The (Confusing) Driver Recruiting Experience

Most carriers would agree that sales and marketing is a key part of the driver recruiting process. But too often that strategy is limited to trying to find a better photo of your equipment or buying different keywords for a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign.

The recruiting experience from the driver’s perspective is often ignored. Resulting in a process that is confusing, unfriendly, and riddled with obstacles that have to be overcome instead of being an enjoyable invitation to join your company.

To Apply or Not Apply…and Kafka

"a process that is confusing, unfriendly, and riddled with obstacles"

For the sake of this discussion, we’re going to start after the driver comes to a carrier’s website. (We’re process people, not an advertising agency!) Once drivers act on your ad, they’re typically taken to a landing page where their choices are (a) apply or (b) not apply. Occasionally, they’re given a third option: (c) learn more or receive a newsletter in exchange for submitting their name and email. The second option is often structured in terms that seem to say “sort of apply.” This newsletter option usually equates to a call or email from a recruiter.

If a driver clicks “apply now,” the impression the process gives is more that of a Kafka novel than an opportunity to sign up for a new adventure. Drivers are as aware of the driver shortage as carriers are. You would think this would mean that carriers would do everything in their power to swing the doors open and draw drivers in—especially after spending advertising dollars to get them to the door. But most of the time, the excitement and adventure stops at the landing page.

Let’s face it, most interactions with drivers are NOT going to result in your hiring them. But you’ve already spent advertising dollars to engage them, so why not make the experience as positive as possible? To make the best impression and positive impact for your brand It’s important that you clearly explain the benefits, create a consistent process, communicate clearly, and keep your brand top-of-mind.

Focus on the Positives

The first questions asked in most application processes point directly to the reasons a carrier would NOT be interested in a driver—violations, accidents, suspensions, terminations—but typically, there aren’t many reminders of the great driving opportunities a carrier has to offer. This wouldn’t matter as much if the path to the application included a vivid description of driver benefits. But most offerings are only a few lines of text in an ad and brief bullet points on the landing page.

We understand, It is very important to capture complete driver information and to quickly move past candidates that don’t meet your hiring criteria. But from a driver experience perspective, We believe it’s a mistake to focus more on disqualifying drivers than on the good drivers you would like to hire.

Consistent Process

Once an application is submitted, how consistent are the touch points between carrier and candidates in terms of timing, tone, content, setting expectations, etc.? It doesn’t make sense to reduce the role of a recruiter to one of a mindless automaton, but we often see variations in process and timing that are convenient for recruiters but very frustrating for drivers. Some recruiters call right away, others wait awhile, some send consistent emails from their system, and others are more hit and miss. At some point, the variation stops being a source of authenticity and becomes frustrating for the driver.

Do you clearly set expectations with each driver and forecast what the process looks like from application through orientation in terms of steps and time required? If not, why not?!

Ask yourself these questions-

  • As drivers progress through your process, do you clearly communicate their progress and what they can do to help expedite things?
  • When you turn down a driver, do you let them know it’s not going to work out and send them the required adverse action letters if background checks/consumer reports were involved? We get it: no one wants to be the bearer of bad news. But ignoring and avoiding a driver is not the best way to handle the situation. Remember, there is a driver shortage, and this driver could very well be eligible in the future. Communicate clearly with them, and blame the rejection on the guy in the safety department.
  • Do you let them know if they will be eligible at a known point in the future?
  • Do you have a reliable means of staying in contact with them until they’re eligible and following up with them when the time is right?
  • If a driver turns down your offer, how do you stay in contact with them so the next time they’re in the job market they’ll think of you?
  • As the orientation day approaches, do all of your candidates receive up-to-date, easy-to-understand information concerning travel logistics, necessary items to bring, contact information if there are any problems, etc.?

We’ve already mentioned that carriers do not end up hiring the majority of applicants. This happens for many reasons: they reject you, you reject them, they’re hired by someone else, etc. But eventually, many drivers will come back and even end up applying to the same carrier multiple times over their career. So creating clear name recognition and branding is important. Make sure your hiring experience is consistent with your image and brand. All of your ads, calls-to-action, landing pages, emails, and applications should be consistent with your overall message, image, and brand.

Tools to Create & Manage the Process

We offer a series of ways to make the application process friendlier to the drivers whose imagination you most want to capture. What’s more, we enable you to quickly filter applications without turning away the best drivers during the process.

Our technologies include landing pages, promotion from lead apps to full apps, continuation IntelliApp, highly configurable IntelliApps with the option for several versions all available at the same time, theming, conditional questions, etc., Driver Pulse, texting, subject email processes, drip email marketing, Communications Engine, Greyhound integration, IA Now with custom thank-you pages and recruiter-facing tools, including dashboard app for real-time notifications.

Make sure your hiring process is a great experience that doesn’t stop at your landing pages. Create a consistent process that communicates clearly with every applicant and stays on brand. Drivers will remember you down the road and you will guarantee the best return on investment for each applicant.

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