THE KEY TO HIRING NEW TRUCK DRIVERS
Hiring new employees is always a challenge, especially when they’re going to be operating heavy, highly skilled equipment like a truck.
But recruitment doesn’t have to be a painful process. In fact, if you know what to look out for, it can be a very rewarding journey. So with this in mind, we put together some tips to finding the perfect truckie.
What a way to make a living
Firstly, we have to ascertain what to look for in the ideal truck driver.
Today’s truckies are swiss army knives: truck mechanics, customer service experts and consummate professionals behind the wheel.
One of the important things to look out for is an impeccable driving record. A clean record indicates patience, skill and reliability.
Passion is also important, so ask them to take you through a daily maintenance routine. Even if they don’t have job experience, a truck enthusiast will have a basic understanding of what to look for.
They also need to show they can handle responsibility, because if a dispatcher gives them the wrong address, you want someone who’ll take measures to correct issues should they arise.
While these may seem like common sense, some other desired traits are less obvious. So much so that the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) is currently developing a Younger Driver Assessment Tool, to help employers identify key truck driver characteristics.
Their current research can be accessed by signing up here, but for those of you who don’t have the time, we’ve summarised it below. Although it’s a U.S study, many of their observations are equally relevant to Australia.
The ongoing ATRI research has found that highly organised, responsible and cooperative individuals have a substantially lower risk of crash involvement.
Compassion can be hard to tell in a job interview – although keep an ear out for it in references – but a history of showing responsibility at previous jobs or volunteer positions, acting as a carer for a loved one or providing for a family, are other potential signs of a responsible employee.
Job interviews are stressful experiences, but truck drivers need to be calm under pressure. Try to relax your prospective employee with some non-job-related chat before the interview. This way, you’ll get a better idea if they’re naturally a calm, engaging person.
When they’ve been stuck in traffic for two hours and a customer complains that their delivery is five minutes late, you need somebody who can take it on the chin.
If you expect your drivers to load and unload, physical fitness is another point for consideration.
That big, burly bloke might look like he could deadlift your nan, but after seven hours on the road and a couple of furniture deliveries, you need to ensure that your driver’s endurance is high enough to get your rig home in one piece.
The young guns
Australia may depend heavily on trucks, but truckies stress about finding a job like everybody else. For many new to the job it’s even harder because, due to insurance costs, few small fleet owners are willing and able to employ them.
But there’s evidence that with the right training (i.e. an organisation that gets trainees out of the classroom and behind the wheel) young drivers can be a great addition to any fleet.
With modern automatic and Automated Manual Transmissions (AMT) taking the stress out of the equation, hiring young drivers could be a positive move for your company.
Hopefully these techniques can help you get a better idea of whether that excited, nervous young driver in front of you is actually your next dream employee.