Employment screening provider USIS offers a service that sends an instant e-mail alert to fleets when violations are posted to their drivers’ motor vehicle records.

When driver recruiter Mike Gross attended the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas last August, he brought a laptop with a cellular Internet connection. As Gross trolled through walkways filled with exhibitor booths and waded through a stream of drivers attending the trade show, he used his high-tech tools to set his hook at just the right moment.

When meeting with drivers, Gross asked them to complete a Web-based job application. Within 15 minutes, Gross knew if the drivers were qualified based on their driving records and past work experience. He then scheduled a date to attend orientation at Hirschbach Motor Lines.
“I’ve used it at every truck show since we started,” says Gross, recruiting manager at the 400-truck refrigerated carrier based in Sioux City, Neb. “If you didn’t catch the driver right then, he could get a direct answer from someone else.”

Until recently, Hirschbach Motor Lines lacked the technology to make job offers so quickly. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that drivers sign a release for carriers to verify employment history and obtain past drug and alcohol test results. For many carriers, this and other regulations lead to flurries of paperwork and faxes – and delays in qualifying drivers.

Today, Hirschbach Motor Lines is one of a growing number of carriers that use the Internet and software systems to increase the speed and efficiency of hiring drivers by going paperless. Technology is helping fleet owners hire drivers swiftly without having to compromise on standards – or risk having to rescind a conditional offer of employment at a later date.

Faster hiring
In July 2006, Hirschbach Motor Lines implemented two technologies to improve its driver recruiting process: the RapidHire recruiting management system and the IntelliApp online job application.

By using the Web-based version of RapidHire, Gross estimates he has reduced the time it takes to qualify and hire drivers by 30 percent. Recruiters now are able to extend job offers that much faster than before.

After entering a driver’s basic information collected through the phone or in person, RapidHire pulls in the driver’s motor vehicle record (MVR) and past employment records through a data interface with USIS’ DAC Services, an employment screening service. This interface saves Hirschbach Motor Lines valuable time, as the most critical information needed to evaluate a driver is available within minutes.

“We don’t have to jump on another website and plug in information,” Gross says. “The key thing is getting data entered in adequate time.”

To recruit drivers online, Hirschbach Motor Lines uses Tenstreet’s IntelliApp, which simplifies the application process by guiding drivers through questions tailored to their responses in previous screens. A key feature in IntelliApp to speed the qualification process is electronic signature capture. Upon completing a job application, drivers use their mouse to sign a release form and click “submit.” Using a Web-based repository of fax numbers, IntelliApp then automatically faxes the signed releases to the drivers’ past employers.

“Signed releases are the key to speedy verifications,” Gross says. “Without it, I can’t offer a driver a chance to come into orientation.”

Fleets with multiple locations or terminals stand to benefit the most from using recruiting management systems. Fleets say these systems can help standardize recruiting and hiring processes, enhance visibility and expand the venues for finding drivers.

Groendyke Transport uses the HRLogix system to track closely the status of each driver applicant at any of its 40 terminals, no matter where or how a driver applies – in person, by phone or online. HRLogix’s online job application has proved especially beneficial for the Enid, Okla.-based bulk carrier; managers do not have to spend time reviewing nonqualified applications, says Brenda Rogers, Groendyke Transport’s director of employment relations.

Before implementing HRLogix in April 2004, terminal managers and the corporate office had no visibility of the status of driver applicants at each terminal, Rogers says. Each applicant now is coded into the system from the start, and both terminal managers and corporate administrators can track the progress of applicants. Instead of faxing paperwork back and forth between offices, Rogers now can instantly review a resume or an applicant electronically.

“[HRLogix] cut down on the cumbersome, manual paper processing that we did before,” Rogers says. “In the past, four or five different people had to touch and manage a paper application. We are cutting down a lot of time.”

Similarly, oil-field services provider Baker Petrolite uses Driver Management Online (DMO) from J.J. Keller to expedite hiring at 85 offices in North America. Local offices can have drivers complete forms on the spot or provide them with a link to apply online, says John Miggins, transportation compliance coordinator for the fleet operator. All paperwork then is scanned into the system, and any exceptions are brought to the attention of the local office. Once the documents are complete, the central office in Sugar Land, Texas, completes the hiring process within 24 hours.

