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Mastering driver recruitment requires superior technology and a holistic approach

FATJ's Recruit360 platform offers carriers technologically-advanced digital recruitment, as well as unique retention tools to gain competitive edge in tight markets

Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Hiring and retaining drivers is an art more than a science, one that mystifies and drains the budgets of the best hiring departments ⁠— especially those at larger companies, where turnover rates are often higher than those of smaller companies. While recruiters and human resource specialists are trained to engage the digital market to find the best and cheapest candidates in the shortest amount of time, they face an incredibly competitive and fragmented process. 

Frankly, most trucking companies don’t have the time, budget, technology expertise or current-event awareness to manage the recruitment process effectively. While they want the results, most carriers don’t realize the countless hours or investment of technology it requires to manage the different venues, regions and key words that those results require. 

“Trucking companies must also consider external factors in their hiring process like the recent enhanced unemployment benefits, which aren’t always motivational for people to return to work, as well as the explosion of e-commerce and the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse that pulls the driver population down,” said Cliff Antell, director of enterprise relations at FATj. 

In 2015, FATj launched as a job board ⁠— ⁠— and developed a strong brand for the trucker-specific segment, while also pioneering mobile technology as a legitimate and scalable venue to reach and engage with drivers. Since its launch, it has empowered over 1,000 carrier recruitment teams across the country with tools and expertise to boost their recruiting and retention processes.

In an interview with FreightWaves, CEO Bruno Stanziale said that a true partner in talent acquisition must embrace the challenge not only of recruiting but retaining that talent. While the driver churn might be seen as a boon for a job board’s business, Stanziale said, “That’s not really in the spirit of what we’re here to do.”

“Finding the right drivers is getting harder and harder,” he said. “Thus, the retention of the good ones is probably the most important thing companies can be doing because when you lose a good driver, it’s so much harder to get a good one back. You’re kind of like a hamster on a wheel and we’re here to break that trend. We’re introducing a complimentary set of tools to help holistically solve this challenge.”

Since its job-board beginnings, FATj has evolved its approach to talent acquisition and management by developing the sophisticated technology ecosystem required to keep pace with the digital recruitment market’s fragmentation. Its platform ⁠— Recruit 360 ⁠— contains four pillars: active and dynamic campaign management; direct recruitment services; custom technology services; and financial wellness and employee retention. 

While FATj serves carriers of all sizes, it’s the larger carriers that are seeing the highest rates of trucker retention from its services ⁠ ⁠— those same companies that statistically suffer from the most turnover. 

Stanziale attributes that success partly to the financial wellness program, which allows drivers immediate access to their earned wages for less than an ATM fee. When an employee requests access to earned wages, the ImmediatePay app funds their account, and their next paycheck reflects the deduction. It costs the trucking company nothing to operationalize and implement, and FATj can even bundle this benefit into a job ad to entice prospective drivers. After all, 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck, according to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey

“The financial wellness benefit provides a large trucking company the softer feel of a small to midsize company, which is what truckers really like to see,” said Stanziale. “It also displaces all those predatory payday loans and high interest rate credit card debt and helps the cash flow discrepancies that are stressful for any family between pay periods. It’s a tremendous benefit for transportation companies to go out there and differentiate themselves when they’re looking for drivers in a tight market.”

“We are considering the earned wage access program, because I think that will help us not just retain drivers, but also staff,” said Hector Sanchez, marketing executive at Mesilla Valley Transportation. “They’re helping us build a job board and integrate it with our CRM. They have gained our trust because they’re very transparent with everything.” 

The transparency Sanchez speaks of is FATj’s consultative approach with partners. Behind the scenes, FATj analyzes data for each partner at the granular level, like the performance of job ads and how that performance is affected by certain market locations or other external factors. By understanding the data and sharing those insights, FATj helps its partners understand why certain markets aren’t generating leads and how to redirect their efforts. 

“FATj understands the industry and truck drivers,” said Sanchez. “Other companies might create good ads and know how to run them, but you want a company who has the data, insights and transparency.”

Corrie White

Corrie is fascinated how the supply chain is simultaneously ubiquitous and invisible. She covers freight technology, cross-border freight and the effects of consumer behavior on the freight industry. Alongside writing about transportation, her poetry has been published widely in literary magazines. She holds degrees in English and Creative Writing from UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Greensboro.