Q&A: Reducing Unqualified Leads in the New Driver Recruitment Market
On September 23, FATj's Corey Wagner, was joined by Conversion Interactive Agency's Priscilla...
Rolando Cruz, Safety and Recruiting Director at Capital Driver Leasing (CDL), grew up fascinated by trucks and trucking. He learned to drive his uncle’s rig while still a teenager and, after finishing his military service, began to work in the industry. When a company where he drove and later worked shaping safety policies was sold, he joined coworkers to start Capital Driver Leasing in 2014 as Operations Manager.
Cruz believes that directing both the company’s safety and recruiting efforts is logical and necessary. “The purpose of recruiting is to get as many bodies on the job as you can,” he explained, “regardless of past compliance or not. But we always make sure every driver we hire meets with our compliance criteria, so safety and recruiting go hand in hand here.” He uses a simulator to test all new drivers so the company can evaluate them in conditions that won’t show up during a road test, such as bad weather, congested traffic, and tire blowouts.
He also doesn’t mince words. Growing up with a strong work ethic, he expects the same from his hires and won’t accept any breaches in safe driving behavior. “Every driver that comes in knows exactly who we are and what we expect of them,” Cruz said. “They might not want to always hear what I have to tell them, but I take the responsibility to our customers seriously.” However, as a former driver, he also understands how hard it is for truckers to establish a normal life, so he and the Capital Driver Leasing teamwork with them on mutually beneficial schedules. The loyalty of CDL’s core drivers, who make up a third of its full-timers, shows this is a good approach.
Finding drivers that meet CDL’s standards has not always been easy. At the end of 2016, the company was using three recruitment platforms, but Cruz was not happy with the results. “It seemed like I was going through hundreds of resumes forwarded to us that didn’t relate to what we were looking for,” he said. “There were applications and resumes being sent to us where the guys were dishwashers, and it was ridiculous.” To make matters worse, CDL was being billed for the quantity of applications that were forwarded, no matter how off-base they were.
By that point, Cruz was looking to drop one of the platforms and find a replacement. With perfect timing, he got a cold call from FATj and ended up hiring them. The difference was like night and day. “The quality shot up right away,” according to Cruz. “These drivers are applying specifically to us and are interested. When I get something from FATj, it’s because the driver initiated the fact.” This cut the time he had spent reviewing applications dramatically.
Even when an applicant doesn’t have the right experience level, Cruz considers it productive. He puts their information into a dated spreadsheet for future reference. “We follow up with them when they reach the experience criteria,” he explained. “We’ve hired seven of those guys over the last couple of years.”
“Drivers are applying specifically to us. When I get something from FATj, it's because the driver initiated the fact." – Rolando Cruz
Cruz is a self-described “people person” who approaches recruiting individually. “I’m going to find out who the driver is, where they came from, where they want to be. The best part of my job is helping someone become a better driver.”
Not surprisingly then, it’s the people at FATj who impress him as much as the results. “When I have a question and I call in Amanda, she’s phenomenal,” he said, referring to Director of Client Engagement Amanda Fasano. “Since the beginning of our partnership, Amanda has been great. Her team has over-exceeded my expectations.” As an example, he pointed out that every year CDL’s hiring has its slow season, and he adjusts his budget accordingly. “A lot of companies try to sell you something extra to keep your budget up, which is aggravating,” Cruz noted. “But Amanda understands and does exactly what I need. And I know she’ll follow up every month to see if I need anything else.”
He also has no problem with recommending FATj to other recruiters in the industry. “I do it all the time,” he said. “ I’m glad I have so many good things to say.”