The Biggest Mistake New Drivers Make When Speaking With Recruiters

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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.

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