7 Tips For Recruiting Truck Drivers Through LinkedIn

Implementing a LinkedIn strategy now can pay long-term dividends in your driver recruiting efforts. Particularly if you’re looking to recruit younger drivers.

It’s been a couple years since I originally published this post. Since then, the results you can get from a LinkedIn search for “Truck Driver” have increased from under 20,000 to just over 127,000.  Granted, that number is  a drop in the bucket compared to LinkedIn’s reported worldwide membership (238 million as of October 3)—but it’s clear that drivers are catching on. Particularly younger drivers—who are, obviously, much more savvy Social Media users than their elders. All of which is why I figured it was time to update this post.

The first three tips below come from LinkedIn veteran Tim Giehll. The last four are mine.

1) Create a strong company and career page on LinkedIn.
Make sure your company profile is up to date, informative and compelling. Make your job postings rich with keywords. This will help job seekers find you more easily.

2) Search for candidates via keywords and employers.
Smart LinkedIn candidates will have keyword-rich profiles and detailed employment histories—so that they will be found by recruiters like you.

3) Consider one of LinkedIn’s paid services.
These include: LinkedIn ads. The LinkedIn Referral Engine. LinkedIn Recruitment Insights. And LinkedIn Recruiter, a powerful search engine specifically designed to help recruiters locate and communicate with candidates.

4) Join as many LinkedIn groups as you can.
Then plan a strategy for posting relevant content to those groups. I underlined relevant, because the same message may not be appropriate to every group. Some groups (like Logistics Manager Jobs) are pretty close to online job boards—where lots of members post job openings. Others (like Driver Retention Network) are forums for sharing ideas and content, not sales pitches. Groups like that might not yield direct results in hiring, but can certainly contribute to your overall strength as a recruiter.

5) Publish your own content.
If your company hasn’t at least started talking about Content Marketing, using (for starters) a company blog, it’s time. Expect a post on that topic soon.

6) Build your network of contacts.
There are any number of theories about who should be in your LinkedIn connections. I tend to avoid connecting with direct competitors—whereas my good friend Scott Simon (who had 29,999 connections on the day I re-published this post) credits much of his considerable success in recent years to his policy of connecting with anyone and everyone.

7) Send personal messages with your invitations.
Personally, I think FAR less of LinkedIn invitations from total strangers who don’t even bother to explain why they chose to send an invitation. At times, it strikes me as borderline Spam. So take the time to write something—and use invitees’ names in your message. You’ll get a much higher rate of acceptance.

All that said, don’t expect instant results. Like all Social Media, LinkedIn isn’t a panacea solution for recruiting. It’s just one part of the puzzle—but clearly, it’s becoming a bigger part every day.

CEO of Global Recruiting Software manufacturer Bond Talent, Tim Giehll has 25 years of financial, operational, and technology management experience in large companies such as Manpower.

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How TMC Successfully Recruits and Retains Student Drivers

Four Steps For Building Your Own Program

TMC Transportation has been recruiting student drivers since 1993. Which makes the Des Moines-based carrier fairly unique among flatbed companies—who tend to demand more experienced drivers. “What we want,” says TMC’s VP/Recruiting Duane Boswell, “is drivers who do the job right. And in our experience, it’s usually better to hire less experienced drivers and train them to do things the way we want them done, than it is to try and get people to change old habits.”

 So how does TMC maintain a fleet with hundreds of drivers, 70% of whom are coming from driving schools?

1. They Center Their Culture Around Student Recruiting.

Lately, a lot of companies have added students to their overall recruiting mix. TMC is committed to hiring students—and has been for over 20 years. “Our entire company culture is built around recruiting quality student drivers, and developing them into quality experienced drivers. We have high standards for the students we hire. We offer new drivers better pay opportunities by rewarding performance over seniority. And we give student graduates real opportunities to develop rewarding careers with us”

That strategy has clearly paid-off, where TMC’s reputation at CDL schools is concerned. “For starters, they know we’re going to treat their graduates right. In practical terms, that means the people they send us will stay longer and be in a better position to pay-off their student loans.”

2. They Reward Performance. Not Just Seniority.

The most ambitious CDL graduates genuinely thrive with TMC, because they get the opportunity to make great money even during their first year. “We’ve had some real go-getters who’ve earned as much as $60,000 in their first year with us, by focusing on the performance incentives we offer.”