“It is easier to have more accountability of things,” Miggins says. “We are getting drivers hired as quickly as possible.”

Penetrating reports
Besides streamlining the qualification process, recruiting management systems can provide a variety of insightful reports. Tracking the number of applicants and hires by location, by recruiter or by advertising media are a few examples of useful metrics.

“HRLogix allowed us to more objectively know where drivers are coming from,” Rogers says. When applying online, drivers are asked how they heard about Groendyke Transport. Capturing this information from all applicants helps track the effectiveness of advertisements by region or media, she says.

“We are able to say ‘this effort is paying off’ or ‘it is not,’ ” Rogers says. “Before, we were truly manual – we had no way of capturing that.”

After four months of using RapidHire, Gross is able to use various reports to micromanage recruiting. He can look at the number of applications by source, by recruiter or by how much time lapses from the first contact to approval.

“I can get a better idea of the actual length of time it takes to offer orientation scheduling,” he says. “I have not found any limits to the software.”

Venezia Bulk Transport, a 420-truck carrier based in Royersford, Pa., uses a driver recruiting system from IEG Software. By using IEG’s advanced search capabilities, Venezia recruiters can view a snapshot of the company’s hiring activity in a specific region over a certain time period, says Chuck Fosburg, driver recruiting manager. For example, if the company received new business in Pennsylvania and needed to hire drivers in that region, Fosburg says he could quickly see that last spring he did a lot of advertising in Pennsylvania that resulted in more drivers calling in than they had positions to fill.

“Potentially, you do not have to re-advertise,” Fosburg says. “[The software] keeps track of everything, from names to addresses, phone numbers, e-mail and endorsements on CDLs. The fields are endless. It’s like having a 300-subject electronic notebook.”

Simpler compliance
Speedy qualifications may give fleets an edge in recruiting, but the document management burden only begins with hiring. In addition to all the usual employee information, motor carriers must maintain and update a variety of qualifications in driver files, including drug tests, safety records, annual MVRs, commercial driver’s licenses and endorsements. If managing paper files is stretching resources away from more productive work – like finding and retaining drivers, or improving safety – technology may offer a solution.

Several vendors have created Web-based driver management systems to simplify compliance and rid the office of cumbersome paperwork. These systems have proven especially useful for companies that operate multiple terminals, as qualifications can be managed locally and monitored centrally.

Baker Petrolite uses J.J. Keller’s DMO not only for hiring but for managing qualifications files on its 300 drivers. DMO allows the oil-field services provider to manage driver records locally at each office without having to maintain separate systems, Miggins says.
Some vendors combine their technology with outsourcing services that can audit and maintain driver files. Thanks to a merger, Linde Gas LLC experienced sudden growth from 320 to 800 drivers, and that was enough for management to decide to outsource driver qualification files and other regulatory and compliance processes.

With 320 drivers, managing driver qualifications due to new hires and expirations took about 1.5 full-time positions per week, says Guy Dalton, fleet safety and compliance manager of Linde Gas, an industrial gases and engineering company based in Cleveland.

“From my perspective as a manager, it took a lot of oversight to make sure the process continued to operate,” Dalton says. To manage the qualifications process for 800 drivers, Linde Gas would have had to add two to three more full-time persons. Rather than grow its overhead, Dalton turned to a compliance outsourcing service offered by Lee TranServices.

Today, Linde Gas scans all driver qualification documents into a Web-based system from Lee TranServices called the Driver Qualification Data Service (DQDS). After Lee TranServices audits the files, Linde Gas receives weekly reports for any expiring documents such as a driver’s license or medical exam card, or any missing documents.

“Reports make it a pretty foolproof system,” Dalton says. He and an assistant now spend at most an hour a day keeping driver qualifications current, depending on the number of new driver hires or turnover each day. And on a weekly basis, Linde Gas runs a compliance report based strictly on DOT requirements.

“We always seem to run at a 99.7 to 99.8 compliance rating,” he says. “That is incredible considering the number of drivers that come and go. We would be 100 percent if not for driver turnover.”

