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Bad experience with Prime, Inc., recruiting. What other companies have good CDL training programs?

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Ryan F.'s Comment
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Using the reports on this website as well as first-hand experiences recounted on Reddit, I've written off CR England and am hesitant about Swift. Considering Roehle but am skeptical of their drug-testing policies (I just spent half a year in a country where weed is decriminalized, cheap, and common).

Have to vent a little about my experience with Prime:

Prime seemed great and like a done deal until Friday. Good God - my recruiter was impressively unprofessional when I followed her instructions to call a day after our first conversation. While I suppose I can't reasonably expect her to remember my name, who I am, or that she'd asked me to ring, I would have hoped that courtesy might be in the cards. Unfortunately, she really ruffled my feathers when asking for me to provide verification that I'd worked for one summer in India. She essentially called me a liar without saying the words ("not to be nasty, but am I supposed to believe that you just hopped on a plane and flew to India or what?" - I've been to 30 countries in the past four years and lived in India for a year and a half! Part of the reason why I wanna pay for college by trucking is because I love life on the road!!) and made a handful of very unprofessional comments. By the time we ended our conversation, I felt like she had no respect for me or my desire to work with Prime. It's not even like I have a bad resume. I have, in fact, worked to recruit drivers for two small trucking companies! I get how the game works, and it's not like that (unless big companies are really just so inundated by applicants they don't care about prospective employees at all).

I don't want to let my ego get in the way of a potential job - working for a year would let me accomplish a lot, including paying off all of my personal debt and much of my student debt - but I really feel mistreated. Nobody ever talked to me like that, even when I was a teenager and interviewing for McDonald's and pizza delivery jobs. I'm probably going to call the Prime hotline on Monday and see if I can switch to another recruiter, but I'm looking for alternatives.

Sorry for the Prime rant. Just needed to vent and get that off my shoulders.

Cold War Surplus's Comment
member avatar

Take a step back and ask yourself, "Was it personal?" Your recruiter may not have been as smooth as she could have been but every trucking company needs to verify your employment history for DHS. There's a good reason - look at what happened in Berlin last month or Nice last summer.

I had the misfortune of working for a company that went bankrupt. I had to track down the CEO at his new job and ask him to vouch for me. Good luck getting the CEO of any publicly traded company to take you call. I got lucky.

Your rep was skeptical - how many stories do you think she's heard over the years? She was just doing her job. If that's all it takes to scramble your bacon trucking may not be for you.

Ryan F.'s Comment
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Take a step back and ask yourself, "Was it personal?" Your recruiter may not have been as smooth as she could have been but every trucking company needs to verify your employment history for DHS. There's a good reason - look at what happened in Berlin last month or Nice last summer.

I had the misfortune of working for a company that went bankrupt. I had to track down the CEO at his new job and ask him to vouch for me. Good luck getting the CEO of any publicly traded company to take you call. I got lucky.

Your rep was skeptical - how many stories do you think she's heard over the years? She was just doing her job. If that's all it takes to scramble your bacon trucking may not be for you.

I worked doing dispatch and am more than used to dealing with rude brokers, lying brokers, and rate-cutting brokers. I don't think my bacon is too easily scrambled. Working in logistics and supporting myself as a pizza deliveryman in college taught me not to take things too personally. However, I have a hard time taking a recruiter seriously when they instruct me to call them and then finish that call with, "I don't want to hear from you again until I get pictures of your passport stamps and an employment verification from Random Sandwich Delivery Place."

Dunno. Guess it could be just culture shock. I've spent the last couple years feeling like I was on even ground with my bosses, booking loads, and hiring drivers myself. I'll try not to take that sort of thing personally in the future, but I've never had an interview or hiring situation wherein the recruiter seemingly made a point to be rude.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Ryan, you simply can't write Prime off because of this. You are going to have issues because of being out of the country like you've been. I had to jump through all kinds of hoops to get my first trucking job. To be honest, I kind of chuckled when I read your post.

Recruiters will go for the low hanging fruit. You are going to have issues that will require extra work. That is why they told you to not call back until you got "x" number of things done. They want to see if you're really willing to do what is necessary to get into orientation. At this point you decided that you weren't.

I'm not gonna bore you wirh my experience, but I can assure you that if you want this bad enough you'll be a little more willing to jump through the hoops that are set before you.

You may find somebody who will bring you on board a little easier, but it will be years until they will be paying you like Prime will at the very start.

Old School's Comment
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I've spent the last couple years feeling like I was on even ground with my bosses, booking loads, and hiring drivers myself.

