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The Ultimate Guide to Driver Recruitment

The best practices your team needs to fill your fleet.

Finding drivers in today's high-demand market isn't the easiest job, and that's where we come in to sort out any confusion and set things straight. Learn some of the best practices for driver recruitment from our team of experts, here at FATj.com.

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A Complete Guide to Driver Recruitment

Recruitment is changing in every industry, including transportation. Thanks to social media, online marketing, and digital job boards, employers, and recruiters have nearly every possible candidate at their fingertips. It's easier than ever before to get your job opening out there—but it's also harder than it's ever been to capture the right candidate. Any candidate can go online today and find countless opportunities. The savviest companies are going to get the best candidates, so how do you make sure that you fall into that category? What are the challenges you're facing, and what are the strategies that can help you to respond?


Among all of the solutions available to recruiters today, four best practices stand out. These are the opportunities that will help your team boost recruitment efforts and fill seats.


Revamp Your Job Descriptions

Applicant shortage is one of the biggest concerns in today’s CDL recruitment market. First of all, working drivers are aging as a cohort. In the next decade, an estimated 54 percent of new hires will go toward replacing drivers who retire. Recruiters have to deal with filling those positions as well as the new jobs that are being created—nearly 100,000 new jobs by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


There are more jobs to fill and fewer people who want to fill them. Driving is a notoriously tough life, involving lots of time away from home. Meanwhile, other industries are booming and unemployment is at its lowest level in 50 years. Candidates have choices, and a lot of them aren't choosing trucking.

When people do choose this life, they find themselves in a driver's market. They see numerous job ads—up to 60 per day on some Facebook groups—so yours have to be attention-grabbing. That means you have to write ads that sell the position.


What makes a great job ad?

It’s all in the description. You have to show people, without beating around the bush, why they should apply to your job instead of the myriad of others out there.

Focus on where you stand out in salary, miles, and distance from home. These are the three most important factors when truckers are considering new jobs.

Also, make sure you’re abiding by general best practices for writing job descriptions:

  • Clear titles with industry-standard language
  • Active and engaging language, especially regarding job descriptions
  • Inclusive phrasing, free of gendered language, encouraging qualified applicants of all backgrounds to apply
  • Highlight unique benefits and perks—bonuses, more time at home, etc.

Finally, mention any awards that the company has won. For example, in March of every year, the Truckload Carriers Association releases an annual list of the Best Fleets to Drive For. If you’ve ever been on this list, or if you've won safety awards or “Best Place to Work” honors, flaunt them.


Finding Drivers on Social Media

The best place to search and post ads for candidates is constantly changing. What once was commonly found in newspapers, is now starting to become more prevalent in newsfeeds. Recruitment on social media has been going through something of a renaissance in the past couple of years. Instead of placing ads in front of active candidates who are looking for a job in your industry, social media allows companies to start targeting passive candidates who were not necessarily looking for a new job but could be interested in yours.

There are a few reasons why recruitment on social media has been blossoming in the trucking and transportation industry for the last couple of years. Facebook has become a leading source for CDL drivers looking for a new job, and there are a few reasons that our team feels that it can be one of the best bangs for your buck.pillar-post-6-2

  • High Traffic: With over 170 million people on Facebook in the US alone this year, the amount of impressions an ad can get has almost unlimited potential. 
  • Detailed Targeting: Social media sites take information that users feed into it to help advertisers get their messages in front of people who are likely to be interested in their brand or open position. 
  • Lower Cost: A combination of a high volume of potential candidates along with detailed targeting enables much more effective conversion rates than traditional recruitment methods. 

These are just a few of the many valuable reasons today's recruiters across all industries are turning to social media as a lead source. However, mastering the art of social media advertising can be challenging, as it does require special attention to make sure you are getting the best bang for your budget. It's important to keep a dedicated team member focused on optimizing your ad spend, so your company gets the leads you need at the best cost per application.

An easy way to connect

Truckers spend a lot of time on their phones, and much of that time is spent on social media. They’re keeping in touch with friends and family at home, passing the time, and sometimes even checking out job ads.

If your job posts are on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, you can get the attention of active and passive candidates. According to LinkedIn, 60 percent of the workforce isn’t already looking for new jobs but would be open to the right opportunities.

Facebook already has user-friendly job posting forms, so you don’t have to worry about designing something new. What you do need, since you’re targeting the passive job seeker, is engaging content that gets people excited about applying to the position.

Remember, these people may not be actively looking for jobs, so make the application process as easy as possible. Don’t require lengthy applications. If possible, allow them to reach out to you via Facebook messenger, so they don’t even need to navigate away from the site they’re already browsing.

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Improve Recruiter Response Time

A lot can happen between when a candidate hits “apply” and when they actually hear back from a recruiter or hiring manager. Maybe they ran out to the food store so they missed a call from the company, or maybe the company never called at all and they only sent an email after the application was submitted. If you want to boost your chances of connecting with a candidate after they apply, you need to keep in mind that they may not be waiting around for your call.

Competitive industries have a real problem with ghosting. Applicants seem interested, engaging in text or phone exchanges and even scheduling an interview, but then they just disappear. The best way to minimize ghosting is to stay in close contact with your candidates. Try to start by replying to them within five minutes of receiving their application or message of interest, even if it’s just to say you’ve received their info.

