We All Need a Little R&R!

We all need a little R&R to refresh and re-energize our minds. This month was no exception. Two weeks ago, Carlo Solorzano and I were thrilled to attend the 2018 Recruitment & Retention Conference hosted by Conversion IA, American Trucking Association, and Transport Topics, in Nashville, TN – America’s music capital and most welcoming honkey-tonk town.

Hailing from the state of Texas, I am a keen believer in bigger and bolder – and the R&R conference was just that, raising participation by more than double. It’s a great event that gathers sharp-minded, passionate professionals discussing industry trends and insights about the transportation industry. 

Driver Recruiting

After Phil M. Jones, motivational speaker, ignited the crowd with a talk on the “Art of the Sale,” respected Chief Economist for the American Trucking Associations, Bob Costello, delivered a gripping outlook on the trucking industry. For us, the most stirring statistics were related to the driver market shortage, a concerning topic at the forefront of our clients’ business challenges.

  • Truck Driver Turnover Rates: 86% in 2017,  up from 81% in 2016—a 5% Year-Over-Year Change
  • Population: 10 Million CDL Holders, 3.5 Million “Truck” Drivers, 1.7 Million Heavy & Tractor-Trailer Drivers, 864,000 For-Hire Trucking Heavy & Tractor-Trailer Drivers
  • Driver Shortage: 55,000 in 2017 and expected to grow at a rate of 30% – 35% a year, reaching 160,000 by 2026

Source: Truck Driver Shortage Analysis 2017

The indisputable fact here is that the industry is bleeding for drivers! While solving the driver shortage will not happen overnight, here at Tenstreet we are continuously creating solutions to address these pain points and rolling out initiatives to provide relief. For example, we have partnered with CDL schools across the country to identify talent early and connect new drivers with carriers when they graduate or reach the DOT-required age. If you work with a school or are interested in hearing more about this program, you can read more here: Tenstreet’s Truck School Network Eases Hiring Pains.

Throughout the course of two days, there were a handful of incredible breakout sessions, many led by our respected clients. Even though each session presented compelling arguments on different trucking topics, there were two that I would like to further delve into and expand on.

  1. Redefining the Recruiting Experience for Drivers | Celadon Trucking | Whitney Boyer, VP Marketing and Dave Chesterman, VP Recruiting
  2. Flipping the Script on How You Work Your Driver Leads | Covenant Transportation | Rob Hatchett, VP Communications & Recruiting

Whereas “Redefining the Recruiting Experience for Drivers” was a more introspective look at the driver experience and “Flipping the Script on How You Work Your Driver Leads” focused more on how recruiters can effectively increase conversion rates, both sessions explored:

  • how to recruit productively,
  • the need for a defined recruitment process, and
  • overall recruiting best practices.

Below I have extracted a few business challenges raised during those sessions and the capabilities we have today to solve them. But before diving right in, I wanted to outline certain relevant figures to further emphasize the importance of having sustainable, effective recruiting strategies. For example, see the approximated costs of having an empty truck on the lot and projected costs over time:

 Empty Trucks
Duration1 Truck25 Trucks50 Trucks
1 Day$550$13,750$27,000
1 Week$3,850$26,950$192,000
1 Month$15,400$385,00$770,000

Source: Conversion Interactive Agency

The takeaway, obviously, is that you cannot afford to have empty trucks. It negatively impacts your bottom line and has a ripple effect throughout your organization on everything from potential lost contracts to lower profit margins.

Mobile Strategy & Applicant Behavior

One of the most frequent questions posed to attendees was “Is the driver experience mobile?” From our interactions with prospective clients, this remains one of the most overlooked and disregarded aspects of the recruiting experience.

The life of a trucker isn’t easy. A driver can drive 60 hours in one week and be away for 6 weeks at a time. On top of being emotionally and psychologically challenging, this schedule leaves little time for breaks.

Even so, carriers are surprised when drivers are unable to successfully submit a DOT application to them.  I often hear from prospective clients that if a driver is unwilling to complete their existing application, they do not want to employ that driver. This is a distressing and perplexing statement to hear for me. When you truly consider the challenges drivers face, asking them to fill out a DOT application that traditionally takes 40-45 minutes is a tall order. For this reason, according our market studies, only 15% of applications started are ever completed.

To mitigate this pain on both sides, we have designed our application “mobile-first” to maximize the number of completed applications, which leverages the power of our unmatched network effect.

As you can imagine, filling out a 40-45 minute application via a 3’ to 6’ mobile screen can be a struggle. Through our DOT-compliant application, IntelliApp, we can significantly reduce the completion time to minutes! When a driver enters his name, DOB and SSN, our system will match that driver to any past applications he’s submitted. 3 out of 5 times, we have the driver’s information stored in our database and can auto-populate his information, and on average, this will result in completed applications 83% of the time.

We can collaborate with you to build your ideal recruiting strategy. If you only wish to capture basic information and responses to brief qualifying questions, we can provide you with a micro-app (condensed version of the full IntelliApp). However, the micro-app is no ordinary lead form. Once the driver has completed the micro-app, upon clicking submit, if we recognize that driver in our database, we will present that driver with the option to upgrade to a fullIntelliApp. Under this approach, not only would you still receive the basic information, but we may convert them to a fullIntelliApp without any additional effort.

For additional information, learn more about your options here: Meet the IntelliApps.

Driver Engagement

During “Flipping the Script on How You Work Your Driver Leads”, Rob Hatchett, Covenant Transportation, described the two pathways a lead could take within his organization depending on whether the lead was hot or cold. If the lead was “hot”, his recruiters would perform a 1 minute review and make multiple calls. On the other hand, if the lead was “cold,” there would be a 20 second review, followed by one call, then a drip campaign.

What is Drip Marketing? This solution is an automated messaging service that runs in the background, allowing recruiters to focus on candidates who are ready to engage in the recruiting process, while keeping your brand visible to candidates that are not quite there yet.

By adding a Drip campaign to your recruiting strategy, your recruiter can capture many more passive applicants than through manual activities. For example, without Drip, your recruiter may run a search in your respective database or spreadsheet, import the file into Outlook, then type out individual messages. Not only could this process take hours, it generates only one communication, and in future the recruiter would have to manually send out subsequent communications and log them.

Drip eliminates this chaos. Through Drip, these messages are sent out automatically based on your preferred targeting. After the initial configuration, there is no need to do any manual intervention when new applicants come in. Sometimes converting a driver is all about the right timing. These messages can be scheduled to go out daily, weekly, monthly, and so on. You also obtain attributed ROI tracking and can easily measure the effectiveness of the messaging.

For a deeper study, learn more here: A Better Way To Reach Prospective Drivers – Drip Marketing.

A Celebration of Success

Tenstreet, LLC is honored to be partnering with people who are passionate about and exceptional at what they do.

We want to issue a hearty congratulations to Nick Williams of Paul Trucking and Rob Hatchett of Covenant for being named finalists for the Transport Topics “Recruiting Professional of the Year 2017”. And a big high-five to Dave Chesterman of Celadon for taking home the award!

Keep up the tremendous work! We’ll be right beside you while you do.


The 2018 Recruitment and Retention Conference focused on utilizing data to improve driver recruiting and retention success. This industry-leading conference helps people learn about the latest innovations, strategies and tools to help them face the challenges of recruiting and retaining drivers in today’s demanding market. This year’s conference was held between Wednesday, February 21 and Friday, February 23, 2018.

Share this post