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Ads that work

There's no question that Canadian fleets rely on recruitment ads to attract new workers. Industry magazines and newsletters are stuffed with calls for drivers and owner-operators alike....

There’s no question that Canadian fleets rely on recruitment ads to attract new workers. Industry magazines and newsletters are stuffed with calls for drivers and owner-operators alike.

But the competition for qualified workers is about to get stiffer. Based on economic forecasts, Canada will need 344,000 commercial drivers by 2008, up from 256,000 in 2002, according to the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC).

That means the quality of your advertising message is more important than ever. Follow these 11 tips to ensure that your ad will attract the people you need.

1. Create your wish list – Before you discuss the look of an ad, take the time to determine job requirements, compensation levels, and the experience you require from a new employee or contractor. This information will be the foundation of your job posting, and will also help you develop a checklist for grading candidates.

2. Identify the best medium for your message – When selecting a publication, newsletter or Web site to distribute your ad, be sure it’s reaching the people you want to attract. Business publications can offer demographic information about their readers through statements audited by sources such as the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) or the Canadian Circulations Audit Board (CCAB), or “sworn statements” that list un-audited circulation details. Meanwhile, a Web site’s traffic is reflected in the number of “unique users” and individual “page views” within a specific area of the site.

3. Make an offer they can’t refuse – The written copy in a recruiting ad should tell candidates why they would want a job in the first place. You may be proud of a new ISO designation, but focus on the things that will be seen as personal benefits. For example, list the types of bonuses you pay, the nature of lucrative runs, and whether a driver can expect to be home on weekends.

4. Don’t display long headlines in capital letters – A phrase like “WE’RE LOOKING FOR DRIVERS WHO WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH THEIR FAMILIES” is simply difficult to read when it’s only listed in capital letters. Keep an ad’s text in upper and lower case.

5. Match the images and the message – If you want to stress that employees are home on a regular basis, include a picture of a happy family, and if you’re highlighting the fact that your employees drive late-model equipment, be sure to include a picture of one of the trucks. Stock photography libraries can offer an affordable source of generic images to enhance the look of an ad, but be sure to look for a “royalty free” option that won’t require an additional fee every time an ad is reproduced.

6. Help them find you – Ensure that every advertisement includes a direct way to contact a recruiter, by telephone, email and fax. If listing a general phone number – such as a toll-free line – ensure that you include a contact name.

7. Target both types of job seekers – Some potential employees are actively looking for a job, and will be attracted by the promise of an “immediate opening”. Passive job seekers who are relatively happy in their existing jobs may be attracted by a description of the type of work or corridors in which you operate.

8. Track the results – If you are hiring people on a regular basis, advertising will become a regular component of your recruiting program. This means it’s important to track the number or people who respond to different channels of distribution. The simplest way to do this is to ask interested candidates to mention how they heard about the opening.

9. Acknowledge applicants – If someone has taken the time to apply for the job, be sure to acknowledge that you received their application. Someone who isn’t qualified for an existing posting may still become a future employee.

10. Leverage your existing workers – Ask your employees how they heard about the jobs for which they were hired, and to list any publications or information sources that they would suggest. For that matter, ask them if they know about any potential candidates. It might be worthwhile to introduce an incentive program that encourages them to be informal recruiters.

11. Check the ad’s spec’s – You may be able to design an ad that looks fine on your computer screen, but a professional graphic artist may be required to make an ad work in print. Magazines require pictures that have a much higher resolution than those that are displayed on a Web page. And the size of a banner ad file will determine how quickly it can be fed through an Internet connection.

The Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC) is an incorporated non-profit organization with a volunteer Board of Directors that is representative of stakeholders from the Canadian trucking industry. With the conviction that the best human resources skills and practices are essential to the attainment of excellence by the Canadian trucking industry, the mission of the Council is “to assist the Canadian trucking industry to recruit, train and retain the human resources needed to meet current and long-term requirements”. For more information, go to

Truck News

Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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