Hiring a Truck Driver, Screening Drivers | Episode 53

When I first started working on this series for hiring a truck driver, I was only planning on 3 episodes. As I got further into the process, I realized that the screening process needed its own episode for two reasons. First, it is so important. The screening process is 90% of what sets you up for hiring a good driver vs. being stuck with a bad egg. Second, it has a lot of parts to it. In this episode I cover the 7 steps I use when I hire a driver.

What To Expect From Episode 53

One of the biggest problems I see within the trucking industry is companies grow faster than their ability to hire GOOD drivers. This makes their performance suffer and creates a high driver turnover. You can never completely avoid making wrong hires, but you can greatly limit the likelihood. How? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take your time hiring to make sure you get the right person who is the right fit for your company.

Here are the 7 steps (plus an optional 8th step) I use and a little about each one of them. Craig and I go over each one in detail during the episode.

  1. Develop your minimum hiring requirements
  2. Post a relevant ad
  3. Conduct a thorough interview
  4. Obtain a PSP (Pre-employment Screening Program) Report
  5. Search the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse portal
  6. Screen them with your insurance agent
  7. Get a copy of their Motor Vehicle Record (MVR)
  8. OPTIONAL – Do a background check

1. Develop Your Minimum Hiring Requirements

Best place to start is with your insurance agent. Last thing you want to do is waste time screening someone to find out they don’t qualify under your current insurance.

2. Post a Relevant Ad

Post the minimum criteria you developed in step 1 in the ad. If your insurance company requires 2 years of experience, you don’t want people with 1 year of experience calling you. It’s a waste of your time.

3. Conduct a Thorough Interview

This is probably the most crucial task of the entire hiring process. Don’t pencil whip it. During the episode, I talk about having a good set of interview questions to use and asking the same questions to every person so you are consistent and can fairly evaluate all applicants. Download the interview questions I use. You can use them as is or adapt them anyway you would like. I also give some tips to help get honest answers.

Here are some of the things I look out for:

  1. Someone who has moved jobs a lot. If you interview someone who has, ask them why. If they have worked for companies you know are crappy companies to drive for, this may not be such a big issue.
  2. Someone who has not done the type of work you are hiring for. (i.e. someone who has only hauled dry van, but you primarily haul flat bed)
  3. Ideally, you want someone who has been running like you plan on them running. (i.e. they have done OTR, not one-night trips.)
  4. Someone who is not telling you the truth. (i.e. they tell you they don’t have any tickets, but they have one or more.)

4. Obtain a PSP Report (Pre-employment Screening Program)

I think you are crazy if you don’t do this. If you have never enrolled, I have a video that shows you how, click here to watch it. You can also watch this video to see how you actually pull a report. Before you can obtain a report you have to get your potential driver’s consent. Just have them complete this form and make sure you save a signed copy.

5. Search the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Portal

As of January 6, 2020 you are required to use and screen all new drivers through the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. If you have not registered for clearinghouse access, click here for a document with instructions for how to do so.

6. Screen Your Potential Hire With Your Insurance Agent

Provide the potential driver’s info to your insurance agent. You want to make sure they qualify and see if adding the driver will change your insurance rate.

7. Get a Copy of Their MVR (Motor Vehicle Record)

Sometimes your insurance agent can do this for you. Some states will allow you to pull it yourself, if the driver gives you consent. You may have to get a current copy from your driver.

8. (Optional) Do a background check

Discrimination is illegal and can get you in trouble, so make sure you are consistent. You can’t pick and choose who you get them for.

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