How To Competitively Recruit Truck Drivers Without Appearing Negative

Illustration: Truth and Lie

When you’re competing for top talent, and you offer clear advantages over competitors, you can exploit those advantages if you do it diplomatically.

Columnist Kris Dunn has written an intriguing article for Fistful of Talent that offers five handy tips for negatively recruiting without appearing negative. Two of those tips weren’t particularly relevant to truck driver recruiting, so I didn’t include them in this post. Here are highlights from the original piece:

To Negatively Recruit means you share interesting information about your competition with a candidate to increase your chance of closing. Here are [3 of the 5] Ways to Negatively Recruit a candidate without looking like scum:

1. Be honest about your own company’s shortcomings as you compare and contrast. Don’t just talk bad about the other companies. Let the competition win a round or two. But make sure you win the final round, and make sure it’s a round that really matters to the candidate.

2. Use public information to help candidates view the competition with eyes wide open.

3. Ask questions about the next career step for a driver if they join your competitor.


Point 1 is by far the most important one to remember. In my own New Business efforts, I’m never shy about commenting on competitors—for a few reasons:

1) I like and respect the majority of agencies I’ve competed against over the years—and the fact that I’m willing to say genuinely nice things about them strengthens the credibility of any negative observations I might share. And, I believe, demonstrates the fact that I’m ultimately interested in what’s best for a prospective client.

2) There are still areas where I believe my firm offers advantages over any shop—whether it’s a better value for the money, or a stronger focus on bottom-line results.

3) I never say anything about competitors I couldn’t comfortably defend if it got back to them.

Regarding Dunn’s Point 2, Consider this: If one of your competitors recently lost a large account which could lead to layoffs, or has a reputation for mistreating drivers, your candidates should know what they could be getting themselves into. You’d want to know if you were them. Just remember to be diplomatic about sharing that information.

Finally, Dunn’s Point 3 is an excellent way to help candidates envision themselves being happily employed with your company for a long time. And isn’t that what we’d like to achieve with all our hires?


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2 comments on “How To Competitively Recruit Truck Drivers Without Appearing Negative

  1. I agree on all 3 points – by being open and honest the potential employee is able to make an informed decision. And by showing your competitors respect the driver will know that you’ll show them the same respect.

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