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How to Source and Interview OTR Truck Drivers

How to Source and Interview OTR Truck Drivers

By: Joanne Cleaver

It’s called long-haul driving for a reason: 14-hour days of pulling a loaded semi-trailer puts stress on drivers’ health, emotions and relationships.

As baby boomer drivers retire, employers are challenged with recruiting younger candidates to move into the drivers’ seat.

The following recruiting tips will help you source and interview OTR truck drivers to fill the hiring gap.

How to Source OTR Drivers:

  • Signing bonuses are both common and controversial. While many employers offer $2,000 or more just to win drivers.
  • Other employers feel that bonuses undermine employee retention.

Recruiter Hiring Tip:

“Referrals from current employees work well,” reports Dallas-based Frozen Food Express Mark Rhea, director of driver resources. Employees whose referrals result in hires receive bonuses says Rhea.

What to Cover in OTR Truck Driver Interviews:

Ask interview questions that encourage the candidate to reveal their hopes, expectations and aspirations about the job.

  • A thorough discussion of expectations around home time is an essential part of the in-person interview.
  • Some employers are reorganizing their logistics to minimize the amount of time drivers must spend on long hauls.
  • Be sure to ask the candidate how he or she handles unexpected situations such as mechanical breakdowns.
  • Discuss the candidate’s feelings about real-time monitoring, such as communications systems that constantly stream feedback about truck location and activity.
  • In the final in-person interview, consider inviting the driver’s spouse or partner to the interview so he or she can understand the scope of the job and ask questions about benefits and scheduling home time.

Recruiting Tip:

Ashley Distribution Service, the Arcadia, WI based division of Ashley Furniture, is evolving its hub-and-spoke regional distribution system to require mainly one to three day drives, says Kevin Mullen, Director of Transportation Safety. If your company is reorienting its operations to ensure more home time for drivers, be sure to outline this to candidates in the interview.

Recruit to Retain your OTR Drivers:

Employee retention can start from day one, says Swain. Top drivers want consistent feedback about their technical performance and also want to be kept abreast of evolving career options off-road. “Tell them, ‘You have the skills to make a future here,” says Swain.

Potential OTR driver career advancement may include:

  • Company paid or subsidized training for additional and/or advanced certifications
  • Team leadership

Related home-based jobs include:

  • Dispatcher
  • Safety, maintenance and training technical positions
  • Operations and logistics management

Recruiting Tip:

“Understand the guy’s goals — does he want to own his own truck or be a fleet operator?” All that can be built into the career path,” says Swain.

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