5 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring Truck Drivers

August 2014, - WebXclusive

by HNI

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Photo courtesy Haldex
Photo courtesy Haldex

We don't have to tell you how important driver recruiting is to the success of your company — hiring truck drivers is priority No. 1 for nearly every transportation company we work with.

Our recent HNI University webinar, Attracting the Next Generation of Talent in Transportation, highlighed some of the strategies that we've seen successfully implemented. But we'd like to share some of the "don'ts" to keep in mind.  

1. Hiring Cousin Bob Because Bob is Familiar

When it comes to hiring, it'll always be easiest to hire someone in our existing network. This is great when that someone you know is a seasoned pro in the industry. The problem shows up when we hire someone we know just because it is comfortable and that new hire is too green for the job.

Hiring acquaintances is fine, but make sure to take the same proactive measures you use with other employees to ensure they are a good fit for your company.

2. Not Caring about Your Online Reputation with Drivers

Thinking you are immune from the Internet and how it affects your reputation is a fast way to put your company in danger. Everything today is online, including employee reviews about salary/pay and what it's like to work for your company.

At a minimum, monitor your company’s online reputation and keep an eye on social media. For a quick check-up, Google your company and see what people are saying about you.

3. Sticking with the Stereotypical Truck Driver Candidates

Today's world is very diverse — but you wouldn't know it from looking at most trucking companies.

As the applicant pool starts to run dry and more and more companies are fighting over the same drivers, seeking out non-traditional candidates (such as people of color, women, military veterans) can bring big returns.

Here's a resource to get you started: Check out Hero2Hired to get some veterans in your fleet.

4. Not Showing You're Proud to be a Part of This Industry

Without the hardworking men and women of the transportation industry, commerce would grind to a halt. Yet many people still harbor negative stereotypes of your "typical truck driver." This is damaging to all of us in the industry and will further deter the next generation from choosing trucking as a career.

So when an opportunity arises to promote all the great things that trucking does, take it. Celebrate Truck Driver Appreciation Week (Sept. 14-20 this year). Have an open house to allow community members to meet real truck drivers, check out the tractor-trailers, and share how the transportation industry touches their lives every day.

5. Not Getting a Head Start on Training the Next Generation of Truck Drivers

The next generation is shaking things up, and ignoring the situation or waiting it out will get you nowhere. Instead of pretending this next generation of drivers does not exist, find out more about them. Decide how these people will fit into your company and how your culture can be improved because of them. What do they bring to the table that hasn’t been brought before? Unfortunately, one day your seasoned drivers will retire. You've got to be prepared for the new guys and know how to turn them into your next generation of valued drivers.

Motor carriers are finding the things that worked yesterday may not work tomorrow — so seeking new methods for hiring truck drivers is critical.

Adapted from the "Steal These Ideas" blog by HNI, a nontraditional insurance provider that consults with companies on their safety programs. Used with permission.


  1. 1. Rich Kruml [ August 12, 2014 @ 09:42AM ]

    There are 5 mistakes to avoid but most companies do not adhere to them

  2. 2. Boh Howell [ August 13, 2014 @ 09:34AM ]

    The other mistake the industry makes is continuing to process and hire from the bottom 30% of candidates which is where all the problems are including almost all of the turnover.

    The industry is sort of stuck on excuses about the cause of it's high turnover and it's only getting worse.

    The reality is that the trucking industry has a driver "selection" problem as evidenced by it's high turnover rates. Current recruiting methods can't isolate the good from the poor performers.

    The solution is to avoid processing and hiring the bottom 30% of driver candidates and only hire from the upper 70% of candidates.

    Bob Howell

  3. 3. Tobey Strauch [ August 30, 2014 @ 12:22PM ]

    It is bothersome to me when the "old schoolers" gripe and complain, but won't teach the new kids. Its also bothersome that there are cookie cutter orientations. If you feel the need to complain, then provide a solution. To many times the old school guys solution is to leave the company instead of taking the time to train, or to make an effort to better a team. I run dedicated. We all come and go at the same place. We should know that we can depend on each other.

  4. 4. Jack Dwelly [ September 12, 2014 @ 03:08PM ]

    After 30 years as a HazMat driver , I'm mistrusted, tested,timed, stamped
    Redundantly licenced and computer monitored with every move, more than
    ever in my career, despite 3million safe miles. Small wonder we are becoming an entry level, early exit vocation. Pay scales have declined, not improved, relative to the skill sets and responsibilities demanded of us.

  5. 5. fury road [ November 25, 2015 @ 07:13AM ]

    I have never trusted the trucking company I work for for a sample fact that all trucking companies are full of shiit and lies
    Truck drivers are expandable assets easy to replace , they treat us like shiit in every corner from weight stations to fuel desks
    Truck drivers take the abuse from each and every scam bag on earth in traffic,office and the shipping or receiving docs

  6. 6. Jaimé Ray [ August 04, 2016 @ 10:36AM ]

    This was a good article with some suggestions. In the comments, I did not see any real suggestions but complaints:

    Rich Kruml: Are you saying that you have experience with most companies, and all they do is lie? This would provide a wonderful opportunity for you to start a trucking company and be successful. You could model honesty to the rest of the industry.

    Boh Howell: What you say is good advice, however don't you think companies would be glad to hire from the top 70% (or for that matter the top 10%)? Do you think they intentionally hire from the bottom 30%? Why are they hiring this bottom 30%?

    Tobey Strauch: I agree with what you're saying. I really like it when I see an older driver helping younger drivers and I have been fortunate to see that kind of mentoring. Good observation!

    Jack Dwelly: Unfortunately, what you are experiencing is a sad fact. Regulations and customer requirements are forcing trucking companies to do all this monitoring. It costs money and it frustrates drivers. However, in just about any job nowadays, you are going to have increased monitoring and reports compared to the good old days.

    fury road: Really? Why would you take such abuse? You should start your own business, you will surely strike it rich!

  7. 7. David Rank [ August 08, 2016 @ 01:56PM ]

    I am currently looking for a driver to operate a second truck I have. I operate the first. Midwest flatbed freight. Based in MI. Only operate 4 days a week.
    810-837-1833 Thanks, Dave

  8. 8. Trashy Dave [ September 11, 2016 @ 06:21PM ]

    Jack Dwelly, You are on the Money! Its enough to make a man find another way to earn the Dollars. GOD Bless truckers. Especially those who don't TEXT and keep it safe.

  9. 9. YVONNE [ January 22, 2017 @ 05:45PM ]

    I agree. everyone lies in this business. We own 4 trucks, drive 1 ourselves. We know! We are looking for a driver out of MI, pays well if anyone is interested. Must have 4 years experience and be professional, which means..ON TIME. Thanks! Use the email above if interested in more information. Appreciate it

  10. 10. Transport One Trucking [ May 31, 2017 @ 07:32AM ]

    I think drivers are not being appreciated, we hire only candidates that want to be truck drivers, we take pride in our equipment as well as the customers we have and of course our drivers. We are an asset based broker / carrier so our freight and drivers are what makes our business. I think big companies focus on quantity and not quality of drivers, but the drivers are the face of our business, we look for experienced, polished drivers that are proud to work in the industry. For driving opportunities with our company please call us at 662-728-9001 and we can discuss our sliding pay scale and late model equipment we have.


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