Have you gotten a verbal commitment from a driver, but suddenly they stopped responding to follow ups? Have you scheduled drivers for orientation, only for them to be no-shows? If so, then your recruiters have unfortunately just been ghosted.
While ghosting has been around for a while, the practice has increased in recent years, and not just in the trucking industry. A survey conducted by Indeed between March 2020 and February 2021 showed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 77% of employers surveyed acknowledged that they had been ghosted by candidates.
Why do drivers ghost recruiters? Are there signs that drivers are about to ghost you? What can recruiters do to mitigate this problem? Today we will tackle these questions and help you get more drivers into trucks.
Let’s begin with the million dollar question: why are you being ghosted by drivers that indicated they wanted to drive for you? Drivers themselves have provided some personal reasons they have ghosted fleets before.
• They decided that it was not the right fit for them.
• The driver was approached with a better offer.
• They saw unfavorable reviews of the fleet after the fact.
• The driver thought that the recruiter was not being transparent.
• They felt that they had been misled.
However, whatever reason they may provide, the ultimate reason that the driver ghosted your recruiter was because they were not sold on the job offer. According to Randall Reilly’s own Seth Becker, when a driver submits a full application to your fleet, statistics show that they have submitted 3.5 more applications to other companies.
What does this mean in regards to ghosting? This illustrates that due to the demand for drivers, they have several options to consider for employment. When this happens, drivers have the luxury of choosing the company that “feels” the best for them.
A driver ghosts you, not necessarily because the pay or the benefits may not be perfect, but because they feel like another fleet better suits them. Fortunately, there are signs that your recruiters can learn to recognize and steps they can take to get drivers to feel good about your fleet.
How can you tell during a live call if you could be ghosted by your lead? Well, there are a couple of tell-tell signs that if you hear, you could potentially be ghosted.
The first and most obvious one is if there are consistent long pauses or silence from the driver, or if the driver does not ask many questions to learn more. This is a clear sign of disinterest that ultimately could lead to you getting ghosted. Recruiters must do what they can to keep the driver engaged in the conversation and interested in your company. Silence is an indicator that this is not yet the case.
Another sign of an imminent ghosting is a shift in tonality. Let’s assume that at first the call is going well. The driver may be engaged, and the sound of their voice is excited or curious. But, after talking about a certain subject, like equipment or home time, the tone of the driver’s voice shifts and sounds more disappointed or disengaged. If a recruiter hears this, they can expect to be ghosted unless they can turn the call around.
As stated before, the ultimate reason that recruiters lose drivers is because they have not been sold on your fleet. A clear sign that ghosting is possible, and that your recruiter has some selling to do, is if the driver openly admits to shopping around for the right fleet for them. If a driver lets a recruiter know that your fleet is not the only one that they are looking at, there is a clear possibility that this driver may ghost, even if the call goes well.
Now that we’ve gone over how to recognize an impending ghost sighting, what are some of the steps that you or your recruiters can take to avoid this problem as much as possible?
Probably the most important thing that a recruiter should NOT do is just jump right into an elevator pitch. Drivers want to feel like they are an individual, an actual person. When recruiters jump right into their script and begin checking boxes, the driver does not feel valued and will be more inclined to ghost them.
If they don’t have anything to say or they can’t readily answer the question, they are not yet sold on the job. However, if they DO start listing the things that they talked about with you, they are effectively reminding themselves about the things they like about your company and begin to sell themselves on why they need to come work with you.
Another good practice to avoid ghosting is to find out what the driver is really worried about or interested in and focus the call towards that area. You must be able to tailor your approach to the individual driver and react to their interests. Doing so makes them feel like an individual and helps you build trust with the driver.
Keeping the driver excited about the position and your company plays an integral part in warding off ghosts. Whenever possible, take the opportunity to reiterate the value your company has to offer the driver. There are always other relevant benefits to talk about besides pay and home time. Bring up your company’s 401K plan, covered benefits, company swag, or improved equipment. The more value the driver sees in your fleet, the more likely they are to follow through.
If you’re having a hard time creating that connection with the driver over the phone, jump on a video call with them or follow up with a video text. You can even introduce them to people that they may be working with around the office like the dispatcher or fleet manager. Putting a face to the voice that drivers have been speaking to is a great way to help build rapport quickly, and it is much harder to ghost someone once you’ve met them face-to-face, even virtually.
Finally, distill the recruitment process to avoid lead burnout. One reason drivers ghost is simply because the recruitment process is too long or vague. It’s important to respond or get back to leads in a timely manner and to be transparent about the process. Be upfront about any onboarding testing such as hair follicle drug testing or a medcard exam. Let them know what the next step is, how far along they’ve come, and always follow-up quickly.
Unfortunately, ghosting is something that businesses and recruiters have to face from time to time. However, hopefully this article will provide you with the tools that you need to combat this trend. For more resources on how to improve your fleet’s recruiting, visit randallreilly.com.