3. They Make “Home Weekends” More Than A Promise.

It’s no secret home time is one of the toughest issues in recruiting drivers. Which is why TMC has also made that a cornerstone of its culture. “Sure, there will always be the unforeseen circumstance that keeps a driver from getting home. But drivers who live in our core hiring area are home at least 46 out of 52 weekends a year.”

4. They Pay Attention To The Little Things.

Quality Pay and Home Weekends is still no guarantee you’re going to keep that recent graduate. After all, Boswell notes, “There are plenty of companies out there poaching those new drivers once they have a few months of experience under their belt.”

 Which is one reason why, for instance, I’ve personally heard first-hand reports of CDL-grad turnover rates as high as 180% at some companies. “Our turnover is about 1/3 of that. And a big reason is because we train our staff to do the little things that keep drivers happy. Things as simple as showing real interest in them as people, and genuine appreciation for the job they do.”

Bottom line: There’s no magic formula for successfully hiring and retaining quality drivers. Like anything good in this world, it takes hard work and dedication.

For Further Reading:

How Con-way Recruits Young Truck Drivers With Apprenticeships

Truck Driver Recruiting: Look To The Military For Superior Candidates

4 Ways Oakley Maximizes Driver Recruiting AND Retention

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4 Ways Oakley Maximizes Driver Recruiting AND Retention

Tips for improving communications effectiveness.

Little Rock-based Oakley Trucking maintains a turnover rate less than 1/3 the current industry average for fleets the American Trucking Associations categorize as “large” (above $30 million in revenue). How? Pretty simple, actually. “You’ve got to take care of the ones you have before you go get more,” says Oakley recruiting director Jeremy Kellett.

“After all, our drivers have always been our best recruiters—and a happy crew means more referrals.” On the other hand, “If you don’t take care of them, they can hurt you, and your reputation. Not only among other drivers, but with your customers.”

1) Be Honest.
“Dry bulk hauling is harder work than a lot of trucking jobs,” Kellett continues. “It can be dirty and hot. Our Owner Operators have to learn fairly technical loading and unloading techniques. And they have to invest in specialized equipment for their trucks when they lease-on with us.

“So if anything, we make the job sound even harder than it is during our recruiting conversations. That way there are no unpleasant surprises. Once we get drivers in here, we take very good care of them.”

2) Be Consistent.
Kellett will tell you that the toughest part of effective communications is ensuring that every department is on the same page. With every load. For example: “We give drivers specific training guidelines regarding optimal pressure for unloading. But we have customers whose silos can’t handle that kind of pressure. If a dispatcher neglects to clearly communicate one of those customer’s specific requirements, the driver and the company ends-up looking bad.

“It doesn’t take many bad experiences like that to get a driver thinking he’d be better off working somewhere else. That’s why we’re constantly reminding each other to give drivers all the information they need.

“It’s also why we encourage drivers, from their first day of orientation, to call their recruiter if they’re having communication problems with their dispatchers.” In fact, Kellett notes, “our recruiters probably spend as much time talking with existing drivers as we do with prospects.”

3) Listen. Really Listen.
Ask any driver what they like about Oakley, and they’ll inevitably mention the Open Door policy. “If I need to do, I can talk to anybody in this company,” says Andy Keesling “And that includes Dennis Oakley (CEO).” Antoinette Calder, one of two women in the company’s Sand division, agrees. “Oakley believes in their drivers. They’ll listen to you. And they always tell you the truth.”

4) Set The Bar High.
“The big thing we focus on,” Kellett says, “is helping our Owner Operators do well in their business. Sometimes that means praise and encouragement. But sometimes that means pushing a little harder. If a guy calls in to say he’s going home after a light week, his dispatcher is going to make it clear that he’ll be looking at a small paycheck next week.

“Drivers don’t always like to hear that, but we know they really won’t like hearing what their wives have to say when they’re sitting down to pay bills. And there’s no quicker way to lose a driver than to make his wife mad.”


Crete’s Healthy Approach To Truck Driver Recruiting & Retention

1Crete Carrier Corporation’s Sleep Apnea and Wellness program is paying solid dividends in word of mouth among drivers.

Tim Aschoff, Vice President of Risk Management for The Lincoln, Nebraska-based carrier, estimates his company will invest roughly $1.5 million in the program during its first two years. “We’ve always said that our drivers are Crete’s most valuable asset,” says Aschoff, “and we’ve always stood behind those words, by investing in them. Not just with better pay, but with better benefits as well. We see this program as an excellent extension of those benefits.”

