Are you fishing with a net or a spear?
In other words, are you attracting best-fit drivers with your ads or are you wasting time with unqualified leads? You need ads that make it easy to attract, recruit and hire the drivers you want while avoiding the drivers you don’t.
You’re not the only trucking company struggling to hire qualified drivers. It’s a national issue. Consider some of the following statistics from The ATA regarding the lack of qualified drivers:
• The industry will need nearly 1.1 million new drivers over the coming decade. That’s just under 110,000 per year on average.
• Retirement accounts for more than 54% of the drivers forecasted to leave the industry by 2028 – about 600,000 between 2019 and 2028. In other words, you’re going to be losing more drivers than we have coming in.
• In 2019, the trucking industry was short more than 60,000 drivers, which was up nearly 20% from 2017’s figure of 50,700. If current trends hold, the shortage could swell to over 160,000 by 2028.
You’re fighting an uphill battle that will only get harder. So what do you do?
You take action to hire as many qualified drivers as you can. You need to leave the driver shortage for your competition.
Two self-imposed challenges
You can’t control the fact that the nation is struggling to find qualified drivers. However, the lack of qualified drivers in your pipeline isn’t only affected by outside factors. You’re likely dealing with two self-imposed challenges in your recruiting process:
- Your ads don’t stand out from the competition.
- You lack positive reviews.
You need to address these two concerns before you can fill your fleet with all-stars. You need your purple cow.
Get on Google right now and search “trucking jobs near me.” You’ll probably see five or six ads that say the same thing: family-owned, get treated with respect, great home time, blah, blah, blah.
Now, pull up one of your ads. How similar does it look? If it’s identical, that’s your problem.
You need something that makes drivers stop scrolling through their social media feeds and say “Wow, I gotta click this ad.” We call it your purple cow. A purple cow turns heads in a field of black and white spots.
You need to write ad copy that makes you stand out as the purple cow. There are dozens of strategies to do so. Here are a few to get you started:
• Say something unique. If the competition can say it, why bother? No one will notice.
• Promise something tangible. Be as specific as possible. How much home time? How much guaranteed pay? Specific, tangible claims help you stand out.
• Include images and video. Statistics show that people click on ads with images more than just words, and they click on ads with video most of all. Catch qualified driver’s attention with visuals.
The power of reviewsThe second self-imposed challenge to overcome is your negative versus positive driver review ratio. You might not realize it, but you have direct influence over whether you have more positive than negative reviews.
The biggest mistake you can make is underestimating the power reviews have over how many qualified drivers apply to your company.
Consider these two facts: 1) Indeed and Glassdoor surveys showed that reviews influence 67% of all job seekers on whether or not they apply and 2) 20% of all leads on Indeed stop on TruckerReport to view your reviews before applying.
Drivers value the opinions of other drivers more than they value what you say. Quality drivers won’t apply if your average rating is low.
So, how do you swing the odds in your favor?
There are a couple of strategies you should implement:
• Ask drivers for positive reviews. When’s the last time you went out of your way to leave a positive review for a restaurant? People take action when they’re angry. As a result, you end up with a disproportionate amount of negative reviews. Simply ask your veteran drivers to leave an honest review of your company. They’ll be happy to speak their mind.
• Respond to negative reviews. When drivers leave a negative review, publicly apologize for their experience and offer to fix it. Don’t get into arguments, but genuinely offer a solution. People will take note and you’ll look a lot more enticing to new candidates.
• Fix your driver culture. Maybe it goes without saying, but in order to capture positive reviews, drivers need to have good things to say about you. You need to invest time and energy into creating a driver-centric culture. Educate your frontline supervisors on how to treat drivers with respect and retain your all-stars.
It’s no wonder you’re struggling to find qualified drivers. Nearly everyone is. You’re not helpless, though.
Get more responses on your ads with better ad copy and more positive reviews. Take action to overcome the hiring challenges we’re all dealing with. You’ll grow your fleet of all-star drivers while your competition wonders where all the qualified leads went.
John Kuder is a senior instructional designer at Avatar Fleet, the providers of A-Suite applicant tracking system.