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September 2, 2021 11:30 AM, EDT

Trucking Recruitment Firms See Business Surge Amid Driver Shortage

Driver's hands on wheelwelcomia/Getty Images

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Trucking recruitment firms are seeing a surge in business as carriers seek to fill seats behind the wheel and address a driver shortage that was exacerbated by the pandemic.

“We have definitely seen an increase in driver demand from current customers, and have experienced a higher-than-normal volume of new customers,” Dennis Cooke, president of the truck driver staffing firm TransForce Group, told Transport Topics. “Carriers are not just looking for one solution. Many are opting to approach the driver demand from multiple angles.”

Those approaches include completely outsourcing their recruiting department, dedicated driver assignments and an increased willingness to use digital advertising to boost applications. He noted one of his firm’s most successful initiatives this year has been an entry-level driver program.

Dennis Cooke

Cooke

“We help carriers put together internal programs and help them work with their insurance providers to create a situation where they are able to bring in drivers right out of school,” Cooke said. “By owning our own CDL schools, we are also able to provide those drivers.”

Hire Velocity has recruitment expertise in a variety of industries, including transportation and logistics. The company sources potential drivers that are specific to what its clients are looking for instead of having a preset pool of candidates.

“We have seen a significant increase, not only in the number of companies that are reaching out that need help with driver recruiting, but then also the number of companies that have contracted or engaged with us,” Sara West, the company’s strategic development director, told TT. “We’re also seeing sign-on bonuses and higher compensation.”

Sara West

West

Stretching to September 2020, Hire Velocity has seen driver recruiting inquiries jump 227% — a stretch notable for its length and overall surge in interest, West noted

We’re getting a lot more inquiries from various transportation companies that are asking if we can help them recruit drivers,” she said. “We’re really seeing it across the board from the small transportation companies all the way up to the publicly traded companies that employ a lot of drivers.”

Driver recruitment and logistics staffing firm DriverSource saw the number of companies looking for recruiting help accelerate over the last five or six months as businesses started reopening, leading to some shifting of responsibilities, said Jeff Beard, regional vice president of business development.

“I’m in sales,” he told TT. “In the past, going back a couple of years, more of my day was spent actively going out and looking for customers. That kind of transitioned to now, where I’m helping out recruiting because I have customers that are calling us and beating down our door to look for drivers.”

Pre-pandemic, SL Recruiting Resources was getting about one to three inquiries a day for either its driver lead generation services — through which it captures and forwards leads to a customer — or its more full-service, third-party recruiting services where it handles recruiting end-to-end. Now it’s getting anywhere from six to 20 inquiries a day, said founder Wayne Boesiger.

Wayne Boesiger

Boesiger

“We noticed a pickup in the increases in clients on both fronts,” he told TT. “I’m also doing more consulting than I have in the past [with] companies who maybe have a decent-size digital marketing department internally, and — because we’ve got expertise in that area — we also help them with that. But, absolutely, we’ve seen a pickup in all types, across the board, whether it’s dry van, flatbed, reefer.”

Boesiger said the rise in inquiries has mostly translated to more lead generation clients. On the third-party recruitment side, clients have been more selective and, thus, the numbers have stayed fairly normal, he said. Plus, the company remains selective regarding third-party recruitment clients, he said.

“We want to focus on the companies we feel like we could best help,” Boesiger said. “We also give them real-time exclusive leads, which is what helps so much. But it’s more of a matter of who we will take on and who we won’t.”

Boesiger also stressed that carriers shouldn’t overlook the importance of driver retention.

Professional Driver Agency specializes in driver retention, producing market research on both recruitment and retention.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in companies that have wanted us to help with retention and with rehires,” Scott Dismuke, director of operations at PDA, told TT. “Also companies just inquiring about our services — that has increased over the last couple of years in particular, but it’s really been steady in the last three years. But I would definitely say the crunch really from this year — or probably from fall of last year — is when we started really seeing companies reaching out.”

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