Improving ROI While Reducing Turnover.
“From a business perspective, we believe the program will ultimately deliver a return on our investment. We’ve received consistenty solid feedback from drivers who’ve gone through the program. And keeping drivers happy reduces turnover. At the same time, by positively impacting driver health, we’re reducing our healthcare costs. And theirs.”

Generating Positive Publicity. And Early Success.
Driver Health Magazine labeled Crete’s initiative “one of the most effective health and wellness programs in the trucking industry.” One reason for its success: An effective communications campaign. “Before the program’s rollout,” Aschoff says, “we worked long and hard developing informative messages for our drivers—explaining exactly what the program was, and how it could help them.”

Now, any driver interested in the program can visit (free of charge) any number of locations for sleep disorder testing. In addition to its permanent Sleep Labs in Dallas or Salt Lake City, Crete’s strategic partner, Sleep Pointe, operates a number of mobile trailers at company terminals. If a sleep disorder is indeed diagnosed, Sleep Pointe will work with the driver to develop a specifically tailored program of treatment.

Growing Word Of Mouth.
While the program was initially met with some skepticism, it’s caught on. In its first eight months alone, the program (launched in 2010) treated 465 drivers. An impressive number, to be sure, but even more rewarding are the individual success stories Aschoff is hearing.

“I had one driver call me personally to tell me he’d lost 40 pounds, that he felt better than he had in years, and that he never would have done it in the first place if it hadn’t been for our program.” No wonder Aschoff himself is sleeping better these days.

Get your company profiled in an article! Just send me an email outlining any recruiting and/or retention issues you deal with. CLICK HERE for contact info.

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Recruiting & Retaining Women Truck Drivers Starts with Honesty.

Desiree Wood

Understanding how to effectively recruit and retain women truck drivers could literally put an end to your company’s driver shortage.

Any company focusing the tone and approach of its recruiting efforts squarely on male truckers is losing-out on an opportunity that’s never been more valuable than it is today. For starters, the majority of all truck driving teams are already husband / wife—or some variation of a male / female partnership.

Secondly, as any honest husband can tell you, the wife is usually the one who handles the business end of a truck driving team. And any college football recruiter worth his salt can tell you: The best way to sign nearly any player is by starting with Mama. Cuz if Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.

Clearly, a lot of people are already waking-up to that reality. California-based Desiree Wood, publisher of the REAL Women in Trucking blog, has (as of June, 2011) nearly 2400 Facebook fans and over 7800 Twitter followers.

In a recent post, Desiree addressed the first important lesson in recruiting women: Full disclosure.

Recruiting in a post-CSA2010 world
The federal government’s new safety program, has already eliminated countless low-scoring drivers from the employment pool. That means employment recruiters need to do their homework and find out what makes a female job candidate choose one carrier over another.

Huge growth potential
Women drivers currently comprise only 5% to 6% of the driving population. Unfortunately, few woman drivers are able to withstand the manner in which their training is conducted. And those who do realize quickly that recruiters often ignore the significant drawbacks for women.

Attention recruiters: GET REAL.
It’s one thing to recruit women drivers. But if you want to retain them, you have to be honest: Explain the hardships inherent in navigating 80,000 pounds of metal through congested traffic, the danger of sleeping in the cab at unpoliced truck stops, and the sheer inconvenience of not being able to shower every day. Downplaying those things increases driver turnover when the truth hits home.

That is not to say that Pretty Girls cannot drive a big rig. But trucking is still very much like the Wild West—which is why the unsupervised nature of the work presents personal safety issues that must not be glossed over.

So if you want to attract, and keep, women drivers, tell the truth. The whole truth. And nothing but the truth. Women drivers will respond to that. More importantly, they’ll respect you. And earning respect is the first step toward retaining those drivers.

For Further Reading:
Recruiting & Retaining Women Truckers Means Understanding Their Needs
Improve Truck Driver Recruiting By Listening To Your Drivers
Truck Driver Recruiting: Speaking To The Wives


Five Tips For Using Pay-Per-Click to Recruit Truck Drivers

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? If you’re not getting results from PPC, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s as simple as that: Properly implemented, PPC can be one of the most cost-effective weapons in your recruiting arsenal. Here are five tips for making a PPC investment pay:

1) Budget Wisely
In one sense, PPC is a lot like traditional media advertising: The best campaigns have a good balance between reach and frequency.

