The Best Driver Recruiting Strategy When You Need to Ramp Up FAST
Hire Qualified Drivers Quickly—Without Skimping on Either
Busy seasons, slow seasons. This isn't a new concept for businesses, which is why it's easy for complacency to set in when it comes to hiring drivers. "It's how we've always done things" becomes the default mode, even if the approach is woefully outdated and inefficient to boot.
We see this happen a lot with businesses that have to ramp up their fleets based on the season. The holiday season is the big one everyone thinks about since retailers large and small need to get their products out in a hurry. But plenty of other industries, like agriculture, construction, education (school buses!), and tourism (just to name a few), have to ramp up driver recruitment for their respective busy seasons, too.
The goal, of course, is to hire qualified drivers quickly. Skimp on speed, and your business could see reduced productivity and profits—and plenty of customer complaints splashed all over social media.
But skimp on quality, and your business could get in trouble with the DOT, local authorities, and even the court of public opinion.
Luckily, this doesn't have to be an either/or choice. When it comes to driver recruiting, you can have quality and speed, provided you know how and where to get both.
In this article, we're going to cover the following:
✔ The antiquated approach too many businesses still use for driver recruitment
✔ The biggest mistake companies make when hiring seasonal drivers
✔ The better way to hire great drivers quickly—no matter the season
✔ How our driver management software reduces hiring from weeks to days (yes, really)
How we got here: Silo mentalities run amok.
In the "old" days, driver recruitment followed a linear trajectory: Recruiters would do their piece and hand off the baton to HR. HR would do their bit, then hand it off to safety teams for the compliance check. Safety teams would do their work and then—finally—the driver would end up behind the wheel.
This linear trajectory allows for silo mentalities to set in, where everyone goes about their work separately without any insight or visibility into what other people are doing. This way of working can lead to delays, miscommunication, and vital things falling through the cracks.
With the dawn of the digital era, however, many tasks could—in theory—happen concurrently without sacrificing accuracy. Again, in theory.
The issue: Software needed to catch up with the theoretical part. And people's mindsets needed to catch up as well. Most people hate change. Plus, if something doesn't appear to be broken, why try fixing it?
But that's just it: The old way has never really worked well. Think of all the paper records that have gotten misfiled, lost, or damaged over the years—not to mention the endless passing around of inter-office envelopes from one department to another and all the endless waiting, waiting, waiting.
Think about all the little things that inevitably fell through the cracks due to human error and those pesky paper files again, like a driver's medical record expiring and no one noticing.
It gets even wilder when you consider this: The DOT embraced digital processes way faster than many fleets. (The pandemic forced the DOT's hand, but it was heading in that direction anyway.)
This left many fleets—even larger ones—scrambling to figure things out, with many having no idea how to go from the old way to the new way.
And sadly, too many companies are STILL trying to figure things out.
Listen, we get why it seems hard. You're trying to do things by the book, but you're also trying to run a business—and as your busy season approaches, all you can focus on is making sure you have enough drivers to get you through that season.
This brings us to our next point.
Can you spot the potential problem with this regulation?
Drivers often work for multiple employers. This isn't earth-shattering news; you already know this. And you're probably at least somewhat familiar with this federal regulation: § 391.65 Drivers furnished by other motor carriers.
Basically, if you're hiring a driver who's already employed by another carrier, you can avoid pulling together the driver qualification file on that driver, provided the other employer certifies specific things about the driver. (Refer to the full reg for the specifics.)
Sounds great on the surface. Less paperwork for you, right?
Well, not so fast. We want to call your attention to this nugget in part C of the regulation: "A motor carrier which certifies a driver's qualifications under this section shall be responsible for the accuracy of the certificate. The certificate is no longer valid if the driver leaves the employment of the motor carrier which issued the certificate or is no longer qualified under the rules in this part."
So what happens if a driver you contract during your busy season—a driver who's been certified by another employer—leaves that other employer? What's the process for informing you about this change in employment? And who is now responsible for the driver's records going forward? What if the driver gets a DUI? Will the other employer know? And will they alert you if they do? (And quickly enough so you can act?)
We're thinking you can see the potential problems, but just in case, consider this scenario . . .
- John is employed full-time by Awesome Lumber.
- You contract John during the summer months for your Beautiful Berries business.
- Awesome Lumber "certifies" John's details, per the above reg.
- John quits Awesome Lumber on July 1.
- John gets a DUI over the July 4 holiday weekend and loses his license.
- John doesn't tell you about the DUI and continues to drive for you.
See where this is going?
You could easily think you're compliant, and yet you could still wind up with a huge, expensive headache if John gets caught driving for you with a suspended license or he's involved in an accident while on the clock.
But that's not even the biggest mistake fleets are making when hiring seasonal drivers.
The biggest mistake companies still make when hiring seasonal drivers.
We can't stress this enough when it comes to hiring seasonal drivers:
Always run a new MVR check on any driver you hire. Yes, even if you contracted them earlier in the same calendar year, and even if another employer certifies them. Remember, the driver could have driven for you in May under one contract. If you hire them again in October without pulling a new MVR . . . well, that's just silly. How was their driving from June through September? Sure, it might have been fine. But what if it wasn't—and you put them on the road under your brand?
Use MVR monitoring on ALL drivers. Don't rely on a driver or another employer to alert you if something changes in a person's driving record. MVR monitoring is a low-cost way to make sure you've got the most current info and, thus, the safest drivers behind the wheel.
Bottom line: Maintain your own driver qualification files, even if the person drives for someone else full-time. It's the smarter way to go.
Now, we know what you might be thinking. This sounds like a lot of work—won't it slow down the hiring process at a time when you need everything to move faster?
Not if you have the right driver management software.
Say hello to Dash, driver management software that empowers you to hire the best drivers super fast.
With Dash, you can recruit, screen, and manage employee compliance in an easy-to-use online platform.
Tasks associated with driver recruiting can happen concurrently. Recruiters, HR managers, and safety/compliance managers can be inside Dash at the same time, and each can customize their notification settings to the way they work. No more silo mentality or delays in communication. Dash empowers your teams to create a custom process for how YOU hire.
Even better: Dash is built to scale. So when you need to ramp up hiring quickly, Dash will keep pace. In fact, Dash will help you reduce the time it takes to get qualified drivers behind the wheel from weeks to days. Yes, days! Read this case study where we helped one trucking company reduce their driver hiring process from two weeks to two days.
Dash helps you . . .
✔ Bridge the gap between driver recruitment, HR, and safety teams (no more siloes)
✔ Maintain compliant digital records on every driver
✔ Make things like MVR monitoring a breeze to order and use
Request a demo so you can experience Dash firsthand. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to use—and how easy it will make recruiting drivers going forward (even for busy seasons).