Tips for Safe Hiring & Onboarding During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Lindsey Bergeron

When selecting an application, make sure you choose one that is both easy for drivers to fill out (even on a mobile device) and that is DOT compliant.

As the demand for trucking begins to tick upwards again, many carriers will need to start thinking about hiring (or rehiring) drivers. But, with social distancing still an important practice, it may look a little different than your hiring and onboarding processes did a few months ago.

As we wrote about previously, the CDC recommends using technology as much as possible to complete tasks that would have involved the exchange of paper or having drivers onsite. In terms of the hiring process, this includes things like using an electronic application, conducting interviews remotely and holding training sessions over video instead of at the workplace.

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Choosing a Digital Application

An electronic application can be filled out by prospective drivers and submitted securely for your review. When selecting an application, make sure you choose one that is both easy for drivers to fill out (even on a mobile device) and that is DOT compliant. The latter will ensure that you have all of the information you’ll need to run the required background screens once you’ve decided to move forward with the hiring process. It will also become a required part of their driver qualification file.

Even better, is an application that syncs directly with an online driver and compliance management system, like the one we use at Foley. Once submitted, all of the information contained in the application is uploaded to the prospective driver’s file in your account for your review. Once a hiring decision is made, the information contained in the file will be used to automatically run the driver’s required background screens (including their motor vehicle report), schedule their pre-employment drug test and conduct the required query of the DOT Clearinghouse (for CDL drivers).

Your New Interview & Onboarding Process

While interviews have traditionally been held in person, social distancing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic will require you to hold interviews offsite whenever possible. Begin with a simple phone call to get a feel for the applicant and their qualifications, and then follow-up with a more formal video interview for applicants you’re seriously considering bringing on board. Once drivers make it through this stage of the interview process, and all of their pre-employment background screens are complete, then you can consider bringing them onsite to both tour the facility and meet the team.

If training is required, consider holding it over video conference, or hosting pre-recorded videos online for drivers to watch from home. This will ensure they get all of the information they need to begin driving for you company, without compromising their safety (or the safety of your other employees).

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Online Compliance Management

Once a driver is successfully onboarded, and their initial DOT compliance requirements have been met, there are requirements that must be maintained on a regular basis – requirements that can be maintained electronically without the exchange of paper.

If you use a system such as the Foley Portal, for example, drivers will be able to automatically upload a picture of their updated CDL or medical card and add it to their digital driver file. The portal will also ensure that an MVR is run on each driver annually, and that all DOT Clearinghouse obligations are being met.

With the FMCSA favoring offsite audits during the COVID-19 pandemic, having files stored digitally is key – especially if you have many employees working offsite. Digital files can be accessed from any computer or mobile device and uploaded to an auditor upon request. Carriers still using paper will need to access these files at the workplace and scan them into a computer before being able to send them off – a potentially time-consuming process depending on the quantity of paperwork being requested.

Hiring, onboarding and compliance management will look different for the foreseeable future. To learn how you can best prepare, as well as to get a free demo of our recruiting and compliance portal, please click here or give us a call at (860) 815-0764.

About the Author

Lindsey Bergeron is Editor of the Foley blog. Serving as transportation guru, she keeps an eye on the industry and its day-to-day evolution and developments, specifically writing about the various lifestyle, business and regulatory topics that are most relevant to motor carriers. Holding a degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Connecticut, she ran a successful content marketing firm before joining Foley at its Hartford hub. Her current expertise in transportation writing is built upon an extensive background in editing, feature writing and content development.

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