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Driver Recruiting Techniques: Keeping Up with the Times

It’s truly remarkable how drastically the world of driver recruiting has changed – just in the last few years. Long gone are the relatively straightforward pre-internet days, when recruiters relied on print ads, truck stop brochures, radio spots, billboards… and to a lesser extent Burt Reynolds and all his Smokey and the Bandit, bootleg Coors hauling cachet.

The trucking industry itself has undergone plenty of change in recent years:

  • Hours of Service regulations
  • CSA
  • Fleets opening more terminals
  • More regional and dedicated job offerings
  • Increased competition

Of course the world’s changed too.

For a bit of perspective, today we have 210 million licensed drivers in America, which is close to what the country’s entire population was the year Smokey was released (1977). Out of that number there are about 3.5 million truck drivers. And as you well know, with fewer people entering the profession, the competition to hire qualified drivers is intense.

The pressure is on recruiters to find new techniques and technologies that will give them an edge over the competition.
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Technology Driving Change

While traditional mediums like newspapers, magazines, job fairs, and phone calls are by no means extinct, driver recruiting is now driven by technology. As opposed to various ‘spray and pray’ methods of reaching prospects, technology is giving us the ability to target our communications, segment our audiences, identify promising leads, and use data to make smarter decisions.
Finding drivers is no longer a low-tech game.  
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Today’s Truck Driver

In our 2015 survey of 314 drivers, we found that:

  •   58.7% of drivers were over the age of 50
  •   Use of smartphones as a primary means to access internet has quadrupled since our 2012 study (10% to 47%), and usage of desktops/laptops as a primary means has halved
  •   64% of drivers check email daily or several times per day; 19% check constantly
  •   Only 18% don’t use social media, down from 37.5% in the 2012 study
  •   More than 46% said they most often accessed the internet from their mobile device
  •   64.4% reported most often looking for work through internet searches

In other words, if you’re looking for truckers, they are on the internet, and most likely using a mobile device. (Hopefully not while driving.)
Drivers are connected, they’re out there, but what are the best ways to locate and recruit them? The sky (or cloud, I suppose) is the limit.
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New Channels, New Opportunities

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, search engine marketing, display advertising, job boards, email campaigns, internet radio, text alerts… There’s a dizzying array of channels to choose from these days, but the trick is to find the ones that will deliver meaningful results for you.
Definitions of ‘results’ may differ, depending on your goals/success metrics, but these new channels can give you the ability to:

  •  Geo-target – Reach people with relevant, location-specific content
  •  Segment – Filter candidates by years of experience, location, preferred type of haul, etc.
  • Create scale with targeted audiences – Reach the drivers you want, when you want, and as often as you want.

In addition to helping you locate good prospects, these new channels can deliver outcomes like impressions, clicks, phone calls, and applications. Not to mention collect and track data. All of which can lead to more hires, better strategy, smarter budgeting and increased efficiency.
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Where Is Driver Recruiting Heading?

It seems likely that in the coming years there will be more data to track, more real-time targeting available, and more channels to explore. Onward and upward.
Regardless of what the future holds, trucks still carry about 70% of all the freight moved in the U.S. ‘Truck driver’ is still the most common job in 26 out of 50 states.
The need for drivers is greater than ever. Which means the demand for recruiting directors is too.
However, it’s the recruiters who master new technologies and data tracking platforms who will come out on top in this ultra-competitive landscape.