What Are Truck Driver Recruiters?
You probably haven’t had to deal with a recruiter in any other job you’ve previously had. You simply apply for a job, speak with the hiring manager, and if it works out, you get the job! When trying to get hired as a truck driver, however, you’re likely to run into someone known as truck driver recruiter.
Truck driver recruiters have the sole job of trying to hire as many truck drivers as they can. The reason they do this is that there is a massive shortage within the truck driving industry. With the rise of online shopping and companies like Amazon, there is a greater need now more than ever for truck drivers.
And yet, there are also fewer truck drivers available now than ever before. This is because of large trucking companies who have a disproportionate level of control over the industry. As a result, they offer long hours, often unreasonable pay and limited benefits.
To overcome this, truck driving companies have started to outsource their hiring process to truck driver recruiters. Rather than looking for qualified truck drivers, these recruiters act as salesmen for the companies they represent, trying to hire as many truck drivers as they can to combat the shortage of available drivers.
For those of you job hunting within the truck driving industry, here are the five most important things to keep in mind when dealing with truck driver recruiters.
5 Ways To Ace Your Interview With A Truck Driver Recruiter
Understand What The Recruiter Wants
First, you’ll need to remember that this is not a standard job interview. In a typical interview, your goal is to convince the hiring manager that you have something of value to offer their company. With truck driving recruiters, however, it’s the opposite – they’re trying to prove to you why you should sign on with their company. This is the most important thing to remember during your interviews.
Your job during a truck driver recruiter interview is to learn as much about the company as you can while ignoring the recruiter’s sales pitch. They’ll try to get you to sign on by offering things like a sign-on bonus, special benefits, quick hiring processes, and so on. Every trucking company is likely to offer you this, so don’t let it win you over.
Instead, try to find things out like how they treat their employees, what they pay, what benefits they offer, and what your work/life balance might look like. Keeping this interview dynamic will put you in control of the interview, instead of the other way around.
Take Notes Before and During The Interview
This applies to any job interview, but it’s especially helpful when dealing with truck driver recruiters. Don’t be afraid to bring a notebook to your interview and make sure that you’ve already started to fill it out before your interview begins.
Before your interview, your notes should consist of getting down all of the information on the trucking company that you can find. Use their website, online reviews of the company, and forums where former/current employees discuss what working with this company is like. This will give you three main advantages going into the interview:
- You’ll look much more professional. Going in with a notebook full of information will raise your value in the eyes of the recruiter and let them know that you aren’t the average interviewee.
- You’ll know which questions to ask and which not to ask. Since you’ll already have some background info on the company, you can avoid asking basic questions and jump straight into the topics you’re most interested in.
- You’ll be able to keep your information for each trucking company organized. Keeping track of each company that you interview with in your notebook will help you remember which companies you are and aren’t interested in.
Once you’re sitting down for the interview, don’t be afraid to take out your notebook and start writing. Obviously, you’ll still want to be present during the interview, but writing things down like what they pay, what their working conditions are like, and so on, will give you more information to work off of when you’re comparing your options later on.
Ask The Right Questions
During any job interview, you should be asking as many questions as you’re answering. Here are some questions to keep in mind when you’re talking to a truck driving recruiter.
These are the questions you’ll need to have answered by every truck driver recruiter you interview with, no matter what. Odds are they’ll answer most of these questions without you needing to ask, but just in case, here they are:
- How do they pay? Meaning will they offer you a salary, hourly rate, or per-mile rate? You need to know which of these they offer and what rate/salary you’re most likely going to start at.
- How many hours/miles are you expected to work each week? This – when asked alongside the above question – will help you estimate your monthly payments.
- How often do they pay? Now that you know how much you’ll likely be making, you need to find out how often you’ll be receiving paychecks.
