How to Win at Online Truck Driver Recruiting

Take charge of your staffing needs with these three pillars of a digital recruitment strategy.
Truck_Driver_Recruiting

If you’re involved at all in truck driver recruiting, you know that the field has historically been dominated by media companies that sell advertising space. Many of these companies were magazine publishers that branched out into online publishing and began posting content and making new ad products available on their burgeoning list of websites, which often includes a host of job boards with URLs like “besttruckjobsintheusa.com” (not a real site).

The theory seems to have been that if they could create as many sites as possible for distributing driver jobs, they could own the online market for truck driver recruitment. Their pitch is that they dominate the driver recruiting market. And they offer a simple formula for truck driver recruitment: Pay them to get access to leads.

However, the Internet does not obey the rules that govern magazine circulation.

  • For one, there are thousands of more websites than print magazines, giving users many more choices.
  • Second, users are much more empowered to find what they are looking for through search and other means.
  • Third, the digital space offers so many more possibilities for connecting with drivers (it’s not just a question of the size, placement, frequency, and creative appeal).
  • Lastly, reporting is a heck of a lot better for online channels than it is for the perpetually mysterious world of print.

So, how does a trucking company take advantage of this brave new world to win at truck driver recruiting? Let’s find out.

Create a Truck Driver Recruiting Website

On the Web, anyone can become a publisher — not just traditional publishers. In fact, by having a website, a company is, by default, a publisher. They have created content and made it public for anyone to consume. And, unless their website is really bad, they will have an audience.

Why not embrace this identity as an online publisher and create a truck driver recruiting website that really appeals to the types of drivers you need and grow that audience? Take all of the demographic information and job descriptions you give to advertising outlets and use it to create a site that will attract those specific drivers directly to your company, rather than through media company intermediaries.

A proper recruitment website will definitely be an investment but it will give you greater control over your truck driver recruiting efforts. While you will likely never be able to go head to head with the media companies in search competition or number of visits, having your own online publishing platform will provide you with a leg to stand on as you try to wrest yourself from the frustrating dynamic of paying media companies more and more each month for that constant stream of leads you need for your recruiters.

Furthermore, having your own dynamic site will allow you to create an experience that appeals directly to your specific audiences. With job seekers having so many choices on the Internet, you’ll stand a better chance of connecting if you answer their questions and provide the options they are looking for.

“If an individual is out searching for a company or opportunities, they want to know more than just what a static landing page can offer,” says Dan Kee, Associate Vice President of Driver Resources at PAM Transport. “Most of the time, they are looking for the types of offerings you have — pay, home time, equipment, miles. It’s important to let them pick and choose and to direct their own destiny in that respect.”

If built to be user friendly and communicative, a truck driver recruiting website will generate a steady stream of organic leads as well as better-qualified leads.

You can also use a dynamic truck driver recruiting website to get better value out of your media spends by having media companies route applicants to your site for individual applications, rather than relying on the low-quality bulk apps that form the backbone of many truck driver recruiting media programs.

Over time, a quality website — a fully owned media entity that you control — will improve the quality of your leads while also lowering your cost per lead.

Schneider has embraced this role of publisher by creating an engaging, user-friendly hiring website where it is easy to learn about career opportunities and apply for jobs. They have even committed to a blog, A Slice of Orange, that publishes Schneider news and features of interest to truck drivers at a steady clip, painting more of a holistic picture of what it’s like to work at the logistics company.

Schneider Truck Driver Recruting Blog

Schneider’s truck driver recruiting blog, “A Slice of Orange.”

Connect Directly with Drivers

If you develop a central hiring website where drivers can apply for your jobs, rather than applying through a job board, you will know for sure that every driver in your applicant tracking system will have come into contact with your brand and expressed an interest in working specifically for your company.

This baseline familiarity with your company opens up all sorts of possibilities for directly remarketing your jobs to applicants, particularly through email (which should always be a required field in your online job application form).

As is often cited, email marketing has an ROI of 38 to 1 and has had the highest ROI of any digital marketing channel for ten years running. But email marketing will only yield this sort of return if it is done right.

The first rule of email marketing is that you have to email people who have asked to be contacted by your company. If you email an applicant who got routed to your company via a bulk app filed on a job site, they probably aren’t going to be receptive.

But if the same applicant applied specifically through your site and it didn’t work out for whatever reason, you shouldn’t be shy about touching base with them every now and then to see if they are still interested (assuming you are). Having applied directly to your company, they won’t be surprised by your messages and may even welcome them.

“When you send emails to your own database, it’s a much more pure outreach than if you contacted drivers on a list you bought or rented,” says Kee. “Drivers are contacted all the time from recruiters. With an email, they can digest it in their own environment where they aren’t under pressure. And they have an opt out. They can always walk away if they want. They get to choose what they want to do with it.”

Furthermore, you can use these opportunities to stay in touch with drivers to educate them about your company. “If you do a nurturing campaign, it should be a series of emails that provide information; not just a prompt to apply for jobs,” continues Kee. “It should educate them and give them choices.”

Ultimately, you can convey a much better sense of the type of company you are and say a lot more about the benefits of working for you in a series of helpful emails than you can in a banner ad or job listing. Moreover, you won’t be charged for each impression or click.

J.B. Hunt has done a great job leveraging email to continue to nurture online job applicants, peppering applicants with regular communications that keep J.B. Hunt top of mind. They include offers like gift cards for participating in surveys and, of course, elaborate on what sorts of jobs J.B. Hunt has available.

JB Hunt Truck Driver Recruiting Email

A driver job alert email from J.B. Hunt.

Centralize and Standardize Your Reporting

If you have your own truck driver recruiting website and drive all job seekers to the site to apply for your jobs, you also have the opportunity to take control of your reporting. Using free tools such as Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see where your leads are coming from and can even set up mechanisms to tag each online application with a lead source or display different tracking phone numbers for each referral source that sends traffic to your website.

Running your own reporting, in the way that you want to, will spare you trying to make sense of reports from numerous media outlets in various different formats that don’t paint a clear picture of where leads are coming from and which leads are converting to hires. You’ll be able to analyze those reports and make decisions about where to allocate your media budget based on your own data.

“Prior to the digital age, you just knew how many leads you had,” recalls Kee. “That, in itself, did not provide enough information to decide what was needed going forward. With integrated website reporting, you get a line-item view, rather than a 10,000-foot overview. You’re down in the trenches and you can really see the return on your investment.”

Why Online Truck Driver Recruiting Is a Must

Increasingly, truck driver recruiting is moving online, making it more and more important to have a well-thought-out digital strategy. Older generations, which are more amenable to finding jobs using traditional media such as magazines and newspapers, are retiring while the millennial generation is on the rise.

For twenty- and thirty-somethings, digital is king. “They wouldn’t pick up a book or a printed job listing,” counsels Kee. “They’re all about the digital. Going forward, digital is going to be the heartbeat of truck driver recruiting until the next great thing comes along.”

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About the Author

Jake Gerli


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