As they get more involved in the process, perhaps sending you a resume and/or scheduling an interview, send them an expected timeline to hiring. Keep this timeline as short as possible, stay on track to the best of your ability, and notify the applicant as soon as possible whenever there’s progress—one way or the other.


After the first contact

Once a candidate applies for your job and you reach out to them, how do you keep them on the hook? Does your team have a process to keep them engaged? There is a lot of competition in the market and applicants are applying to multiple jobs every day, so your team should come up with a plan to keep your applicants in the loop with your company.

From a FATj article that goes more in-depth on the subject of recruiter timeliness, 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.

Some best practices to keep your applicants engaged with your team:

  • Keep the application process simple and concise
  • Set up a follow-up schedule to let them know you are interested
  • Give them additional resources on what the job entails for them to review while they wait to hear back
  • Be prepared to answer any questions that come your way

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for keeping applicants engaged with your company, as every candidate has different expectations and needs. However, setting up a process for your team to keep your future drivers in the loop is an important first step to streamlining your recruitment efforts.




Create Short, Mobile-Responsive Forms

When someone is applying for a job, there are a ton of factors that contribute to the completion of that application. Some of them involve if the job seeker is the right fit for the job or company, how much information do they need to complete the application, and how enticing the job description to make someone want to apply. But one of the largest contributors to high completion rates is the experience of reading and filling out the application on every device, especially mobile devices.

Mobile devices are leading the way in the recruiting world, especially in on-the-go industries like trucking. Here are some quick stats to keep in mind before you think mobile-responsive applications do not matter for your company:

  • 43 percent of all moMobile-Responsive-Graph2-2bile users are looking up job information on their phones.
  • 18 percent are submitting job applications exclusively on mobile devices

The numbers are significantly higher for 18- to 29-year-old applicants—your target market if you’re looking to build a solid workforce. Among this key cohort, 70 percent are looking for job information on mobile devices and 34 percent have applied for jobs on their phones.

To reach these applicants, you need application forms that are short and optimized for mobile devices. Request only the essential information—remember, you can always go into more detail later—and make the application easy to navigate on a touchscreen. As mobile devices become more relevant in everyday life as each new iPhone or Android device comes out and each software update, it’s vital to your team’s success to make sure you are creating applications that are easy to fill out where your audience is looking.


How to become mobile responsive

Research from Appcast has shown that when a company uses short forms that take 5 minutes or less to finish, its application completion rate is 300 percent higher. This is especially important in the trucking and transportation industries, since applicants are often on the road or not near a desktop computer. Our own data shows that over 80% of applicants applying for a job on FATj.com are doing so on a mobile device.

If the person writing the job description and running that ads have trouble completing the application on mobile, then the qualified candidate they want to hire will have even more trouble. That’s why we recommend these 3 tips to any recruiters looking to boost their applies on mobile devices:

  • Check that all text is a legible font size
  • Make sure all form fields, checklists, multiple-choice questions, and buttons on the application are easy to click and easy to read.
  • Look to see if the application feels and looks like your brand. Is there room to add your logo or colors to the application?

Unfortunately, optimizing your mobile application isn’t a one and done type of project either. As mobile devices and software continually upgrade, your application will need to alongside so there is never a broken page or link that can keep drivers from applying to your jobs.


Identify Your Lead Source

As online job boards continue to increase their portfolio of both applicants and companies hiring, it has become increasingly difficult for recruiters and hiring managers to make their jobs stand out. Even though the number of drivers continues to increase, the demand transportation and logistics companies have for qualified candidates is outpacing that rise in the workforce. 

So what do you do to beat the competition and maintain a solid ROI for your recruitment efforts? We recommend you evaluate the methods you are using to source applicants and determine what's best for you and your company. We've already mentioned how running ads on social media as a lucrative way find unique candidates, but you already know that's not the only method, or even the most popular. Job boards one of the most popular ways professionals recruit today, and there are hundreds to choose from, but they don't always get you the hire.

Take a second and think: is your current method of recruiting working? Whether you believe it is or you know you need assistance, determining whether you are sourcing bulk leads or direct can have a massive impact on your team's efforts.



Are You Using a Bulk Lead Source or Direct Lead Source?

You may be asking yourself, what is a bulk lead source, and what is a direct lead source? There's a good chance you've already used both and even connected with candidates from both. But were you able to see what the difference is between them?

Here's how FATj defines the two:


Bulk Lead Source: A bulk job board that often sends recruiters database leads. This means that they automatically send you resumes that match your job description from drivers that are not actively looking for a new job.

Direct Lead Source: A platform that connects with advertising networks and popular industry job boards to get your job postings at the top of a driver's search results. Drivers that see these postings apply directly to your company and don't see your competitor's job postings.


Both of these sources can result in active or passive candidates; however, a direct lead source will often provide your team with more qualified leads. If you are looking for new ways to boost your driver recruitment, you should take a moment to think about if the applicants you are receiving are the best your team can get.


Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

You already evaluate applicants to see if they're going to help you or your client to succeed. In a market this competitive, you also need to evaluate yourself to make sure that your recruiting practices are getting the right people in the door.

At FATj, we offer fully managed recruitment campaigns that attract qualified candidates and lessen time-to-hire. To find out how we can help you follow driver recruitment best practices, reach out to us today and set up a free consultation.

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