You should realize from your experience that drivers are the low man on the totem pole with just about the only authority they can exercise being whether or not they think conditions are safe to drive. Other than safety we have little or no say in anything.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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So how do you suppose you'll handle being a professional in the least respected profession in America today? How are you going to handle it when you get flipped off, cussed out, set aside, and cut off on a regular basis?

How are you going to handle it when you run all night through heavy snow and squeeze into the customer 15 minutes before your appointment time, exhausted and delirious but proud you did your job at such a high level with such commitment, only to be told to go sit in the parking lot and do nothing for six hours because the dock workers don't feel like dealing with you right now?

If you want to make a living in this profession and actually get anywhere with it you'll have to start by learning to humble yourself and be far less sensitive. Truck drivers get very little respect from anyone. Many of them don't even show each other any respect. If you're the type that worries about every word every person says to you, which at this point you clearly are, and you always needs kindness and reassurance and support from the people around you then trucking is the last place on Earth you want to be. The very last place.

And there's more bad news I'm afraid. Your limited experience in this industry doesn't mean anything to anyone. Working in the offices of a trucking company means absolutely zilch when it comes time to get behind the wheel. You're entering a whole different world with twenty times the complexity, risk, and pressure that you'll ever face in the offices. Heck, working as a librarian or training dogs will prepare you for life on the road as a trucker as well as working in dispatch or sales or brokering. In fact, it seems it might makes things worse for you because you're already acting as if you should be treated differently because you were once an "insider" like the recruiters and dispatchers and load planners you'll be dealing with. But quite honestly they're not going to care either.

If you want to get your career started as a driver you should approach it with a 'boot camp' mentality. It's going to be really stressful, super challenging, and overwhelming much of the time. You're going to face personalities you won't like, you're going to get talked down to at times, and you'll face "the rookie treatment" on a regular basis. Getting through that first year is a trial by fire and not many people can handle it to be honest. For many people it's a gruelling endurance test that requires being in an almost constant state of exhaustion, confusion, and loneliness. And there simply isn't going to be anyone there the overwhelming majority of the time to pat you on the back and thank you for leaving your home and family, working the equivalent of two full time jobs, and risking your life on a daily basis so the people of this great nation can live in comfort. You're just going to have to find satisfaction in your work. That's just how it goes in this industry. It's pretty much a take it or leave it kind of thing.

There are a ton of great companies that will help you get your career underway but you've already written off several of them for trivial reasons so I'm not going to go into making any recommendations. I would suggest you do some reading first to find out more about the challenges you're about to face getting started in driving. Because any experienced driver that reads the stuff you just wrote about your feelings and your expectations would probably give you an average life expectancy as a driver of about a week, maybe less. Almost no one would expect you to even make it through training, let alone survive out on the road. Heck, you're all bent out of shape over a phone call with a recruiter that didn't speak to you properly. You have almost zero chance of enduring what truck drivers go through.

Here's one last thing to consider. You've already mentioned not getting enough respect. Well no one, and I mean no one gets the benefit of the doubt when it comes to handling this profession. Until you've been out on the road for some time and you've proven that you're capable of being a top tier professional driver everyone is silently going to assume you'll fail like so many others. So if you're expecting to be treated as an equal by experienced drivers or your bosses then you're going to be horrified when you get out there and see it doesn't work that way. You won't get equal treatment by default. You'll get equal treatment once you've earned it over time.

If you want to do this badly enough that you'll endure the exhaustion, loneliness, lack of respect, fear, and stress that goes with this job then go for it. But it's plain to see that right now you're way too sensitive and you're expecting way too much. You start as a grunt from ground level zero and work your way up in this industry by proving yourself over time. If you have the character to handle that then you have a fighting chance.

Have a look at these resources. They'll help you understand the challenges you're facing a lot better:

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Ryan F.'s Comment
member avatar

Ryan, you simply can't write Prime off because of this. You are going to have issues because of being out of the country like you've been. I had to jump through all kinds of hoops to get my first trucking job. To be honest, I kind of chuckled when I read your post.

Recruiters will go for the low hanging fruit. You are going to have issues that will require extra work. That is why they told you to not call back until you got "x" number of things done. They want to see if you're really willing to do what is necessary to get into orientation. At this point you decided that you weren't.

I'm not gonna bore you wirh my experience, but I can assure you that if you want this bad enough you'll be a little more willing to jump through the hoops that are set before you.

You may find somebody who will bring you on board a little easier, but it will be years until they will be paying you like Prime will at the very start.

