Currently, many carriers are actively looking for new drivers due to the ongoing driver shortage and high annual turnover rate among professional drivers. But no matter how eager a company is to hire, no carrier can take on just anyone who applies. There are obvious legal requirements and moreover, most companies have even higher employment standards of their own.
Carriers not only depend on drivers for the quality of their service, but the drivers are the employees the public actually sees; they carry the larger part of the company’s reputation.
In order for carriers to recruit the best talent, fleet managers should give special attention to drivers who have properly completed the following certificates and training:
- Licenses- In many states, driving a small commercial vehicle, such as a van, does not require a commercial license (CDL) unless the load is hazardous. There are exceptions. All commercial drivers must have a driver’s license in their home state.
- Health- Commercial drivers must be 21 years of age or older and must pass a physical exam every two years. The exam checks for good vision and hearing, among other factors. It is ok to wear glasses, but colorblindness is a disqualification.
- Legal record- Prospective drivers may not have a criminal record involving drugs or motor vehicles. DUI convictions are also an automatic disqualification.
- Good communication- In the US, professional drivers have to be able to read and speak English at a level to read road signs and talk with police officers. They also must understand the Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
- Experience- Many carriers look for employees who have at least three to five years of experience driving a truck. But of course, a recent recruit to the industry needs to start somewhere and a good compromise is for a carrier to offer its own training program to help get new drivers up to speed.
- Schooling- One way a new driver can develop his or her resume is by attending a school for commercial driving. Not all such schools are reputable, however. When interviewing a graduate of a truck driving school, it is important to ask about that school’s curriculum, especially how many hours of actual driving its students complete.
Schooling is especially important, since a good school can make a huge difference in an applicant’s skill set, while a bad one is, at best, irrelevant. Make sure the school was properly accredited, that the program was at least three weeks long, and that the training is actually relevant to the type of driving the employee will do.
These are just a few things to consider when pooling through driver applications to choose the right talent for your fleet.