In radio & TV terms, that means hitting the right people enough times in a relatively short period to get your message seen or heard and remembered. In PPC terms, that means planning your campaign so that you don’t blow your entire budget in an hour or two every day.

2) Choose Your Keywords Carefully
PPC’s greatest strength is its ability to zero-in on the very prospects you’re seeking—and the more accurately you target prospects with your keywords, the likelier you are to get qualified responses.

Just as important, notes Carlton Smith of Flagstone Search Marketing, is effectively representing those keywords in your ad copy. “Represent your keywords poorly, and Google charges you a higher rate. It’s part of the Google Adwords algorithm known as your Quality Score.”

3) Geo-Target Accurately
Another PPC advantage over traditional recruiting media (like most printed magazines) is that you can specifically target the regions you’re recruiting. But again, notes Smith, “if you’re trying to recruit drivers in a specific area, it’s not enough simply to target searches in that area. You also need to represent the area well in your keywords.”

4) Use Landing Pages Judiciously
Hare Communications Account Executive Martha Hare puts it this way: “If you aren’t using landing pages, and mobile-optimizing those pages, don’t expect optimal results.” Smith adds, “You’ll also do a lot better if you have multiple landing pages representing multiple campaigns.”

In short, when it comes to Landing Pages, one size does not fit all.

5) Hire A Professional
Why? For starters, managing an effective PPC campaign is highly time-intensive; particularly if you aren’t highly experienced. And there are far better ways for recruiters to spend their time (like actually recruiting, for instance).

For the best PPC results, look for someone who’s Google Certified. Then ask them to talk about how they manage their campaigns. If they don’t make a point of emphasizing how important sheer diligence and consistency are, you probably don’t want them.

“Part of being diligent,” says Smith, “is constantly refining your Keywords: Weeding out terms that match you to irrelevant queries. At the same time, PPC Best Practices are constantly changing. I honestly learn something new almost every day.”

As should we all!

In Truck Driver Recruiting, Print Advertising Is Alive And Well.
Towne Air Takes Driver Recruiting Into The Here And Now
Better Branding Maximizes Truck Driver Recruiting

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Recruiting and Retaining Women Truckers Means Understanding Their Needs

Women can be a large part of the solution to the driver shortage if carriers are willing to adapt their recruiting and training programs.

Few people have written more extensively, or authoritatively, on the topic of women truckers than California-based Desiree Wood, publisher of the REAL Women in Trucking blog. In an extensive post, Desiree addresses several important lessons companies need to learn about women drivers.

Give Women Drivers The Opportunity To Connect With Other Women.
Potential and new-to-the-profession women truck drivers need to be able to seek advice from other women in their company, and that support also should be available on an industry level. Encourage your state trucking associations to provide professional support and information systems for female drivers.

Understand The Single Woman Driver.
More often than not these days, it’s the single woman, not her married counterpart, embarking on a truck-driving career. And, often as not, a single woman driver not only manages her truck from the driver’s seat, but her household as well—particularly if she’s also a single mother.

Become Part Of Her Support System.
Unlike a married man driving solo, a single woman trucker generally lacks a home support system that’s a phone call away. An employer who wants to retain her services as a driver must understand that she needs to be more flexible when taking home time.

Tailor Training Methods To The Woman Driver.
While women do need the same driving and compliance training provided their male counterparts, they also need gender-specific training on the personal challenges and dangers inherent in life on the road.

For example, being women means we are far more susceptible than men to personal attacks. Carrier trainers need to discuss and address these dangers head on.

Protect Your Woman Drivers.
Unfortunately, the risk of attack for women is not confined to outside sources. A company must have a strict policy against sexual harassment that extends to any and all encounters with women drivers who are co-workers.

Treat Women Right, And They’ll Return The Favor.
Too many female drivers are lost from the industry in the first year because of misleading recruiting, shallow training and carrier failure to address personal safety issues. That’s unfortunate because women truck drivers are usually meticulous, safe and take great pride in their work—and because truck driving can be a rewarding profession regardless of gender.

Click here to read the entire article, “Recruiting & Retaining Women as Truck Drivers”.

Get your company profiled in an article! Just send me an email outlining any recruiting and/or retention issues you deal with. CLICK HERE for contact info.