Favorable rates, strong freight volumes and a driver shortage are ramping up pressure on recruiters to fill empty seats.
To keep the recruiting pipeline filled, motor carriers are using technologies to generate more leads and do a better job of managing early contacts and relationships with applicants.
When the driver shortage was not as severe, fleets tended to focus more on using applicant tracking systems to increase compliance and efficiency of the hiring process, says Cindy Nelson, vice president of marketing and Driver Solutions Group for EBE Technologies.
“Today, it’s ‘get me a name and contact information’ so that recruiters can pick up the phone,” she says.
The first responder
Online visitors to Melton Truck Lines, a flatbed carrier with more than 1,200 trucks based in Tulsa, Okla., have several options to immediately contact a recruiter.
A “live chat” function follows online visitors around its website. Drivers can also fill out a short contact form or click a button to open a FaceTime call.
Once drivers get to the point of filling out an online application they immediately receive an autoresponder email. The email is generated by the SHIPS Recruiting software Melton uses from EBE Technologies.
The email notifies drivers that their application has been received and gives the call-in number to start the interview process, says Bobbi Leach, Melton’s advertising and recruitment specialist.
If the applicant does not meet minimum qualifications, Melton uses codes in the SHIPS software to manage the relationship. If a driver does not have a CDL yet, for example, Melton uses the code “Disqualified – Needs CDL License.”
“This lets us know why he’s not processing and also lets us know to follow up with that driver starting in a couple of weeks through marketing efforts and follow up calls,” Leach says.
Another example is if a driver is not ready to change jobs yet.
“We can place a date on the driver’s file that will then reactivate him in the system to let us know that time has passed, and we should follow up with him again,” Leach says.
Melton Truck Lines uses other third-party software to continue its marketing campaign to drivers after initial contact. One system sets up a drip email campaign. It also uses a texting system in SHIPS to send mass messages and additionally reaches out to drivers through dialing campaigns as well as with Google Ads display, PPC, and re-marketing.
EBE Technologies plans to add more “drip marketing” features in an upcoming Ships Recruiting release slated for the second quarter of 2019, Nelson says. The new features will be available in a module called the Applicant Relationship Management System (ARMS).
Fleet recruiters will be able to use ARMS to manage “multiple campaigns based on multiple (driver) statuses,” Nelson says, where every code will have a communications plan to contact drivers using his or her preferred contact method.
Sharpening the focus
For Melton, the SHIPS Recruiting system has become more than an applicant tracking system.
“It not only allows us to keep up with our candidates, but it has also become a centralized and automated system for communication, background/driving record ordering, and DOT compliance,” says Leach. “It has taken away the need for our recruiters to do certain necessary but mundane administrative tasks and allowed them to focus on recruiting drivers.”
Other features in the SHIPS platform Melton uses keep track of driver conversations so that any recruiter can step in “without missing a beat,” she says. Recruiters also can order Greyhound bus tickets directly through the system for drivers to attend orientation training.
“Recruiters can stay focused inside in SHIPS because everything is self-contained,” she says. “We know what’s going on with the driver’s file at all times.”