One of the reasons Dalton chose Lee TranServices was because the Lufkin, Texas-based company was willing to tailor its system to work around Linde Gas’ requirements. “The system has pretty much mirrored exactly what we requested,” Dalton says. “I’m a firm believer in doing everything right, but not overdoing it.”

Sharing with others
Web-based driver management systems offer a central repository of driver information that can be maintained and reviewed by various locations and departments simultaneously. Recruiting, human resources, operations, safety and compliance all may use the data differently, but each department can benefit from sharing information and resources on drivers.

Jevic Transportation, a 1,370-truck fleet based in Delanco, N.J., recently implemented a driver management tool called E-Driver File from SafetyFirst Systems. Previously, the recruiting department had used a custom-built application in Microsoft Access. With the Access database, recruiters kept track of driver qualifications on new hires and on “rehires” – that is, former drivers who reapply. While useful to recruiters, the Access database had become an information silo to the rest of the company, says Cameron Calderone, a manager in Jevic’s recruiting department.

“Now the information we create will carry on throughout the company,” Calderone says. Sharing resources through E-Driver File is especially useful when reviewing driver rehires, which at Jevic is about 27 percent of hires, he says. Previously, the process to review a rehire took about five days – primarily due to recruiters having to gather information from other departments, such as human resources and safety, before making a decision.

Using E-Driver File, recruiters now can instantly access past drivers’ history of performance and safety violations. All the data and documents on the driver – including release forms, applications, safety awards and other important information – now are scanned into E-Driver File from the beginning.

“This will streamline that whole process to a matter of minutes,” Calderone says. “We’re excited about the program. It will be a great asset.”

Good drivers have lots of good carriers to choose from. Your greatest tool in competing for them may be the ability to act as quickly as possible, and technology can help you do it.

Sifting through the chaff
Technology simplifies the search for important records

As the first and most crucial step in the hiring process, collecting information from a driver’s past is now fast, easy and inexpensive. Driving records, criminal checks, medical reviews, employment verifications and all other tasks now can be completed by visiting one website.

Providers of pre-employment screening services in the transportation industry continue to expand their menus of online services used by fleets to improve hiring practices and reduce risk when gathering information about drivers.

One of the most critical parts of the hiring process is obtaining a driver’s current motor vehicle record (MVR). After hiring, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires carriers to keep an MVR on each driver that is no more than 12 months old. Information Insurance Exchange (iiX) offers a feature called Driver Safe that allows carriers to securely store driver information online and to retrieve annual MVRs without re-keying information, says Stefanie Haggerty, sales and marketing manager for iiX.

But to properly manage risk on an ongoing basis, annual MVRs may not be frequent enough to catch violations that drivers choose to not report in the interim.

USIS recently released Driver Violation Alert (DVA), a service that sends an e-mail alert if a change occurs to the MVR for any active drivers that a fleet chooses to monitor each month. Based on one customer’s feedback who participated in a beta test of DVA, drivers only reported one out of three violations to management, says Kim Bishop, USIS product manager for driving records and credit. Similarly, iiX recently added Driver Advisor, an online driver monitoring service for select states, Haggerty says.

USIS is best known for its DAC Services employment history database that is used by more than 2,600 carriers and contains more than 6 million records. Subscribers update driver termination records themselves and share records, keeping the database current. USIS also offers DAC Online, a service that allows a motor carrier such as J.B. Hunt to grant access to other motor carriers to an online employment database to eliminate the phone calls and faxes from recruiters seeking to verify employment of current and former drivers.

First Advantage, meanwhile, has built a Web portal designed to streamline all of the pre-employment tasks for drivers. For most states, fleets can obtain MVR reports on drivers within five minutes. As an added feature, the company is working with customers to finalize a “foolproof” scorecard tool for MVRs; points can be pre-assigned to each type of moving violation or incident. The MVR is delivered to the customer with a score, which fleets can use to establish uniform standards for hiring, says Greg Conklin, First Advantage’s executive director of sales and business development for transportation.

First Advantage also is in the midst of creating an Employment Verification History (EVH) database. To go head-to-head with DAC Services, Conklin says, EVH was designed to simplify entry of drivers’ termination records with minimal keystrokes. Fleets using the system also will be able to push their records to DAC Services, if the fleet subscribes to that service. Several large carriers already have supplied thousands of termination records to EVH, he says.