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A recent report from Stay Metrics, a driver engagement platform, stated that of the 100 professional drivers hired today, 33 of them will quit within three months and another 22 percent will be gone within six months. These numbers should tell us something. 

It’s not only difficult to attract and retain drivers, it’s expensive.  The American Trucking Associations reported a slight increase in recent turnover rates at large fleets, despite remaining at what they called, “historically low levels.” The turnover rate, or the percentage of drivers who leave a fleet on a calendar basis is at 74 percent. 

What if 74 percent of your recruiters left every year? What if 74 percent of your human resource department left every year? Why do we accept this level of “resignations” from our drivers?

When I want insight from professional drivers, I turn to the nearly 11,000 members on our Facebook page.  Recently I asked them to offer a piece of advice for recruiters. The response was overwhelming, and most of the comments were about honesty.

In fact, nearly every posting was about being misled by a recruiter. “They set the stage for [the] driver’s experience,” wrote Kim, “If it starts out with lies, the driver will always have a bit of resentment the whole time they’re [with the carrier].”

Many of the comments were about understanding what a driver is looking for at a carrier.  “Please do not try to just let me fill a seat,” said Pam, “instead, find out if the company and myself would be a good fit.” The drivers felt the recruiters weren’t looking out for the driver’s best interest, but spent more time selling the company than listening.

“Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear,” wrote Cheyenne. Many of the remarks were advice to be honest about the negatives as well as the positives about a company, because the driver will find out about the policy later and could leave as a result of the misinformation. Omitting information is as bad as lying about something.

Deb wrote, “Don’t waste everyone’s time and money by not stating the job properly and [not revealing] all the company’s policies from accepting loads to home time.

Another theme from the drivers was about the relationship after the driver is hired. “Don’t let the kindness stop at recruiting,” said Dan.  Recruiters should continue to stay in touch to ensure the driver is not becoming unhappy with the carrier.  One driver said his recruiter called him before orientation, the night after his first class and several times during his hiring and training experience and said he appreciated the contact.

In a follow up to the request for advice for recruiters, I posted a poll to ask for the top misconception they were told by their last recruiter.  The number one response was “not enough miles.” Forty percent of the respondents said they were misled about the number of miles they were running once they were hired. 

A close second misunderstanding reported by the drivers was that their home time was not as promised.   Stay Metrics found that men are more likely to leave a company because they want more home time. Women reportedly leave due to equipment issues.  This research involved 12,502 driver’s responses at 78 carriers.  Perhaps women ask more probing questions to better understand the time away from home expectations.

Although a pet policy wasn’t high on the list of recruiter’s misconceptions it was mentioned a number of times by drivers.  From the number of pets to the size and even the breed type, recruiters gave the wrong information to drivers with pets.  “Called a company and they said all the pets would be no problem,” wrote Kari, “[then I] show up for orientation and the policy is one pet,” she added.  Since drivers have pets both for security reasons and for companionship, a pet policy is an important one to understand up front.

Stop lying, be honest, offer the truth and similar remarks were the top advice suggestions from the group.  The recruiting industry has an image problem and it is proven by the high turnover numbers at the carriers.

The solution seems simple enough as stated by Angela….”honesty please.”

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About Ellen Voie

Ellen Voie founded the Women In Trucking Association in March of 2007, and currently serves as the nonprofit organization's President/CEO. Women In Trucking was formed to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry, remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding, and to celebrate the successes of its members.

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