Truck driving has become one of the most in-demand careers in the United States. The industry has become attractive because it is full of high paying wages and bonus compensation. Trucking companies are in competition to attract drivers with the most appealing offers. However, they are not looking to simply fill their empty seats with just anyone. Knowing this, what are the qualities that make a driver stand out as a good candidate for hire?
For a variety of reasons, most trucking companies require a new hire to have driving experience. In most cases, the timing of the experience must be recent. The length of experience can fluctuate based on how recent the experience is. Typically, 3-6 months is enough to meet the requirement, but one year is considered ideal in a lot of places. Some companies will hire newly graduated drivers. These drivers must complete an in-house training program, where they will spend time on the road with an experienced driver. This helps them to get a better idea about the reality of a day behind the wheel.
Technology advances have provided more accurate and efficient ways of logging hours using computers, opposed to the traditional method of handwritten logs. Because of the recent mandate that now requires all logging to be done via electronic logging devices (ELDs), computer skills have become newly essential in the truck driving industry. Although they weren’t always necessary, having computer skills now makes a candidate stand out from those who may struggle to navigate an ELD device for logging.
Transportation companies need to make sure that on-boarding drivers meet safety requirements. Drivers with clean records will not put the company at risk of higher insurance, damaged equipment, or high CSA scores. CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) is an FMCSA initiative to lower crashes by holding drivers and companies accountable for roadside inspections. A score is the amount of points that are assigned for a violation. The higher the chance of it causing a crash, the higher the point value of the score. Companies with lower CSA scores have decreased risk of getting pulled into roadside inspections. Drivers with clean PSP scores are more marketable to a company because the company will not inherit their points.
It may be seemingly easy to get a driving job almost anywhere because of the dire need to fill vacancies. This is misleading, because it gives some drivers a sense that trucking jobs are disposable. While it may be true that there are a lot of open driver positions, many companies will not hire someone who has an inconsistent employment history. The fact of the matter is, on-boarding costs money. Companies want to know that they are investing in people who are going to be around for a while. They do not want to invest in individuals who will leave as soon as another job comes along. A strong work history is the golden ticket into working for the company you really want to be at.
Trucking is an independent career which leaves you with a lot of alone time. However, there are many people drivers deals with on all different levels. Communication between a driver and a dispatcher is very important. The driver needs to be able to communicate what is needed to make sure the load is delivered on time. Customer communication and relationships are just as important. Sometimes a good relationship with a customer makes the difference between a 20-minute unload time versus a 2 hour one. Successful deliveries not only benefit the driver, but they benefit the company as well. This is why most companies prefer to hire drivers who can communicate clearly to get the job done.
The qualities that trucking companies look for in drivers are all qualities that make a driver more successful in the industry. Drivers who can utilize resources efficiently, drive safely, and maintain consistent employment are usually able to earn more money and have a more rewarding and enjoyable career behind the wheel. Drivers who can make success happen for themselves make success happen for the companies, which makes them more valuable to a company, and helps them stand out from those drivers who cannot.