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4 min read

Pro Tip to Hiring Drivers: Connect With Them Faster

By Connor Zazzo on Feb 4, 2020 9:55:13 AM


When someone goes to the store and buys groceries, they get a receipt. When they get in the car and turn the key, the dashboard lights up. But what happens when they submit a job short form application online?

The response time when applying for jobs online all depends on the post-application practices of the company and recruiter. Making sure your practices are in line with industry standards and applicant expectations can be the difference between a qualified new employee, and a missed opportunity.

After They Click “Apply”

Picture a trucking job candidate who responds to two job ads.

One recruiter picks up the phone as soon as the application comes in and calls the candidate while they’re still at home. The momentum of the application process stays alive, and the candidate feels better knowing that someone’s interested. Maybe they even got offered an interview and are now truly excited about the company.

The second company calls the next day. The candidate agrees to an interview, but the first job is already at the front of their mind. They’ve already forgotten most of the details about this other company, and they’re at risk of falling out of the hiring pipeline entirely.

Today’s job market is more competitive than ever, and you don’t want to be the recruiter who’s stuck playing catch-up.

Competing for Candidates

Among a group of 800 recruiters surveyed by Jobvite, 74 percent reported that hiring in 2019 was more competitive than it had been the year before. Additionally, 67 percent reported that their candidate pool was too small for comfort, and that’s particularly true in the world of trucking.

The for-hire trucking industry has been struggling with a worker shortage for years. The American Trucking Association last measured the gap in 2018 at 60,800 drivers needed, an increase of nearly 20 percent from 2017. Predictions suggest that at this rate, the shortage might grow to 160,000 by 2028, even as almost 100,000 new jobs hit the market.


Recruiter Response as Reputation Management

With qualified workers in short supply, it’s crucial for your company to maintain a good reputation with employees and potential hires.

Everything gets reviewed on the internet now, including jobs and companies. Job applicants pay attention to how attentive you are and how easy you make the hiring process, and they share their thoughts on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor.

Candidates will touch on many different factors in these reviews. Sometimes they’ll talk about things you as a recruiter can’t control, like the salary or benefits that the company offers. But they’ll also talk about the candidate experience, and you do have control over that.

Optimizing the Candidate Experience

In trucking, as in many other in-demand industries, it’s a candidate’s market. You have to sell your opportunity just like you would sell a product or service because, like any sales professional, you have competitors.

Your competitors are trying to recruit the same candidates you are. Candidates who know the industry know they’re in demand, and they won’t stick around forever waiting for your response. If you don’t meet their interest in the position with interest in them as a candidate, they’ll move on to someone who will. And they won’t wait around very long to do it either, especially when there are plenty of other opportunities competing for their attention.

To keep applicants engaged with you and your opportunities, you have to reach them soon after they apply. But exactly how long should a recruiter take to respond?

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Recruiter Response Time: What’s Ideal and What’s Realistic?

Many industry experts claim that recruiter response time should be less than five minutes from when you receive an application. It’s a rule of thumb that’s based on lead response time in sales, and it’s a good idea in theory. But how many recruiters in the trucking industry have time to watch their inboxes all day waiting for a new application?

At Find a Trucker Job, we work in the real world with real recruiters. We’ve found that a half-hour is much more realistic, and it still shows that you’re interested in the candidate and respectful of their time.

How to Reduce Your Response Rate

A half-hour can still go by quickly when you’re doing other things. To make sure you can respond to candidates within that window, create a few standard email templates that can be sent out quickly when you get a new application.

Here are a few ideas to start:

  1. An email for when you only have time to acknowledge receipt of their application
  2. Another email for candidates you know you want to interview
  3. And lastly, one for candidates that aren’t qualified

Create a subject line that uses the person’s name—it improves open rates by 26 percent. Use active and inviting language, especially for those emails that might be going to your new top candidate.

Work With the Pros

If you haven't already, there's loads of more advice like this in our blog that recruiters FATj has worked with are already using to make a different in their hiring process. You can check out some of the highlights on our best practices for driver recruitment guide here.

But if your team is looking to excel in the way you find drivers, and you are interested in looking like a superstar, we've got you covered. We can help you improve your response time to candidates and even fine-tune your language so you keep the excitement going. Reach out to us today to set up a free recruitment consultation.

Connor Zazzo

Written by Connor Zazzo

Connor is the Marketing Manager for FATj.com, focused on providing valuable insights to help drive forward the hiring efforts of recruitment teams across the country. Interested in reaching out to Connor to learn more about FATj.com? Connect with him on LinkedIn!