Thanks for the insight - I really do appreciate it.

I'll reach back out to Prime and the same recruiter after I come up with the reference letters she wanted. Honestly, I think I was just letting the stress of job hunting hit me around the head. My experience with trucking has so far been limited to the office side of operations, so I suppose I'm just being taken off guard by the first few steps into hauling. It doesn't help that I had a phone interview for a freelance writing gig before doing my call-back - there couldn't have been a bigger difference!

Going off what everyone has written so far, I'll try to readjust my expectations for hiring and orientation. I guess I just had a set expectations of what recruitment should be like, based off my past experiences, and thought something was off when it might not have been.

We'll see how it goes. I have to get three people in India to verify I was there before taking the process forward.

Regardless of whether Prime or Roehl pans out, I'm going to learn what I can and make the best of the experience.

Again, appreciate it a lot! I've gotten a ton of information from this forum and Reddit, which has made navigating all these applications and conversations a lot easier.

Ryan F.'s Comment
member avatar

If you want to get your career started as a driver you should approach it with a 'boot camp' mentality. It's going to be really stressful, super challenging, and overwhelming much of the time. You're going to face personalities you won't like, you're going to get talked down to at times, and you'll face "the rookie treatment" on a regular basis. Getting through that first year is a trial by fire and not many people can handle it to be honest. For many people it's a gruelling endurance test that requires being in an almost constant state of exhaustion, confusion, and loneliness. And there simply isn't going to be anyone there the overwhelming majority of the time to pat you on the back and thank you for leaving your home and family, working the equivalent of two full time jobs, and risking your life on a daily basis so the people of this great nation can live in comfort. You're just going to have to find satisfaction in your work. That's just how it goes in this industry. It's pretty much a take it or leave it kind of thing.

There are a ton of great companies that will help you get your career underway but you've already written off several of them for trivial reasons so I'm not going to go into making any recommendations. I would suggest you do some reading first to find out more about the challenges you're about to face getting started in driving. Because any experienced driver that reads the stuff you just wrote about your feelings and your expectations would probably give you an average life expectancy as a driver of about a week, maybe less. Almost no one would expect you to even make it through training, let alone survive out on the road. Heck, you're all bent out of shape over a phone call with a recruiter that didn't speak to you properly. You have almost zero chance of enduring what truck drivers go through.

If you want to do this badly enough that you'll endure the exhaustion, loneliness, lack of respect, fear, and stress that goes with this job then go for it. But it's plain to see that right now you're way too sensitive and you're expecting way too much. You start as a grunt from ground level zero and work your way up in this industry by proving yourself over time. If you have the character to handle that then you have a fighting chance.

Have a look at these resources. They'll help you understand the challenges you're facing a lot better:

Thanks for the feedback, Brett. I know driving will be a whole lot different from the office. I'm just trying to stitch my experiences together to form some of background to go work off. Clearly I have a lot to learn, and that's fine by me. Looking back on the situation, I probably did just let myself get bent out of shape over a small difficulty. While I'm not used to being in the position I am not, I suppose I either have to adapt or clear on out and apply to positions in another industry.

What's funny is that I've had to deal with mountains of other people's bull**** every time I work in India, but I still let myself get worked up about all this. I'm embarrassed! The decisions must be getting to me.

We'll see how it goes. I've worked seventy hours per week before and I'm sure I can do it again. However, I'm definitely a newcomer to trucking and have had my reservations about what the lifestyle might entail. Both of my former bosses, who drove before starting their companies, said that a year-long contract and commitment was going to be every bit as exhausting as you described. So, even if I'm up for a new challenge, I'm going to read through the resources you've provided to ensure this challenge is the right one for me.

Thanks again. I can see it's important to tuck my past work experiences away to build a perspective on something I don't know much about. I really do appreciate the frank opinions and the time you to took to give me feedback.

So far as companies go, I did read a lot of terrible reviews about CR England's training program and some less-than-favorable reviews about Swift (which one of the truckers I've been talking to encouraged me to stay away from).

Isaac H.'s Comment
member avatar

I would take the comments written by others with a grain of salt.

When i was looking for a company i couldn't find one company with some percentage of positive feedback and quickly realized that most of these comments were written by hacks who couldn't make it through orientation by their own fault and blamed the company with their one sided sob stories.

Get what they want and keep moving forward. It'll be worth it in the end. :)

Isaac H.'s Comment
member avatar

*by comments i meant reviews for the companies you're reading. Lol

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