Did you know that there are now 3.5 million truck drivers in America? Truck drivers are in high demand, and the job can be quite lucrative. But that doesn’t mean that all applicants to truck driving jobs automatically get hired.

It pays to know what to expect during the hiring process and how to make yourself a star candidate. Read on to learn what employers look for when hiring a truck driver!

Driving Experience

Trucking businesses generally prefer hiring individuals with a few years of experience. That’s because experienced drivers pose less of a risk on the roads. As a result, experienced drivers will be less of a liability for the trucking business.

Additionally, experienced drivers understand the intricacies of the job. They know how to make timely deliveries. Further, they bring a level of polish to their work that reflects well on the company.

But experienced drivers aren’t always interested in continuing on the same path with another company. As a driver who has logged thousands of miles, you may be eager to strike out on your own as an independent driver. When working with the right trucking business, you can eventually become an owner-operator truck driver.

Find a good trucking business with a lease-to-own program. In such a program, you’ll gain access to the credit and payment terms you need to make owning a big rig a reality. And when you reach your goal of ownership, you’ll have the flexibility to carve out your own schedule and routes!

Driving Skills

Not surprisingly, employers expect drivers to be efficient and careful drivers. This translates to knowing how to back out of tight spaces, change lanes, and maneuver around stalled cars.

Solid driving skills also can show up in how you handle unique terrain and elevations. Know how and when to apply brakes when heading down steep includes. And know how to accelerate in such a way that keeps your engine from straining.

Good drivers will avoid distractions and keep their eyes on the road at all times, too. As a potential new hire, be prepared to undergo a driving test.

Soft Skills

In a competitive job market, a good applicant needs more than just strong driving skills and experience. They should have essential soft skills that can make other aspects of their job easier, as well.

For instance, you’ll need to be a clear and consistent communicator. Truck drivers interact with dispatchers and other individuals on the road throughout the day. Being able to communicate delivery times, delays, and other key information is crucial.

Drivers also should be focused and patient. Traffic jams, delivery delays, and other obstacles can make a route frustrating. Employers want to see that you can persevere despite setbacks and distractions.

Being organized is essential, as well. Employers want to trust that you’ll keep up log books, maintain records, and update permits.

Technical Knowledge

Beyond driving well, you’ll want to display knowledge of your vehicle and industry. This can show employers that you possess a deep connection to trucking. And it can suggest that you have the ability to troubleshoot if you hit a mechanical issue on the road.

Employers prefer to hire drivers who know how to maintain their vehicles. Maintenance can include performing oil and fluid checks, as well as brake and filter checks. While you won’t be expected to know the details of your truck’s engine, it doesn’t hurt to have working knowledge of what’s happening under the hood.

That’s because an alert and knowledgeable driver can spot small issues before they balloon into big ones. But ultimately, a qualified mechanic should be the one completing significant repairs.

Safety First

Employers want to know that you have the technical skills and savvy to drive safely on the roads. Remember that each driver represents the trucking business that employs them. A poor driving record can jeopardize the business’s reputation and the safety of other drivers.

You should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the unique challenges of driving a truck. For instance, longer stopping distances and wider turns come with the territory. Be prepared to discuss and demonstrate your approach to driving a truck.

Further, even routine actions, like using a turn signal, can set you apart from careless drivers. Employers want to see that you abide by traffic laws and consider all details on the road.

It can work in your favor if you hold certification from an accredited CDL training program, too. This credential lets a potential employer know that you’ve been through rigorous coursework and driving tests that meet national safety standards. For employers, this credential may make insurance premiums less costly.

Background Check Screening

Finally, employers want to be certain that you have passed a background check. This helps employers feel confident that they are hiring a responsible driver who won’t bring baggage to their job.

Plan on passing a drug test, as well. Drivers are tested for substances like marijuana, opiates, and cocaine. Passing a drug test helps employers rest assured that drivers won’t be under the influence while driving.

Employers will learn about any criminal activity or issues that could impact your hiring, too. When in doubt, it’s always advisable to be transparent with employers about your record!

The Process of Hiring a Truck Driver

When a company is hiring a truck driver, they’ll want to see evidence that a candidate has proper credentials and a safe driving record. You should know the language of the industry and understand basic maintenance functions. In addition, plan on showing off some soft skills, such as clear communication and professionalism.

If you’re a truck driver looking for an opportunity to drive and eventually own your vehicle, contact us!