Wow, it is starting again. Here in Canada, we are starting to resume “normal” life. For those truck drivers crossing the US border regularly, you must be seeing the fundamental differences between Canada and the United States and how each handled the COVID situation.
What does this all mean for trucking?
I think that COVID-19 will have a long-lasting impact on transportation. First and foremost, I believe that truck drivers have been acknowledged, saluted, and praised for being the Heroes that they are. You kept the shelves stocked and people outside of our industry, for maybe the first time, saw truck drivers as an essential component of the country’s survival.
Good for you!
You are reading this article in a recruiting magazine, so it is fair to ask you how the recruiting and hiring of truck drivers changed during the pandemic? In some companies, sadly, it has not changed. You, if you are an applicant, are still going into the office of some company and manually filling out the required paperwork. If you are hired, you are still sitting in a classroom and getting orientation with several other new hires. So that is one thing where not much has changed.
What is new is that other companies are now using technology to hire. I know that some fantastic and very competent truck drivers struggle with tech, but even those drivers are now using smartphones and have been on a ZOOM call. Some companies are using technology such as ZOOM to perform an initial interview. Many companies have all the new hires’ paperwork available online for completion. So, between ZOOM and the online application process, you, the applicant, don’t have to spend all that time getting to the office, completing the paperwork and then being interviewed. Just the travel time alone is a huge time saver for many. For some, it may not be much of a time-saver as you spend time on the computer struggling to use the keyboard… But if this process is being done while you are on the road or stuck in a receiving door while working for your present carrier, it is a huge time saver.
If you can apply for a position online, what else can be done without an in-person visit? How about the new hire orientation? I know personally of several companies that have some, if not all, of their orientation online. What is the advantage of this? Have you been in the classroom or boardroom at a carrier and had to listen to the safety manager go through their PowerPoint slides? The manager has likely done it hundreds of times, and it shows. In some cases, the presentation is dull. So dull that even the presenter appears to be bored. And this is how you are starting with a new company?
By putting the complete orientation online, the company can bring in video, PowerPoint and voice-over. In this way, the company knows that everyone is getting all the information that is needed. The data can be changed and updated quickly. For the new hire, they can complete the training without stepping a foot on site. This means that while you are still working for another carrier, you can complete your application, submit your documents, complete the telephone interview, and do the new hire orientation without ever going to the new companies building. WOW!
And what does that save you, the applicant? A whole lot of time! You didn’t have to drive your vehicle back and forth to and from the carrier several times – a great time and expense saver. You didn’t take time away from your current job, and you didn’t rob your family of your time between trips to apply for a new position. You can complete the interview from the cab of your truck while still making miles. And lastly, you completed the new hire orientation while parked in a loading door or at a truck stop.
All of this adds up to a huge time saver and as we all know, time is money. So, everyone saved money, especially you!
Well, now for my question. How much or how many of these changes are here to stay? I think most of them. I hope that carriers see the benefit of recruiting online and reducing the many times an applicant needs to come to the office. After all, the company owes it to their current staff to keep them safe and healthy. Doesn’t this also show some respect for the applicant’s time and energy? If you agree with these statements, isn’t this the type of carrier you want to work for?
Work for someone that respects your time and money!
Chris has been involved in trucking most of his adult life. He drove truck for and worked in various office/management positions for a major truck company. His last position of 5 years in the safety department where he was responsible for the recruiting of Owner Operators and their compliance. He joined a trucking insurance company in 2001 and has been in the insurance side of things until making Safety Dawg a full-time endeavour.