So you didn’t get the job. It happens to everyone at one time or another, so don’t take it personally. The best thing you can do at a time like this is to take a step back and evaluate your situation. When bad news rears its head, you can burn a lot of bridges if you’re not careful. Giving someone “a piece of your mind” is tempting, but when you’ve already spent a lot of time and effort cultivating some good connections at a carrier, there’s no sense in letting all your hard work go to waste. If you keep your cool and play your cards right, you can use those connections to make yourself an even stronger candidate for the next job.
First Things First: Don’t Blame the Messenger
If you’ve received a rejection from your carrier of choice, it’s easy to feel like the recruiter has wronged you. You might feel like they led you on through the whole process, only to drop you at the end. Nothing could be further from the truth! Your recruiter is probably almost as disappointed as you are in this situation. It’s the recruiter’s job to hire drivers, and they put in a lot of work into helping you through the recruiting process because they thought you’d be a valuable driver for their company.
In almost every case when a recruiter gives you bad news, the recruiter had nothing to do with the decision. So don’t take it out on them. Getting mad at your recruiter can only ensure that the recruiter never wants to deal with you again, writing off any future chance of you getting a job at that company. A recruiter can’t make the final decision to hire you, but, if you treat them poorly, they can make the decision to not return your calls and make sure any future applications you send to that carrier end up in the garbage. Be polite and professional in all your interactions, even when you are upset.
Second: Dig a Little Deeper (Who is Making the Decisions?)
So if the recruiter isn’t making the ultimate decision to hire you or not, who is? The answer will vary from carrier to carrier, but usually the people making the decisions are some combination of company management, operations, the safety department, the company lawyers, and the insurance company. Each of these groups weighs in on the decision and has a set of requirements in place that a prospective driver must meet before they are approved for hire.
The requirements put in place by all of these different groups of managers make the approval process to hire any given driver a challenge. These regulations can be frustrating to deal with, even for the recruiters. The requirements that the hiring committee have set in place don’t always make sense, and it’s almost certain that some of the requirements are arbitrary or out of date.
When most carriers tell a driver “No,” they don’t mean “Never” — they mean “Not right now.”
Unfortunately, the reality is that even when these requirements are out of date, nonsensical, or arbitrary, you’re still going to be hired or passed up based on how well you meet them, even when you’re otherwise completely qualified.
No, Never, Not Right Now
When most carriers tell a driver “No,” they don’t always mean “Never” — they often mean “Not right now.” If you were overlooked for a job, odds are you didn’t meet one of the many requirements the hiring committee may have put in place. While you may not meet all of their qualifications right now, many carriers will actively try to stay in touch with you. These carriers recognize that there is a huge number of otherwise excellent candidates they’ve had to pass on, simply because they need to meet one or two more requirements; once you have, they will be eager to hire you.
The best plan of action is to send a polite follow-up email to your recruiter asking if there were any particular requirements you didn’t meet that may have caused you to have been overlooked for the job. Such an email shows that you’re still interested in future employment opportunities with that carrier, and looking to improve and grow as a candidate and a driver. Once you know the reason you were overlooked, you know what you need to do to make yourself a more attractive driver. It might be something as simple as waiting for a violation to drop off your MVR, or gaining a little more experience. It also could be something as seemingly arbitrary as the fact that they feel you live too far from their terminal or their lanes.
In addition to finding out what a recruiter’s deal-breakers are, the following steps can help you prepare to be a solid candidate in the future:
1) Make sure you understand what you need to change the next time you apply in order for things to work out more favorably.
2) Remember to double-check that your recruiter has up-to-date and accurate information from you; something as simple as forgetting to update your new address could make a recruiter write you off as a candidate.
3) Be prepared to accept the feedback you receive with an open mind, because there may be several requirements you didn’t meet that you might not have expected or even heard of.
4) Even if the requirements you didn’t initially meet throw you off or seem frustrating, just remember that you now have valuable information to help you as you apply to your next job, and a distinct advantage over many other drivers.
Make Sure Your Background Check is Accurate
Another reason that drivers can find themselves passed over is because of a bad background check. If so, remember that you’re entitled to receive a free copy of your background check from the carrier. These are usually sent via email or a letter to your mailing address, so it’s important to make sure that the contact information the carrier has on file for you is correct and up-to-date. Once you’ve received your copy of your background check, take the following steps:
1) Carefully read it over to make sure that all of the information is accurate.
2) Double-check that every accident or incident listed on the background check is correct. Errors in your report can be caused by something as simple as a data entry mistake at the DMV or as complicated and serious as identity theft.
3) If everything is accurate in your background check but you don’t understand why you were turned down for the job (as in, yes, you had that accident on your MVR, but you don’t believe it should disqualify you), you may want to take the time to read over the hiring requirements listed for the job and make sure you understand them correctly.
4) Keep in mind that although you may think you still qualify for the job with your background check, the hiring requirements set in place by higher-ups at the companies you apply for can be hard to understand and may not even make much sense, and ultimately there’s not much you can do to change their decision or their policies.
5) What you can do going forward is use the information you know is in your background check to help you look for another carrier or position that has hiring requirements you can meet.
If you find any inaccuracies in your background check, then you have the problem of finding out how to get it fixed. Background checks are often pulled from several different sources, including state DMVs, court systems, and third parties (like DAC/HireRight), so inaccuracies aren’t uncommon. However, getting those inaccuracies fixed is extremely important.
Often, carriers use more than one company in their background-check process. For instance, they may use one to obtain a criminal report, and a separate company to obtain driving records. Whenever a carrier gives you a copy of your reports, they should include the background check company (or companies) they got the reports from. Each of these companies has a department or group of employees you can contact to handle problems with inaccuracies.
Usually these departments will be called “Consumer Support” or “Consumer Department.” Unfortunately, like all bureaucracies, they’ll have a series of steps you’ll have to follow in order to get even the simplest mistakes on your report fixed, so brace yourself.
One thing the consumer reporting agency can’t help you with is whether a specific item on your report will disqualify you from a job at a given carrier. They can’t help you argue with a carrier that the ticket you did receive was a “bad” ticket that shouldn’t count because the speed limit was not well marked.
Remember that throughout this process, you do have certain rights and protections in place, and you can find them at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.