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.