3 Steps to Successfully Hire & Retain Inexperienced Drivers

Are you hiring significant numbers of drivers who are either recent driving school graduates or have limited driving experience? If so, you're not alone. Many of our clients tell us that as much as 85% of their annual hires are drivers new to the industry.
Is there a bigger unknown than hiring an inexperienced driver?  They're essentially a blank slate with little if any track record .  For most carriers it's a shot in the dark. Albeit a very risky shot in the dark.  Background checks, interviews, MVR's, reference checks are limited or non-existent. Attrition for drivers new to the industry is as high as 60% within the first 30 to 90-days on the job (an immense cost to any operation). Many new drivers who may be technically competent are discovering (on your dime) that trucking is not for them.
With increasing numbers of drivers retiring or leaving the industry altogether, the hiring of inexperienced drivers is fast becoming a necessity.  You're damned if you do, damned if you don't.  What to do?
A growing number of carriers (Schneider National, May Trucking, and Bestway Express among many others) along with states (Arkansas and Utah Workforce Services) are turning to our behavioral assessment to fill in the blanks...as the first step to hiring and retaining inexperienced drivers.
At the recent TCA conference in Orlando, FL Shepard Dunn, President of Bestway Express presented data on their use of online behavioral assessment to hire inexperienced drivers. He said, "I don't know how or why it works, but it works. We are retaining over 90% of new drivers hired over the past year and a half."  Curt Singleton, Bestway's Director of Safety and Recruiting added, "There is no doubt our overall increased retention is a direct result of JOBehaviors." 
Schneider National and JOBehaviors have been working together since last July on a "contract training" initiative that provides training funds for driver candidates scoring 4 and 5-stars on the JOBehaviors assessment (top third of candidates). Of the 17 enrolled in training all (100%) successfully graduated and all (100%) are still driving for the company.  Mike Ruminski of Schneider National added, "In addition to retention outcomes, the overall performance of this group is well above average." Schneider is now working with Wisconsin Workforce Services to develop a program for state funded training of candidates who pass the assessment followed by Schneider's commitment to hire graduates (enroll for behaviors, train for skill).
How can you begin to achieve similar, if not better results when hiring inexperienced drivers? Following are 3 steps to make it happen:
  1. Administer an online behavioral driver assessment as the first step in your hiring process.  This doesn't mean your judgement gets thrown out the window, but it's important to implement an OBJECTIVE (and extremely predictive) first step, followed by the more subjective interview.
    • The average candidate to hire ratio is 30 to 1. JOBehaviors identifies 15 out of 30, 80% of which go on to meet minimum qualifications. This translates to 12 outstanding candidates per 30 applicants versus 1 in 30 (a 1,200% increase in viable driver candidates).
    • Administering the assessment is the first step to uncovering hidden talent and is the most effective way for recruiters to hit their numbers (it's also the secret weapon to cherry picking top talent).
  2.  Develop relationships with driver training schools and assess their students on the front end and commit to hire those that meet your criteria (preferably students scoring 3-stars and above). Or assess students upon graduation.
  3. Treat new drivers with respect.  No matter how good the driver, they won't last if they don't feel they are being treated fairly. A little patience goes along way in developing new talent.
What will it mean to the profitability of your company to retain 85% to 90% of inexperienced drivers in the coming year?  A fast-growing number of carriers across the country already know the answer to that question.  
Improved selection leads directly to improved capacity, reduced accidents, better customer care and...increased profit! 
Pre-employment test for truck drivers, JOBehaviors
Pre-employment test for truck drivers, JOBehaviors
What clients are saying about JOBehaviors:

"As they say, the figures don't lie. JOBehaviors works and is a great retention tool for all motor carriers." 

Tommy Johnson, Safety and Recruiting Director, Vickers Distribution and Storage


"Perhaps our most notable success with JOBehaviors has been with the drivers we have been training right out of driving school.  We accept new entrants to the trucking industry in our Driver Finishing Program only if they score 4 stars or above.  None of the drivers in this group have been involved in an accident or incident." 

Curt Singleton, Safety/HR Director, Bestway Express


"We have quickly seen the value of JOBehaviors in our driver placement process. The online assessment system has allowed us to expedite the hiring of drivers who are truly a fit for the career of professional truck driver.


JOBehaviors is stunningly accurate at identifying the performance level of driver candidates and that is the real key to safety, productivity and efficiency for our customers."

Julie Behern, Director of Recruiting, Schilli Transport Services

To schedule a no-cost consultation visit:

Mark Tinney
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