How Are Motor Carriers Changing Recruiting Tactics to Combat the Driver Shortage?

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The economy is steadily improving, businesses are returning to normal, and we’re seeing a renewed output of goods and services. This means that we will continue to see an increase in freight volumes and the need for more qualified truck drivers.

With the surge in e-commerce activities this past year, the demand for drivers has clearly escalated. Experienced drivers can easily switch jobs for better pay, benefits, and home time. It’s imperative for motor carriers to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Developing multi-pronged recruiting strategies can aid in these efforts.

According to HireRight’s 2021 Global Benchmark Survey, 89% of trucking company respondents report finding qualified talent remains a top challenge for their organization. Additional recruiting concerns included: finding the right acquisition channels (34%), improving the candidate experience (27%), and differentiating their employment offers from the competition (25%). Here, we are going to give you an overview of our findings from our trucking survey respondents.

Social Media Gains Prominence in Recruiting

Transportation professionals were asked how the talent shortage has impacted the way they recruit drivers. We found more than half of survey respondents (52%) planned on spending more money on advertising. Additionally, (49%) are increasing the use of social media in recruitment efforts.

This year’s survey found that companies are enhancing their social presence in a variety of ways. Social media enables candidates to get a feel for what your company is like before they apply. Shared employee experiences can provide an inside perspective. Recruiters can create interesting and eye-catching content to attract both active and passive candidates. Best of all, in most instances utilizing social media has zero overhead costs.

Key tactics for expanding social media presence include: using additional social media platforms, more frequent posting, and employee sharing.

Referrals: Still the Most Effective Recruitment Tactic

Sixty-seven percent of survey respondents (and 73% of motor carriers) said that referrals from employees are still the most effective method for recruiting and attracting new employees.

How can organizations support referral programs? Thirty-seven percent of companies surveyed have increased their referral incentive amount. A third have taken steps to engage their entire organization to recruit candidates. If your company doesn’t have budget dollars to support significant cash referral bonuses, think outside the box. Try smaller-scale awards such as gift cards, company-branded items, extra vacation days, or other thank-you-type rewards.

Social media came in as the second most effective recruiting channel. Fifty-seven percent of transportation professionals and 61% of motor carriers responded that they utilize social channels for recruiting.  

Optimizing the Candidate’s Mobile Experience

Everyone is plugged into their phones today – including drivers. Therefore, it’s important that all aspects of the recruiting process are designed for a mobile experience. Having an easy-to-use platform available on a mobile device will keep the candidate engaged throughout the recruiting process. Three-quarters of survey respondents reported taking steps to upgrade their mobile recruiting tactics. 

We found that our survey respondents used a variety of enhanced mobile activities. They include: adding more mobile-friendly applications, text messaging, and video interviews.

Outlook for Recruiting Programs

Sixty percent of survey respondents expect their workforce size to grow in 2021. This means companies need to find new workers and replenish those that have left through normal attrition. The majority of transportation companies surveyed (82%) plan on making significant investments in their recruiting programs in 2021. Some of the top recruitment investments planned are paid advertisements, social media, and improving the candidate experience.

As we head into the second half of 2021, the need for drivers will continue to be an ongoing challenge. HireRight heard from over 500 U.S. Transportation professionals in our 14th annual benchmark survey this year. With this response, we have launched our 2021 U.S. Transportation Spotlight Report. In the report, we take a deep dive into the topics covered in this blog.



Dr. Todd Simo

Dr. Simo is the Chief Medical Officer and the Managing Director of Transportation at HireRight. He served as HireRight’s Medical Director starting in 2009 and was promoted to Chief Medical Officer in 2015. Dr. Simo was also appointed to the role of Managing Director of Transportation in 2018. Dr. Simo came to HireRight with a decade of experience in the medical consulting arena. Before that he was Medical Director at an occupational health clinic in Virginia and owned a consulting firm providing medical director services to employers across the United States.

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