The Biggest Mistake New Drivers Make When Speaking With Recruiters

by Brett Aquila

Recruiters for truck driving schools and trucking companies are a valuable resource for anyone considering a career as a truck driver. But far too many new drivers equate the professionalism of the recruiter with the quality of the company or school, and that couldn't be further from the truth. Let's take a look at what a recruiter's job is, how they can be valuable to you as a potential driver or student, and what mistakes you should avoid when interpreting the conversations you're having with recruiters.

Recruiters Are Salespeople


First of all you have to understand that the primary job of a recruiter in the trucking industry is to "sell you" on their school or company, exactly the same way any salesperson sells a product or service for their company. Most of the time a recruiter will be paid a commission for "making the sale" and bringing in a new driver or student.

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Every business needs to promote their product or service. Paying the recruiter a commission for doing a great job is motivation for the recruiter and it can work to your advantage, or to your disadvantage, depending on how you interpret your interactions with the various recruiters.

How Is A Recruiter Valuable To You?

A recruiter will help you understand the best reasons for attending their school or working for their company. Every school and company is a little different. Each has its own perks and advantages over the others. The recruiter should know these well and present them to you right away. In fact, one of the very first questions you should ask is "What advantage does your organization have over your competition?"

Often times you will learn about perks or benefits by speaking with a recruiter that you had never even considered. A particular school or company might sound like the right fit for you until you hear about something a competitor has. This new information may instantly become a game-changer, causing you to reconsider your options carefully.

Maybe one school will let you stay after class and practice your skills in the truck for free where the others wouldn't. Maybe one school has several different transmissions in their trucks so you get some experience with each, where the other schools only have one type of transmission in all of their trucks.

Maybe one trucking company lets you have your choice of different loads and the others have forced dispatch where you have to take whatever you're given. Maybe one trucking company has APU's in their trucks to help keep the driver comfortable in states with no-idling policies and the other companies don't.

There are a lot of different considerations when choosing a truck driving school or finding the right truck driving job. Speaking with many different recruiters may open you up to possibilities you hadn't even considered.

What The Recruiter Can Not Help You With

The recruiter's job usually ends once you are signed up. Once the classes have begun at CDL school or you're out on the road with your new trucking company, the recruiter collects their check and they're on to the next driver. The promises they made are forgotten, unless you get them in writing. The conversations you had mean nothing any longer. They have no authority, nor any real interest in you anymore, nor should they.

Taking care of current students or drivers is the job of Human Resources, not recruiting, so you'll likely never speak with them again. If you're a student at school, it's your trainers that will make all the difference when it comes to the quality of your training, not the recruiter. If you're a driver, it's your dispatcher and load planners that will make the difference when it comes to your miles and home time, not the recruiter.

So don't get the impression that the recruiter can make things happen for you once you sign on the dotted line. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Once you're signed up, their job is over with.

How Are Recruiters Assigned?

First of all, the recruiter you were assigned could have been randomly selected. What if the only available recruiter to take your call is hung over from a night of drinking, or going through a rough divorce, or came into work sick that day? They're simply not going to have that enthusiasm, that spark, that attentiveness. What if you would have called five minutes sooner? Your call may have been routed to the recruiter in the next cubicle - the go-getter, the happy-go-lucky professional who loves their job, the one eager to increase that commission check at the end of the month. It's still the same company or school, but a completely different experience for you.

Then again, maybe you're dealing with a small CDL school or trucking company that only has one recruiter, or doesn't have a recruiter at all. Maybe recruiting is simply handled by whoever is available in the office to take your phone call. The bottom line is you have no idea who your recruiter will be or whether or not they'll be any good at what they do. Don't place too much importance on the quality of your recruiter in making career decisions.

Some Good Recruiters, Some Bad

Just like any profession, some recruiters are great at what they do, some are not.

The recruiters that are great at what they do, the true professionals, know what sells. They call you back as quickly as possible, they always answer your emails, they speak with enthusiasm and passion about the quality of their school or company, and they encourage you to take action and join their school or company as quickly as possible. That's the right way to sell, and it's effective. Speaking with a great recruiter makes you feel important and makes the school or company seem like they genuinely care about you.

The recruiters who aren't very good at what they do are also fairly common in the industry. You can't get the recruiter on the phone, they don't return phone calls or emails, and they seem indifferent to you personally. Speaking with them makes you feel as if the school or company doesn't really care about you or understand your unique situation. The opportunity to begin a new career in trucking is a life-changing event for you and understandably you want to work with people who care about getting your trucking career off to a great start. A lousy recruiter makes you feel as if you're not working with the right school or company.

The Bottom Line: Know What Matters

Do not make the mistake of believing the quality of the recruiter is representative of the quality of the school or company. The recruiters should be able to give you all of the great reasons for attending a certain school or driving for a certain company, and that's exactly the information you're after. But don't make the mistake of thinking the company or school is only as good as the recruiter. There's no correlation there at all. If you're not happy with a recruiter, request a different one. Do not abandon the school or company because you didn't like the recruiter. Some of the best schools and companies have a few lousy recruiters in the bunch. You may miss out on a fantastic opportunity based on something that really means nothing in the end.


Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.


Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.


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.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.


Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.


Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

by Brett Aquila

Related Articles:

Recruiters, Companies, And Schools - Choosing The Right Path Into Your Trucking Career

by Ranting Warrior

Its funny how much getting started in trucking is so similar to getting started in the military. It takes much thought and soul searching for both.

The Shift From Computers To A Trucking Career Begins

by Adrian Nunenkamp

New to the trucking industry and fresh out of a career in the computer industry, I've found a trucking school and I'm beginning my CDL classes.

What You Need To Know Before Choosing A Truck Driving School

by Tanya Bons

Choosing a truck driving school is not difficult when you know the right factors to consider. Here is a great article to help you choose your CDL training

5 Advantages Of Company Sponsored CDL Programs Vs. Private Truck Driving Schools

by Driver Solutions

There are numerous advantages to company-sponsored CDL training over private truck driving schools and in this article we'll talk about them in detail.

Understanding Pre-Hire Letters: The What, Why, And How Of This Important Step

by Tanya Bons

Pre-hire letters are a very important step when beginning your truck driving career. We'll cover what they are, why they're important, and how to get em.

Factors Affecting Job Placement In The Trucking Industry

by Tanya Bons

Finding a truck driving job after graduating from CDL training is not guaranteed. Here we cover factors affecting your chances of finding work in trucking

How To Cut Through The Negativity And Choose The Right Trucking Company To Start Your Career

by Brett Aquila

With all of the negativity surrounding the trucking industry, how do you choose the right company to work for and what do companies look for in a driver?

Private Schooling Versus Company-Sponsored: The Basic Differences

by Brett Aquila

Company-sponsored CDL training versus private CDL training is one of the first big career decisions you'll make. Here's a quick rundown of the differences.

What Are The Best Types Of Freight For A Rookie To Haul?

by Brett Aquila

What are the best types of freight for rookies to haul? Which should be avoided? Which pay the best? We'll cover it all right here.

Why I Prefer Paid CDL Training Over Private CDL Training

by Brett Aquila

I feel paid cdl training, or company-sponsored training, has several advantages over a private truck driving school. I'll cover the differences and my reasons in this article.

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More