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3 Vital Steps to Recruiting Student Drivers

If you are a driver recruiter, you don’t need a break down of the national driver shortage. There are simply more jobs then there are drivers to fill them. One obvious solution to this problem is to get more people to choose to drive for a living. This is an area where fleets and driving schools are investing millions. Many recruiters invest an immense amount of their time into pulling potential drivers into the industry. But recruiting student drivers is unique in many ways.

Here are 3 steps a recruiter needs to take when recruiting student drivers.

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1. Start by selling the industry.

Some of your prospective student drivers will be young people looking for their first career or even their first job, but many of them have had a career that they are dissatisfied with. Just because they are talking to you, doesn’t mean they are sold on becoming a truck driver.
You probably have a set stream of benefits for being a driver that you run through, but don’t forget to listen. Did that prospect’s previous job only provide work 9 months out of the year? Were they packed into a crowded office or loud factory? Did they get tired of constantly working outside? Remember this is a big decision and your prospects, just like the rest of us, want to be happy while they work.

Find out what their last career was missing and show them how the trucking industry can improve their lives.

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2. Emphasize what is different about your fleet/school.

This is the obvious part. But don’t forget that your prospect is almost certainly unfamiliar with the trucking industry. If your fleet has a competitive starting bonus, remember to tell them that yours is higher than average. If you pay more per mile than your competitors, make sure to let them know what most fleets pay per mile. You may need to slow down and define the industry terms you are using.

The key is to educate potential student drivers without overwhelming them.

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3. Balance expectations with reality

This is true for every driver recruiter, but especially those who are dealing with a student driver. Promising the world to someone just to get them behind the wheel isn’t worth it in the long run. Yes, you are under pressure because there are empty trucks sitting at your terminal. That means thousands in lost revenue every day for your fleet. But if you tell a driver that they will make a certain amount, or drive a certain type of truck, or be treated a certain way, make sure you are being totally up front with them.
Phrases like “you could make up to…” or “you might even get…” can be misleading with out technically being dishonest.  If  a driver is disappointed starting when they get their first paycheck or when they get their signing bonus, they won’t stick around for long.

The driver shortage isn’t the only reason turnover is high. Be up front with potential student drivers and think about building a long term relationship with them.

Recruiting student drivers is important. Not just for the health of your fleet, but for the entire trucking industry. These 3 steps will help.