- How much do they pay for waiting, drop-offs, and pick-ups? Even though you’re going to be a truck driver, you won’t be spending every hour at work behind the wheel. There will be a lot of times when you’re delivering goods, picking up goods, or waiting to transport goods. So, when you’re not driving but still on the clock, how much do they pay?
- What happens if your truck is in the shop? All vehicles need maintenance at some point – will you be compensated while your truck is being repaired?
After you cover the above questions, you can start getting into the nitty-gritty of what their company is all about. These questions will give you a better idea of what kind of a trucking company they are and help you decide between two companies that both seem like good offers.
- Do you have to compete for hauls? This is one of those things that new truckers never think to ask about. While some trucking companies have plenty of work for everyone, others have a first come first serve style of work, which will make it harder to anticipate your monthly take-home pay.
- How often will you be on the road? If you don’t have any dependents/relationships at home, this might not be an important question for you. But for people with families waiting for them at home, you’ll want to know just how long and often you’re going to be apart from them.
- What routes will you potentially be driving? This will help you create a map of the kinds of places you might be frequenting. You can later research these routes to determine their difficulty and distance.
- Can you bring pets/passengers with you? Truck driving is a notoriously lonely job as it consists of sitting behind the wheel for long hours at a time, arriving in cities where you might not know anyone. Being able to bring along a pet or passenger can make your drives that much more bearable.
- What kind of benefits does the company offer? This is NOT referring to sign-on bonuses. Instead, you want to find out what kind of insurance they offer, possible fuel discounts, if you’ll be reimbursed for tolls or license plate fees, discounts on new tires, and so on.
Watch Out For Sign-On Bonuses
Something you’re bound to encounter during your interviews with truck driver recruiters are sign-on bonuses. Like sign-on rewards for credit cards or cellphone carriers, these are bonuses you get for joining the company.
These bonuses can vary, but typically they look something like: “If you join with us today, we’ll offer you a $3,000 bonus!” Which seems like a great deal, except that it’s usually only paid in small amounts over several months, and – more importantly – it’s often used to get you to sign on before fully weighing your options. Like we mentioned at the start of the article, truck driver recruiters need you more than you need them, and sign-on bonuses are a product of this.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that sign-on bonuses are a bad thing, just that you shouldn’t let it sway your decision. Think of it as what it is – a nice bonus – and not something to base your decision on.
Sleep On it: Don't Accept The Job During The Interview
Lastly, never accept the job during the interview. More than likely, if you’ve gone through proper truck driver training and meet their qualifications, they’re going to want you to sign on with them before you leave. Never do this! Remember, you’ve been taking notes for a reason.
Instead, let them know that you’re interested but want to think it over. Once you’ve gone through all of your interviews for each company, carefully look at the different options, find the one that best suits you, call them back and try to negotiate an even better deal, let them know how many other job offers you have, and choose who you want to work for – with all of the negotiating power.
READ THE CONTRACT
This should go without saying, but read the contract if you are given one at your interview. You might be eager to sign on right then and there, especially if the job description sounds great, but it’s a good idea to sleep on it so you’ll have time later (and under less pressure) to carefully review the contract and terms of agreement.
Remember, this piece of paper is providing a detailed overview of what your job will be, and so you should read through it line by line and even make notes in the margins. It might also help to highlight anything important you’d like to discuss further or even negotiate with the employer.
GET SECOND EYES ON THE CONTRACT
Legalese (legal jargon) can be tricky to navigate, especially if you’re new to interviewing for truck driving positions. Whether it’s a lawyer, friend, or someone in your network who is more comfortable with legal language—don’t be afraid to get second eyes on your contract. Maybe they’ll catch a red flag you missed.
Like most job interviews, meeting with truck driver recruiters can be nerve-racking the first couple of times. This is normal! Just keep in mind everything we’ve discussed in this article, go in prepared, and most importantly, remember your value!
You’ve gone through truck driver training, you know what you want, and you know that they need you more than you need them. Use all of this to your advantage, and your truck driver interviews are sure to be a success.