How to build an effective in-house driver recruiter strategy

Every company has a visible set of values, whether they know it or not. Whether they have formalized those values in a company statement or not, they exist and are visible in a multiple of ways both positive and negative.

This is the essence of culture, and you cannot impose values on people; values develop over time and depend on one’s environment and life experience. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we typically align ourselves with people, friends, spouses, and work environments that align with those values. When we don’t align ourselves with like values, we struggle, and typically we end up in divorce, leaving our jobs, leaving a misaligned community, etc.

If you employ people or contract services, whether you realize it or not, your most successful relationships likely mirror your values. We like it when our values align – it fits our comfort zone, we typically know what to expect, and over time these relationships strengthen, we build a team we can depend on and get comfortable with and these relationships endure the test of time.

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I have tried to help many companies get their heads around why their efforts to have their current driving force assist in the recruiting of new drivers to their company and show them why their efforts haven’t been successful in attaining the milestone set for this effort. Here is what most of them don’t realize: it is their culture that is restricting their results, among other things, but primarily it comes back to culture.

If your culture is weak, I guarantee you have poor communication channels and likely no communications strategy within your business. A good communication strategy would encompass your drivers, all contractors, employees, customers, suppliers, enforcement, and the communities you serve.

Sound like a monumental job? It isn’t. It is quite easy, really, it just takes focus and structure. If any of you have worked within a culture where communication is poor, you know that it is the worst situation you can imagine. In its worst form, it is a ‘check your brain at the door’ scenario and do no more or less than what you were hired for. It’s tedious and unrewarding.

Drivers who are asked to assist in recruiting new drivers to this type of company will resist for several reasons. Here are a few:

First, and I think foremost, they don’t have any confidence that you know how to run your business. They think you are going to over-hire and threaten their livelihood. I drove for 10 years I heard it over and over again. Believe me, this is true, and if you have poor communication why wouldn’t they think that way?

They’re in the dark about what you might need and you haven’t told them anything that is going to motivate them to help you, so why would they?

Indeed, not because you offered some never-never plan as a monetary incentive. The ones that pay a cent a mile for a year or quarterly installments designed to appear as though there is a windfall coming sometime in the future.

I think some of these programs are designed to motivate drivers to recruit for the company and to incentivize the driver to stay a little longer at a carrier to realize the future gain. How’s that going? My guess is, it does neither very effectively.

If your culture is strong, getting drivers to assist in the recruiting effort looks entirely different. First, you will have developed an inclusive value statement; you’ve done this by asking everyone in your business to contribute to its content. You have asked them to bless the outcome, you’ve asked them, does it cover their and your core values, can they work within the confines of it?

Secondly, your people know what is going on within the company because it has a strong communication strategy. This strategy informs them, keeps them abreast of what’s happening, it asks their opinion, it tries to involve the community, customers, suppliers, and even reaches into the individual employees’ families.

You have given them information, and they believe you when you say that your customers are busy and demand additional capacity to service their needs. You need the additional drivers to keep the accounts you have. There is no threat to your drivers’ livelihoods, and it is the preservation of the account and miles you’re trying to achieve.

Finally, there is no never-never plan as an incentive to help your company hire new drivers. You pay cash, in full, the next pay period after the new recruit turns in the first-mile – period. Your drivers have followed your direction as to what type of individual you’re looking to hire.

They have shown the potential candidate the value statement that the company is governed by and have stressed whatever information you feel necessary that the potential new hire must understand and agree to to be successful at your company. You screened them, and you tested them, you accepted them. You put them in the truck – if the individual doesn’t work out, how is that the driver recruiter’s problem?

You owe them, pay them. You do it for your in-house recruiters, why not your on-road recruiters. Want to make an impact with on-road recruiters? This is how to get it started.

Regards and safe trucking.



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Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations.

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