Most truck drivers are looking for a company to work at for the rest of their lives. They know that changing companies is a hard process and can cost them a lot of money while in the transition time and while proving to the new company that they can do the job. However, many do not ask the proper questions or if they do know what to ask, they get the wrong answers or no answer at all. Then when they start at the new company, they become quickly dissatisfied with policy, money and/or the company itself and leave to find another company.
Recruiters hit a wall when trying to recruit experienced drivers in a couple of ways. First, most qualified drivers contact a company directly and talk to the drivers if nothing else, then make their decision. They do not go through a recruiter outside of the company itself. Another thing is that recruiters often do not have all the information an older, more experienced driver might ask instead having to tell the driver they do not know, will get back to them later or take what the company has told them to say as gospel and tell the driver only what the company wants them to know. Is the recruiter lying to the driver; perhaps not knowingly, but if the information provided them is false, then the driver thinks so.
Look at the advertising that people see about entering the trucking profession or about companies. “Make $40-65K a year” one company advertises at their terminal on a trailer next to the road. Their top drivers who have been there 5-10 years will make that at their level of pay, but an entry level driver will not at the $.33 cpm that new drivers receive. One company says on it’s trailers “Make $.50 cpm” but in talking to their drivers, the company only has enough freight for their drivers to run 1500 miles per week maximum. Many companies show brand new trucks in their advertising, yet when a new driver hires on, they get the worst equipment available usually with the promise that they will move up in quality over time.
Trucking schools are terrible about advertising unrealistic possibilities in trucking. Many show a KW large car or something similar and say, “In just a few weeks, you too can be driving one of these!” Not likely! No training company has large cars that anyone has heard of. Another favorite advertisement is the one where the school says, “With just 2 weeks of training, you can be a professional driver”. Again, not likely, it takes many months to gain the knowledge and experience to be considered a professional driver…though in the broadest sense all drivers drive as a job so can be considered ’professional’ by some.
The saddest part of all of this is where good people are touted into attending a school with the promise of a career to support themselves only to find out that they are not hirable due to current regulations and/or policies concerning criminal background or medical problems/issues. They are out the money for the training in these cases and many have found themselves in deep economic problems from it. One woman who was on parole for a drug selling conviction was told by the school “just don’t put it down on your application, it will not be a problem”. Of course, after she went through school, she found out it was a very big problem on several levels.
To solve the problems found in finding and retaining qualified drivers, changes need to be made in the hiring process and in company policy. Most experienced drivers understand there is no such thing as a perfect company; that all companies have problems. The key, they know, is to find a company with the problems they can live with. To do this, they need to know everything they can about the company given to them honestly because if it comes as a surprise, then they will be out of there in a heartbeat. They and the recruiters need to have total honesty between them and the recruiter needs to educate themselves totally about the company; its policies and practices. The drivers are not stupid and will appreciate honesty over propaganda.
In recruiting new or prospective drivers, recruiters need to be honest also with them. Many who enter the industry know nothing of what they are getting into other than what they see on TV or what they glean from the net these days if that. Whether one is a recruiter for a school or a company, tell it like it is so the person can make educated decisions instead of going in with their eyes closed. If there is a problem, tell them upfront that they will not be hired; with today’s economy, there are many more waiting to enter trucking to fill the schools.
Everyone should realize that the point of advertising is to sell a product or service or to find employees; there are truths in it and lies combined. Recruiters and companies want to attract qualified drivers, the drivers want a job that they can succeed at, surely there is someway to bring the two together with honesty and respect.
The old adage that truckers are a dime a dozen no longer holds true though at one time truckers were considered ‘meat in the seat.’ Drivers are expected to be professionals with perfect records, it is time for the companies to catch up.