Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Top 5 Skills To Look For When Hiring A Truck Driver

By: Morgan Mandriota, TeamOne Logistics

Employee turnover rates in the trucking industry are high due to the job’s long hours, stressful conditions, and lack of properly executed driver staffing . As an employer looking to hire new drivers, there are certain skills you should require that will both help your company thrive and ensure that you have a team of workers on which you can rely. 

Here are the five skills to look out for when hiring a new truck driver:

1. Basic maintenance ability. While there are maintenance people who work to keep fleets in tip-top shape, many situations arise on the road that drivers must know how to handle on their own. Simple things like changing a flat tire, fuse, light bulb, and fluids are all necessary skills to have for the job. On that note, your potential driver needs to be able to at least perform a basic diagnostic of what is wrong in order to address and fix the problem in the first place!

2. People skills. That’s right, a truck driver must be a people person. Although they may be isolated in the cab of a truck for most of the day, they still have to deal with the people on both ends of their trip. Customers on the loading and receiving ends need to know that they can trust the person carrying their cargo. Additionally, a good driver always stays on the good side of his or her dispatchers because they may have control over route assignments. 

3. Reliability and self-motivation. Getting to and from each location in a timely manner with all goods accounted for is one of the most crucial parts of the job. Drivers must be both reliable and self-motivated. Organizational skills also fall under this category, as a great trucker will be able to complete their paperwork and electronic logging, as well as arrange their schedules efficiently. They must be able to stay on top of their work and keep their knowledge and skill sets up-to-date in order to work to the best of their ability. After all, since they work without immediate supervision most of the time, it’s really up to them to make sure things go smoothly.

4. Alertness. This is important for any type of driver, business or recreational, but when looking for a truck driver, this is absolutely vital. Being defensive and aware of surroundings is key to remaining safe and arriving at destinations on time. There are many factors to consider, such as the condition of the truck, what’s going on with the road ahead, and what other drivers around them are doing. Staff must be alert to what standard conditions are in case anything is out of the ordinary. Whether it’s a strange smell or just the way the truck feels on the road, they should be able to recognize that there is a problem and be able to address it.

5. Proper qualifications. Of course, the basic requirement of the job includes having a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). This test ensures that potential drivers know the rules and regulations necessary for properly carrying heavy cargo. However, this is just the minimum! An excellent driver goes above and beyond, keeping up to date with company and government regulations and holding a near-perfect driving record. There are available courses that truck drivers can take beyond those for the CDL that will provide them with technical training and other valuable industry information. 

It goes without saying that these aren’t the only skills that a great truck driver should possess. However, as an employer, if you keep in mind these five basic characteristics during the hiring process, your company is sure to gain employees that set your company apart and provide a service standard that excels in the transportation field.

I take no compensation for posting this blog.

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