Small Business Brief


5 Little-Known Mistakes When Hiring Truck Drivers

Hiring the right drivers is essential for your company. But most companies make these 5 little-known mistakes when hiring truck drivers. Here’s your guide.

The truck driving industry is often called the backbone of America because we rely on it daily, from our essentials to our luxuries. Trucking supports the economy by transporting 68% of all freight tonnage in the U.S.

Truck drivers are responsible for moving incredible machinery across the country. Sometimes trucks and cargo can weigh 100,000 lbs or more. Their routes will take them many hours across state lines, many times across the entire country.

Hiring truck drivers who are capable and responsible enough to accomplish such an important task isn’t easy. Hiring managers must be prudent and detailed in their hiring process.

Failing to hire safe, qualified drivers can have massive consequences. These can extend way beyond simply losing your business, too.

To keep your trucking company moving in the right direction, avoid these five common mistakes when hiring your next drivers:

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring Truck Drivers

First and foremost, an unqualified or an irresponsible truck driver has the potential to do a lot of harm on the public highways. Many lives are in the hands of a truck driver who move heavy freight long distances in any type of weather.

In order to keep your business afloat and keep the public safe, managers should avoid these common mistakes:

1. Choosing Stereotypical Drivers Only

The American truck driver has a reputation for being an aging white male, but that demographic is slowly changing.

If you’re hung up on the idea of only hiring the typical truck driver, you’ll miss out on fresh opportunities for competent truckers.

In today’s economy, more and more people are turning to trade schools and certification courses to enter new career paths. Today, a diverse range of individuals train to get their CDL licenses at schools across the country.

Don’t limit your drivers to the typical cast of characters. Many of those older white men are extremely competent and experienced, but they aren’t the only qualified drivers anymore.

Keep an open eye for fresh talent that has demonstrated key qualities of a great truck driver.

We’ll talk more about preferable driver qualifications in the following sections.

2. Not Conducting Background Checks

In order to drive a vehicle as large (and with as much potential for danger) as a semi truck, drivers should prove a clean driving record. Besides clean driving records, though, the integrity of each employee should also be considered.

That means conducting thorough background checks to determine each applicant’s eligibility.

Truck drivers are more than the face of your company, they’re your product and service in action on the roads.

Drivers with bad backgrounds, though they may have trucking experience, are a liability.

Business owners should take full responsibility when hiring new drivers, including weeding out potential harm.

3. Hiring Someone You Know Because They’re Familiar

When perusing applications and reviewing resume after resume, you’ll probably start wishing you already knew a few truckers to hire.

Maybe you consider whether or not your relative or friend would be a good hire. Maybe you know someone in need of a job anyways, and you think extending them an offer will be doing some good.

Don’t be so certain.

We’d like to think because they’re familiar to us that they will be great truck drivers or representatives of our company. In actuality, their personal traits may not at all reflect their work habits.

The convenience and ease of hiring someone familiar don’t always pay off like you’d expect. And what’s worse, if they prove to be a poor representative of the company, then you’ve complicated a personal relationship, too.

4. Overlooking Employment History

When a driver applies for a trucking position, hiring managers first and foremost should ensure they have proper training and certification. The commercial driver’s license ensures the driver can operate heavy machinery, at least.

Hiring managers can post jobs in local ads or online at places like CDL Hunter to find qualified drivers. However, if trucking companies want to hire the absolute best candidates, they should look to each driver’s employment history.

Not all past experiences qualify as “trucking” experience, but proven responsibility in other areas of machinery or undergoing demanding hours will do. You’ll have to review each employment history carefully to pick up on learned skills.

This will also help you to weed out potential falsifiers. By comparing employment dates and reaching out to old employers, hiring managers can verify that an applicant has represented their skills truthfully.

Again, when you’re dealing with something as important and as risky as truck driving, you need to hire only the ablest employees.

5. Not Developing Hiring Criteria Beforehand

You hope that your inbox is flooded with applicants after posting or marketing a new job. You imagine stacks and stacks of applications, but probably not the time it would take to comb through them and select out the best candidates.

Don’t think for a second that choosing the right drivers for your trucking company will be quick or easy. You should set up a team who can help you along the way, determining which applicants move on to the next interview.

What will especially help you out in this process is predetermined hiring criteria. You can develop this information with the team beforehand to highlight key components of a successful candidate.

These criteria will serve as a checklist or a map for maneuvering through all the applications. It will help you boil down the most qualified drivers to ensure the most appropriate hires.

Resources and Advice for Small Business Success

When hiring truck drivers, small businesses should lay plenty of groundwork ahead of time so they hire only the most exceptional candidates. It will be far easier to build a positive reputation and improve business with the right crew helping out.

If you’re starting a small business (or you already have one underway), know that you can find plenty of resources online.

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