Driver Employment Application Strategies: Which One is Right for You?

Driver Employment Application Strategies: Which One is Right for You?

In today’s transportation industry, carriers are all fighting to win over the same limited pool of drivers. Typically, drivers are applying to multiple companies at the same time. And, as such, the first responder usually wins. So how do you ensure that you have the best shot at getting the attention of these drivers? Unfortunately, there is no one “silver bullet” answer. However, there are several driver recruiting strategies your company can evaluate to maximize the number of applications and leads your company receives. There are pros and cons with each of these strategies, so it’s important to be aware of those when evaluating your driver application approach. 

Go Mobile or Go Home

First and foremost, we know that drivers have a lot of choices. If you don’t make it easy for them to apply, then they will move on to another carrier that will. Whichever driver recruiting application strategy you choose; be sure it is optimized for a mobile device. Today, more than 80% of applications and lead forms are submitted through either a smartphone or tablet. Without a mobile-enabled application, you are almost certain to lose the attention of the driver.

This App is Too Short

So how much information is the “right” amount to request from the applicant? There are many different schools of thought on this. Do you ask a driver to complete a simple lead form providing contact information and a few qualifying questions, a short application with some basic information and signed required release forms, or a comprehensive DOT-compliant application?

Many factors go into the final decision on the right approach. Some aspects to consider include: the volume of applications you receive, the quality of those applications, and the staffing ratio of recruiters/processors to the applications/leads received. A company that decides to offer a simple lead form as an initial application in pursuit of getting as many contacts as possible must be sure they have the required staffing resources to follow up and capture the information necessary for the full qualification process.

This App is Too Long

On the opposite end of the spectrum are those companies that use the application as the first qualifier in evaluating if the applicant is worthy of driving for the company. This is a strategy many companies with strong brands have used in the past since they are considered “most desirable”. These companies have been able to be more selective as their applicant intake is generally higher than the average carrier. The thought behind employing this strategy is if the driver isn’t willing to spend the energy to provide all the required information, then they must not be seriously interested in working for the company. Unfortunately, due to the current driver shortage, that strategy is not as popular today. Most companies don’t have the luxury of being as selective as they once were and are now fighting to attract drivers. In a perfect world, this is the most cost-effective strategy for your recruiting and compliance departments because it places the burden of entering the data on the drivers — positioning the staff to immediately begin the qualification process instead of entering data.

Is This App Just Right?

So, while keeping your eye on the goal of hiring QUALITY drivers QUICKLY (while adhering to DOT regulations), a third option that many companies are executing is a “middle-of-the-road” approach which requires that drivers submit basic contact information, qualification questions, and release forms so that the recruiting staff has a good idea of the quality of the applicant and can immediately begin requesting reports for those who meet the basic requirements. This approach serves the driver well, since they don’t need to spend a lengthy amount of time to complete the initial application process (no more than 10-12 minutes) and, for the recruiting staff, reduces the time it takes to gather additional information through phone calls, chats, emails, and texts to the drivers to begin processing the application. While this approach sounds perfect, don’t forget that at the end of the day, a DOT-compliant application is still required for onboarding.

No One Size Fits All, But All Sizes May Fit One

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the driver employment application strategy. Ultimately, companies need to determine which type of application – or combination of applications – is right for them, without compromising the leads received or staff time and resources necessary to process the applications. Striking the right balance of brevity (easy for the driver to complete in a few minutes) and quality (to make sure your recruiting team isn’t spending valuable time on a driver who is not a good fit) is the goal. Some employment applications today are built to accommodate a multiple-application strategy, offering a different application experience based on the type of device through which the driver is applying. This is a very user-friendly driver recruiting strategy if executed correctly. However, if you implement this approach, be sure that the information from each of the applications carries over to the next. Nothing turns a driver (or anyone) off more than having to re-key the same information multiple times. 

Food for Thought

The important thing to remember is that the application process needs to be as simple as possible for the driver while balancing your staff and resources to manage and onboard those drivers as quickly and efficiently as possible so your company can be the “first responder”.

To learn more about EBE’s recruiting and onboarding solutions, visit or call 800.447.0612.

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