Not sure how to recruit truck drivers? You're not alone. With the driver market as tight as it is right now, everyone is having a harder time hitting their quotas and keeping trucks filled. And even worse, all the old standbys like help wanted ads aren't working like they used to.
Thats why we're here to help. New strategies and tactics can grab new applications from drivers that would have never considered your business before - and all without spending a fortune on new recruiting staff or job ads. Whether you're aiming to pull five driver applications per year or five thousand, these strategies work.
In this post, we've got five ideas for how you can turbocharge your recruiting without killing your budget.
1. Go out into the real world with job fairs
You know how fads run in cycles? Job fairs work the same way. After years of being overcrowded and underperforming, they're back in a big way. Local, in-person job fairs are a great way to meet prospects in-person and establish a human connection. It's a lot harder for a driver to blow off a human than a paper application they see floating around. Look for low-cost job fair opportunities with local community groups and your county recreation centers - many host monthly fairs. Job fairs are particularly useful for hiring local delivery drivers and regional truckers, since so many of them are locally targeted. It's usually a little harder to recruit OTR truck drivers, though. But overall, job fairs are still one of the best ways to recruit truck drivers.
2. Use general interest job boards like Monster and Indeed
These are the granddaddies of job application websites, but they still deserve a place in your toolbox because of their massive scale.
"We use indeed because we're able to pull hundreds of applicants per month with very little effort", noted John Doerr of Sunmar Trucking. These sites come with serious downsides, however. The same scale that supplies millions of applications on-demand also means very poor filtering: if you aren't careful, you will pull nothing but a mountain of unqualified applicants. No experience, no CDL, and even multiple recent DUIs are not uncommon on these general online job application portals. Requiring a CDL license number, expiration date, and accident history on your online trucker job applications is a great way to fix this problem - done right, only qualified drivers can apply in the first place, so your time isn't wasted. Enlistics can help you with this.
3. Market directly at truck stops
If you're into a little guerrilla marketing, this tactic is both incredibly cheap and amazingly effective. The idea is simple: go to places where truckers naturally congregate in your area, like truck stops and off-highway convenience stores, and put up fliers anywhere you can. For the low cost of a few sheets of paper (and the not-so-low cost of printer ink), nearly every driver traveling through your your area will see your opportunities. Bulletin boards, lamp posts, gas pumps, and any other flat surface you can find are all fair game. Just be considerate of the stop owners: make sure not to put them in disruptive places. You'll probably have to return to the stop regularly to replace torn-down posters, but that's OK! This is a zero-cost technique otherwise, so it's still among the best ways to recruit truck drivers.
4. Drive hiring with referral bonuses
If they won't do it for free, bribe 'em. The last technique we have here certainly isn't cheap, but managed well, it's one of the best ways to recruit truck drivers. And because payments are due only on success, there's no risk of wasting money on an unsuccessful campaign. For most trucking companies, a referral bonus that pays $500 or $1000 per driver hired is a good number to target, but managing the program correctly is critical. Remember: your current truckers are out in the field every day meeting other drivers who might be looking for a job. They aren't recruiters and other drivers will trust them. The key to a successful referral program is keeping it at the front of your drivers' minds: whenever someone mentions that their current company isn't working well, you need to ensure your drivers will pass the company job application along.
Some companies send regular email newsletters to their drivers and include reminders about the referral program there. Others make sure that dispatch reminds them every week. One good tactic is to issue referral "business cards" drivers can pass out to people that might be interested in moving. However you do it, though, a well-run referral program is one of the best ways to recruit truck drivers.
Remember, though, that whatever you do to improve your truck driver recruiting, the most important factor is still the job. Pay and benefits are important - but so is respect. Does your dispatch treat all drivers fairly? Give them lots of miles and regular home time? Do you let drivers reject loads? Or demand they haul illegally? This all matters. Keeping the good drivers you have now will always be cheaper than recruiting and onboarding new ones, so whatever you decide to do - it pays to start by looking inward.