Job Seeking and Preparing For A Driver Interviewby Holly Plude - Published: 4/17/2017
There’s a lot of conversation regarding what to do while at work, but that advice only works if you presently have a truck driving job.
Even though many trucking positions are available, it can still be difficult to obtain the ideal opportunity. The biggest mistake too many truck drivers make is thinking they do not need to project a professional image via their resume and actual interview. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Gone are the days of applying for a trucker job in jeans and a t-shirt. Today’s drivers are more sophisticated than ever before, and hiring departments expect more than they did in years past.
January 5th: Trucker Faces 20 Years After Pleading Guilty To Smuggling Alien Found Dead In Locked Toolbox
January 2nd: Police Identify 2 Oregon Truck Drivers Killed In Fiery Head-On Crash
December 27th: Iowa First Of Eight States To Debut New Truck Parking Information System
Where to look for work
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find out about open positions. Why? When you have a friend or loved one who works for a company and they speak highly of the company, you already know that you have a better than average chance of liking it there. Having said that, be careful not to take advantage of the relationship you have in order to get the job. You never want to burn a bridge, especially with friends and family!
Drivers also look for opportunities through other outlets. It’s known that drivers most frequently search for their next career online most frequently. Job boards for specialized industries such as trucking are one of the most convenient and intuitive ways to search and apply for the next position behind the wheel.
Make no mistake, a driver needs a resume. I have reviewed hundreds of resumes in my time and I can tell you what the most common resumes mistakes are that will keep you from being in the running for good jobs:
- Spelling errors: Spell check is as common as breathing these days, use it!
- Grammar errors: You do not have to be an academic to use proper grammar. Programs such as Grammarly offer a free service to review your document for grammar mistakes.
- Formatting mistakes: I don’t think anything made me crazier then formatting mistakes. They are so easy to see and simple to fix that I sometimes wondered if people ever actually looked at their resume. It’s the simple things that often times get your resume put in the "no" pile. Make sure a resume's spacing and font type and size are uniform. Do not use fancy fonts or color paper if you are mailing in a resume by mail. Both make your resume hard to read and more likely to be passed over.
- Overall accuracy: Ensure that the names of businesses and locations are correct. Ensure that the last company you worked with was indeed, in Texas and that the phone number you have for your reference is accurate.
Watch Your Social Media Posts
Over the past several years, it has become increasingly common to view an applicant’s Facebook page to determine suitability for the job. Although this may seem like an invasion of privacy, it actually is not. If it’s out on the internet it’s free game - so to speak. And if you are positing pictures doing shooters with beer chasers until your passed out, good luck ever finding a decent job. I have personally had an experience where I was reviewing an applicant’s Facebook page (which was public) and read a post a few weeks old that said something along the lines of “so glad that cop didn’t charge me with drunk driving.” She immediately went in the no pile. I don’t know if she was really drunk, or if she was really pulled over, but it didn’t matter, posting that kind of information for the world to see did not instill confidence in me that she would represent our company well.
The Telephone Interview
More and more companies are choosing to use the telephone interview in order to conduct the initial interview. This initial interview is crucial and just because it is not face-to-face does not make it any less important.
- Schedule the interview for a time when you can be in a quiet location and you have access to your resume and are able to take notes (i.e., not while you are driving down the road).
- Have your resume in front of you to reference. Have pen and paper to take notes. Have a list of potential questions to ask at the end of the interview, with five or six possible questions available. If you have only one or two questions, and those questions are answered throughout the interview then you will be caught at the end of the interview with no questions to ask, and that is likely a recipe for not landing the second interview.
- Do not have the television or radio on. Do not have your computer or cell phone out. You want to avoid all distractions during the interview.
- Sit up straight. Now that seems silly, right? You better believe it’s very important because when you sit up straight, your voice projects stronger and clearer. That helps you sound more confident.
- Research the company. You likely already know that this is important in an in-person interview. Well, it’s equally important during a telephone interview. You need to demonstrate that you want to work for this company and one of the single best ways to do that is by showing your ardent interest in them. In researching you can ask questions such as, "What radius of Southern California does this company serve?" or "Considering that we are in Florida, are there any weather concerns I might face on my route during certain times of the year?"
- Have a copy of the job description in front of you. A mistake I have personally made is not being clear about the position I was interviewing drivers for. I lost out on a good opportunity because I had gotten confused and thought I was interviewing for a position that was for a different company. Plus, when you are asked what makes you an ideal candidate you can recite highlights from the posted job and how you can best fill those needs.
- Be conversational. A conversation is a back and forth exchange of thoughts and ideas. Often during an interview, the candidate naturally becomes nervous and either talks too much or not enough. You want to ensure there’s a conversational balance. Never talk over the interviewer and never ever interrupt them. Many times, it seems like the interviewer is never going to give you an ounce of time to speak. Don’t worry - what’s important is how you respond. If they talk over you, interrupt you or speak non-stop, it could be a tactic to find out how you communicate, or how you respond to stressful situations.
At the end of the interview always ask what the next steps are. Do not leave it up in the air. You want to know the time frame for hearing back from a company regarding a second interview. You also want to know what their standard procedure is for contacting you regarding the next step. II may be a company policy to not call or email to tell you that you will not be considered further (which would mean no news is bad news) or they may let you know one way or another.
The Face-to-Face InterviewYou did it, you landed an in-person interview. Here’s where you really shine! A few things to keep in mind:
Dress for success. As I mentioned previously, a suit and tie is not necessarily appropriate for a job that will require you to wear a polo shirt and a company jacket, but a pair of slacks and a button-down shirt for men and for women either a pair of slacks and a nice blouse for women will do just fine.
- Bring with you at least two copies of your resume, a list of references from those who view you as a responsible driver and one copy of all the information you would need to fill out an application.
- Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. This shows that you respect their time and that you can be counted on to be punctual for work and will be able deliver to clients on time. This means that you need to leave home for the interview with plenty of time to account for traffic delays.
A key concept to keep in mind – you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. Have clearly in mind what you want. Don’t be incouragable in discussing them, but if you do not feel it is the right fit, you don’t have to take the job. But in order to determine if it would be the right fit, you must prepare questions that will give you insight into the company culture. A company based out of Wisconsin may be the perfect fit for someone who grew up in the Heartland, but may be a difficult assimilation process for a driver who has primarily worked in the south.
As with the telephone interview, make sure before you leave that you clearly know how and when they will inform you of their decision, either way.
As you are exiting the interview, verbalize - if it’s true - that you want the particular trucking job. You can say something like, “I look forward to working with you.”, or, “I am an ideal fit for this position. I really want to work for this company.”
Conduct a follow-up after the interview.
Within 24 hours send an email to your interviewer thanking them for their time and reiterate that you are looking forward to working with them. Sending a hand-written letter expressing thanks may seem old-fashioned, but it is an excellent way to make you as a candidate stick out among others.
If they tell you it will take them a week to decide, do not pester them before that. If a week has passed it is completely acceptable to either call or send a brief email stating you are following up to your interview, listing the date and time. Be brief, polite and above all, professional.
There are many terrific professions that can be found in the trucking industry. Conduct yourself as a professional through the process and you will find that you are more qualified than you may give yourself credit for.