, such as what they could do to avoid a run-under crash when turning left through an oncoming traffic lane at night.

Have the Driver do a Road Test

The amount of drivers that have a CDL that can hardly make it through merging onto the interstate during mild traffic conditions is surprisingly high. One great way to qualify drivers beyond the requirements and show that you take safety seriously, is to require all new drivers to take a driving test AFTER they’ve passed the other preliminary requirements.

Conduct a Skills Test

Bring in the finalists for a skills demonstration once you’ve narrowed the candidate field down from the first interview. Here are some skills to look out for:

  • Parking
  • Backing up
  • Mental math
  • Making sharp turns
  • Hooking up air lines
  • Coupling and uncoupling a trailer
  • Smooth shifting
  • Familiarity with technology like ELDs and GPS devices

Employee Coaching and Onboarding

Even if you believe you’ve hired the ideal candidate, they must still go through all of your company’s onboarding, training, and coaching processes. It’s worthwhile to invest in a coaching initiative if you don’t already have one.

Conduct On-the-Job Evaluations

Within the first two regular work weeks of a new employee, a manager should conduct an initial evaluation. This may entail the manager following the driver unannounced for a period of time to assess their driving and compliance with company policy. A 90-day review is also a good idea to see how the driver is settling in. These reviews will help you the next time you need to hire a driver as well as providing an opportunity to grow your record base of driver safety measures.

Attracting, recruiting, interviewing, evaluating, and hiring the ideal driver is a difficult task. We hope our hiring advice is useful to you. And while you’re at it, have a look at one of our recent blogs > FMCSA Rules and Regulation Refresher.

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The FMCSA is the lead federal government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), to include more than 500,000 commercial