What to Ask Any Truck Driving School Recruiter

Truck driving school and truck driving company recruiters can be a valuable resource for anyone considering a trucking career. Let’s look at what a truck driver recruiter is, how they can be valuable to you as a driver or student, the types of questions you should ask, and why you should ask them.

The primary responsibility of truck driving recruiters is to sell you on their school or company, the same way a salesperson sells a product or service. Most of the time a recruiter will be paid a commission for bringing in a new driver or student.

The recruiter can help you understand the best reasons for attending their school or their company. Beware of any guarantees, especially as it relates to miles and hometime, as the trucking industry is cyclical and unpredictable. Factors including the weather, fleet size, economic fluctuations, vehicle breakdowns, computer software, and management, can all lead to an unpredictable amount of miles and hometime from week to week and year to year.

You have no idea who your recruiter will be or whether or not they will be good at what they do, and their job ends once you are signed up. Don’t place too much importance on the quality of your recruiter in making career decisions. Taking care of the students or drivers is the job of human resources and it is your trainers or dispatchers that will make a difference.

When speaking with truck driver recruiters, here are some questions to ask:

  1. What is your home-time policy? While long-haul drivers are expected to put in long hours on the road, if a company promises you one day off a week, make sure to clarify how a day is defined.
  2. What are your typical routes? Find out what distances and regions your prospective employer wants you to travel. A driver who lives in a remote area may be better off going with an employer who has a nearby terminal location to better access truck fueling and maintenance.
  3. What type of equipment will I use? You’ll be driving for hours at a time (especially for long-haul work) and you’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable during this. Ask if the company will assign you equipment and what that equipment will include.
  4. Is layover pay provided? Layover is the wait or delays a trucker experiences between scheduled loads. A driver should always expect to receive layover pay for wait times beyond his control.
  5. Do you slip-seat? At some companies, when a driver takes time off, he may have to cede or “slip-seat” his assigned truckload to another driver. If you’d rather not share your truck, look for an employer with a no slip-seat policy.
  6. How much do you pay? The demand for CDL drivers is strong and this isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Don’t let a firm shortchange you, evaluate the pay offered in terms of cents per mile.
  7. What benefits do you offer? Because benefits are linked very closely to pay, you should never consider one without the other. Some companies offer full medical, dental, vision, and short-term disability coverage. The lesser the coverage, however, the more cents per mile you’ll want.
  8. Do you pay for lumpers? Lumpers are for-hire loaders at a warehouse. A carrier may pay you to load/unload freight from your truck or pay a lumper to do it.
  9. Do you offer bonuses? There are many companies that offer bonuses for a good driving record and consistent performance. Also, check if the company offers sign-on bonuses.
  10. Will I get a dedicated driver manager? If you’re just starting out as a driver, a driver manager is particularly important. Working with a direct manager can foster a good company relationship, enhance your promotion chances and help you resolve concerns and issues quickly.