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Check Call: Please don’t have somebody waiting on you

Canada border blockade | Midwest snowstorm

Check Call the Show. News and Analysis for 3PLs and Freight Brokers.

Hot Take


’Tis the season to start hiring interns, recent college graduates and seasoned veterans. New budget, new requisition, new me, but is it? It’s the worst best time to be a recruiter. You have to compete with everyone and their mother for the same candidates. Once you find one you like, it feels like you’re in the Hunger Games trying to make sure they don’t go anywhere. 

As a result of the current job market, it’s a good time to reevaluate hiring and recruitment processes. The average time to hire is 36 days, if you’re lucky. That’s from the first point of contact to the day that you offer him or her the job — over a month. 

While that might have worked in 2020, that’s a risky play in 2022. People are looking for jobs at a higher rate than before and a lot of other companies have sped up their interview process to sometimes just two weeks from start to finish. 

By shortening the hiring process you save on costs and resources, and people aren’t wasting their time pursuing someone to only have it not work out a few days later. The ongoing cost of the unfilled role is lower when you can find a replacement faster. Good talent goes fast and if you don’t move quickly, you’ll lose out on the perfect person and have to spend more time training someone who might not be as qualified. 

It’s about knowing what you want and moving on it quickly. To minimize this excess strain on everyone, take a good look at your hiring process. 

  • Struggling to find qualified candidates? 
    • Review the compensation and benefits package. 
  • Do you get qualified candidates but they’re gone before you can make it to the second interview? 
    • Look at how long the process was. Was there a seven-day wait after an application before a phone call? Was it two weeks between interviews? 

Evaluate your process to know where you need to improve in order to get the caliber of people you want. People don’t want to feel like they’ve wasted their time. 

With the good comes the bad. When you shorten your hiring process, you do run the risk of rushing the process or keeping things very surface level and missing that the candidate may not be a good fit for the company — meaning you’re right back where you started three months later. 

The most important part is to find a common middle ground. Make the most out of the first contact. Get the candidate’s questions. If the recruiter can’t answer them, make sure they get passed along and followed up with an email or covered in the next interview. Ask some of those bigger questions earlier in the process. Get buy-in from the hiring manager and senior leadership to carve out a couple of times in their weekly schedule if they have an open position for interviews. 

This is the time to show how flexible a 3PL can be. Come in hot and come in strong and it shouldn’t be a problem to get the qualified candidates. Now may the odds be ever in your favor.

Quick Hits

Photo: RCMP

O Canada: Hope you didn’t need anything. The U.S.-Canada border at SweetGrass, Montana, and Coutts, Alberta, has been temporarily shut down. The Freedom Convoy has set up camp at the border protesting the newly enacted vaccine mandate for cross-border truck drivers. The blockade has left some trapped at the border for days or having to find another way to cross into the U.S. Some drivers have lost money as a result of the blockade, but those supporting it have said it’s “the cost of war.”

While traffic has slowly started to move at the border as the blockade has ever so slightly dispersed, border wait times at Coutts are averaging about seven hours, the highest wait by a landslide across all Canadian border crossings. There are still protesters who will stay till they feel their demands are met. 

Should you find yourself with some cross-border loads through Montana, maybe pick one of the other five entry points and add some time onto that shipment if it absolutely has to go. 


Three states you don’t typically see in the same sentence are Oklahoma, Illinois and Missouri. A state of emergency has been called in all three as a result of Winter Storm Landon. The governors of each state mobilized National Guard troops to help communities prepare for the storm. Now that the storm has arrived, roads have been deemed “nearly impassible” for travel. 

The Midwest doesn’t quite have the fortitude and resources as the Northeast, but it does have bread, eggs and milk — the first things you buy when there is a call for snow. While a majority of cities are facing employment shortages when it comes to DOT services like snowplowing, the cleanup process could take longer than usual. Any shipment you have going through these three states, be prepared to roll that bad boy a day or two. The snow isn’t expected to stop until Thursday evening. It will take more than a day or two to get things back on track after Landon is done with us. 

TRAC Thursday

SONAR TRAC Market Dashboard

For those who might be living under a rock, the majority of the Midwest is getting hammered by snow, ice, rain — you name it, the Midwest has it. Highway patrols have said that travel on the roads is nearly impossible. Since not many trucks are able to move through, let’s take a look at the nice, calm Pacific Northwest, where there isn’t a multiday weather event. 

Seattle to Salt Lake City: We saw the rate per mile jump up toward the middle of January and never quite come back down. There has been some back and forth, but pretty much once it hit $4.66 a mile, it hasn’t deviated much from that. The market is starting to loosen in both Salt Lake and Seattle, putting downward pressure on spot rates, but I don’t know that the market has seen the effects of that pressure yet. 

How’d the lemonade stand do?


Oh how the turntables have turned. C.H. Robinson released its Q4 2021 earnings and while the truckload division has increased volumes 1.5%, its operating expenses increased 32.7%. The main reasoning for the uptick in operating expenses is higher incentive compensation, higher headcount and recognizing some of the pandemic cost-reduction initiatives implemented in 2020. The freight forwarding and ocean divisions of the business have grown double digits, despite the other divisions not quite performing to expectations.

With the bad comes the good, and that good is Saia. This LTL carrier had the definition of a good quarter. Compared to 2020 Q4 results, revenue per hundredweight was up, OR was up, stock was up — everything’s coming up Saia. Revenue growth in 2021 has been driven primarily by price, with volumes rounding out a third of the company growth. Revenue for the quarter came in at $617 million and diluted earnings per share was $2.76. The real question is can Saia keep up this success as it heads into 2022?

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Mary O'Connell

Former pricing analyst, supply chain planner, and broker/dispatcher turned creator of the newsletter and podcast Check Call. Which gives insights into the world around 3PLs and Freight brokers. She will talk your ear off about anything and everything if you let her. Expertise in operations, LTL pricing and procurement, flatbed operations, dry van, tracking and tracing, reality tv shows and how to turn a stranger into your new best friend.