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How Being a Job Candidate Helped Me as a Recruiter

A interviewee at a job event with recruiters

My job primarily consists of driver application reviews, interviews, and background checks. I also do advertising and marketing for recruiting drivers.

The purpose of all of this activity is to hire the best candidates for Pro Fleet. However, sometimes a seemingly great candidate ends up not being a great fit. The whole process is a two-part equation:

  • The candidate has to see the company as the best choice for him
  • I have to see the candidate as the best choice for the company

I’m always looking for a win/win situation for Pro Fleet and the driver.

Recently I was on the opposite side of the equation – recruiter turned job candidate. Of course, the thought process is still the same; I was looking for a win/win situation. I achieved this with my new role, and I also got a renewed appreciation for the candidate perspective.

The recruiter becomes the job candidate

As a recruiter, I need to see all the technical and legal “stuff” that indicates a good driver. I’m looking for good motor vehicle reports (MVRs), a clean Drive-A-Check (DAC) as well as clear drug and alcohol records. Above that, I am looking for the “fit”.

What I’m looking for are qualities such as good attitude and the ability to articulate their past experience in a meaningful way. These are stellar indicators for me. Working for a flatbed and curtain side carrier, I’m looking for drivers that understand and are comfortable with the physical aspects of the job.

When I was the job candidate the process was the same, and the tangibles were pretty cut and dry. I wanted to work for a company with great equipment and first-class benefits. Of course location and pay were at the top of my priority list, however, I also like a clean work environment and I’m a sucker for a good-looking terminal.

It was important to me that I work for a company where owners and management know the drivers by name. I view it as a big red flag when they can’t.

It was important to me
that I work for a company
where owners and management
know the drivers by name.

I want to work for a company where office staff and drivers are treated like individuals, and where the other employee’s work ethics run parallel to mine.  Most of all I wanted to work for a place that would utilize the broadest array of my professional skills.

Pro Fleet fit the bill perfectly!

When a job doesn’t feel like the right fit

Before I met anyone at Pro Fleet, I had already accepted a position with a group of flatbed steel haulers close to home. I was set to start the job in two weeks, however, I did not feel 100% comfortable with my decision.

This company seemed like a good fit, but the more time I spent thinking about it, the more the intangibles didn’t seem right. The owner and managers I met with at the terminal were dressed in suits! I had never seen anyone in a suit at a truck terminal before. They seemed very unapproachable.

Before my interview, I was emailed a letter outlining expectations for the interview, one of which was a formal presentation that I was to give to a room full of people. There were other expectations such as an IQ test and various profile type texts as well as multiple interviews; all of which seemed to be a psychological evaluation.

I had very little time to converse with the team about the equipment, service, routing, drivers, or any of the other fun stuff that makes my world go round.  Once the feeling of victory for having landed the job wore off, I was left with a feeling of YUCK!

Finally the perfect fit at Pro Fleet

I had a streak of luck two weeks before starting with the other company. I was introduced, through a mutual friend, to Chris Wood; the owner of Pro Fleet.

My interview with Chris and Pro Fleet was a sharp contrast to the steel haulers interview. For our first meeting, Chris and I met at a location near my house that felt homey and comfortable.

The meetings were business-like but still personable. He explained how they ran their service program and was very open to my ideas. He answered all of my questions clear and directly. There was some testing I had to do, but Chris explained how they used the test results to effectively manage and motivate office staff and drivers. We talked about the drivers and the equipment; Pro Fleet runs Peterbilts, a personal favorite.

JACKPOT! I had found my fit.

Using my experiences to recruit truck drivers

My experience as a candidate mirrors the experiences I see my new recruits having. Our conversations always start with the tangibles such as equipment, routing, pay and home time. But, before a decision can be made we always have to get through the intangibles, which are always personal and unique to each driver I work with.

My recent experiences transitioning to a new job has served as a reminder to be warm and open with candidates. It is important to answer potential driver’s questions in a straightforward way, to make them feel comfortable and to give them space to do their own assessing. We must treat and respect every potential driver as an individual.

Finding the right fit and balancing the equation will happen when recruiters work in a way that treats the candidate driver as an equal decision maker in the hiring process. This will go a long way in making the potential driver feel confident in their ultimate decision.