The Evils of Truck Driver Recruiting

The Evils of Truck Driver Recruiting

Wow, Truck Driver Recruiters! Whether an in-house recruiter or an outside recruiter, it takes a special someone to be successful. In a world where competition is higher than normal many will fall trying to keep up. Many will also bail out once wrapped up in this crazy dog eat dog world of only the strong shall survive.

In-House Recruiters

Lets start with company in-house recruiters. Most times a seasoned recruiter is hard to find but a “good” seasoned recruiter is even harder to find. At one time most trucking companies hired “Old Driver Joe” that was retiring from being one of their OTR Drivers and most of the times “Old Driver Joe” did not make it; but the mentality was “Old Joe wants to stay on and work here, where can we put him and the consensus was “Put him in recruiting”. We are now finding out not everyone that drives a truck is going to make a good recruiter. It does however take at least someone that does know the trucking industry, someone also that has a good sales background combined with Trucking experience can prove to make a good recruiter. Nothing beats a Truck Driver that has run OTR with Sales experience to actually relate to The American Truck Driver. The average salary for a seasoned Truck Driver Recruiter according to examiner is:


  • New York City, NY = $85,000
  • Washington, D.C. = $77,000
  • Atlanta, GA = $76,000
  • Boston, MA = $74,000
  • Chicago, IL = $72,000
  • Los Angeles, CA = $70,000
  • Dallas, TX = $68,000
  • Houston, TX = $67,000
  • Detroit, MI = $66,000
  • Tampa, FL = $58,000
  • Tulsa, OK = $54,000


They go on to state that there are much higher paid Driver Recruiters that are successful. With these high salaries in the industry attracting many people to the field, carriers are now demanding that a recruiter come with credentials, which means an education but more importantly “experience”.  Most really good recruiters that recruit for large carriers (500 Trucks and more) are capable of recruiting 5 to 10 Drivers per week (we said “Good” recruiters) but the average seasoned recruiter is going to pull in 1 to 3 drivers per week.

Field Recruiters

A field recruiter is someone that is employed by the company but works from home. They have other job duties on top of just taking phone calls and completing paper work. They also are normally obligated to visit Truck Stops, Schools like Road Master, Shows such as the Mid-America Truck Show and any other events that is tied to trucking, essentially they are out turning over every stone looking for drivers. This job might sound like a great time since you’re not being watched but it always comes down to one thing in recruiting and that is numbers. If you are not producing, this job will be short lived.

3rd Party Recruiters

This is the one that has created a buzz in the industry.  3rd Parties have been around for over 20 years but in the past 5 years it has exploded in the industry and being there are commissions that carriers pay to people that are producing drivers the market has been flooded with “Wanna-be-Recruiters”. Now before you go and start looking to start recruiting please keep reading. Most people that try 3rd Party Recruiting will fail. In fact the numbers are crazy high for the fail rate. Maybe 1 out of 100 might make it and that is due to many reasons. First off, this job is not for everyone. If you have not walked in the shoes of a trucker it become even more difficult.  The following list is a Definite needs list if you are going to give yourself a chance to succeed…


  1. Know truckers – Drivers are a special breed and don’t want to feel that a person who has “no idea what he/she goes thru every day is going to direct them to a job that they don’t even understand” (it helps to know what a fifth wheel is).
  2. $$$ Investments – You need lots of money to make it. Attracting drivers takes money period. If you are not willing to write out a check every week/month to get your phone to ring then you get what you pay for. Many recruiters think they can find drivers with out money and these recruiters never make it. (Free Craigslist will not sustain your business)
  3. Perseverance – There are many disappointments in recruiting. When you have 3 drivers in an orientation for the week and none of them make it, it can be devastating, especially if you were counting on the money you had already added up.
  4. Full Time Job – If you are not willing to put in 40 Plus hours per week and take calls when calls come in this is not for you. Most people that try this think they can run around all day with their family and take calls in the Mall parking lot and make lots of money, guess again.
  5. Self-Motivation – Most people need a boss watching over them to keep them working. This is one of the biggest reasons for failure for 3rd party recruiters. If you’re not there to answer the phones or to stay on the phones you will not make it, there is ALWAYS something to do and running out for lunch and taking care of personal things for most of the day will never be an excuse you can live with when failure comes.
  6. Chasing Money – When recruiting for yourself or for a recruiting firm you will need to find patience. Getting paid every week is something of the past. Most carriers pay between 15 and 45 days. If you are not one to wait for your money then this might not be for you.

Under the Gun

All recruiters are “under the gun” meaning they have to have results or they are done, caput, out the door, dead in the water, they are toast. In-house recruiters are under the gun to produce numbers and normally have a quota to make. Most company recruiters need to produce at least 8 drivers per month. This added pressure could drive a person crazy when trying to get drivers interested, qualified and to actually show up for the job. If you are an in-house recruiter you have a boss that will constantly remind you of your obligations and if you are not a “producer” it is only a matter of time till you’re gone. If you are a field recruiter it is just the same, no numbers no job. If you’re a 3rd party recruiter the pressure is even greater. There is the money factor that plays in. If you don’t invest the money to keep your phones ringing then you are starting out as a failure to begin with. Many people have tried the 3rd party recruiting business and have failed because they thought they would use the “Free Craigslist” pages to find drivers just to get hit with dead phones. Many recruiters have invested their hard earned money and actually paid for lots of adds just to get little return due to the High add Competition in driver recruiting.

The Black Sheep of Trucking – Directors of Recruiting

Black Sheep? That’s right, no one wants the responsibility of this baby. When talking with Operations, Human Resources, Safety and all other parts of Trucking you don’t find many people wanting the added pressure of taking on the task of making sure the Company’s Trucks are filled with Good Drivers. Wow, where do we start? The Director of Recruiting needs nerves of steel. Just imagine needing to hire 20 drivers per week and next week’s orientation has 22 drivers on the schedule. Everyone in recruiting knows that the odds of all 22 drivers showing up are not good. Most likely you will have 15 to 20 show up and that’s just the way the numbers roll.  The Director’s under the gun more than most, he/she is where the finger points to when trucks are empty. A director ‘s responsibility goes beyond his/her recruiters. They must make sure the phones are ringing and at the same time keep it all under budget. They not only have to make sure trucks are full but they also have to make sure that the recruiting department has good recruiters working the phones every day and finding good recruiters is much harder than finding good drivers.  If you’re looking for a good paying high-pressure job then Director of Recruiting at the nearest Trucking company might be for you.

Recruiters Reputation

You heard the old joke of “How do you know when a recruiter is Lying”? When his/her mouth is moving silly. This holds true in many cases. Truck Driver Recruiters have a bad reputation with many drivers being they may have sugar coated a job or they just plain did not know as much about the job they were selling as they should have. After all this is a persons life hanging on every word that comes out of the mouth of a recruiter and they are counting on the promises made. Most recruiters however are not liars and want to make sure that a Driver understands what he/she are getting into when taking the job they are selling, its just those couple of bad apples that “ruin the whole bunch” that gives all recruiters the reputation of being liars.  Funny thing about recruiters, many of them are Ex-Drivers, which you wouldn’t think that they would lie to their brothers and sister Drivers but unfortunately it does happen. The best thing to do when speaking with any recruiter is to be ‘Specific” with your questions.  For example if a recruiter tells you that you can be home weekly, you may want to ask them if it is the actual “weekend” or is it during the “week”. You may also want to ask how many days will you be home for? Is it just for a restart or are you guaranteed a certain amount of time off? These kind of conversations have lead to drivers thinking they were lied to when in fact the recruiter might not have been lying, you just might have assumed getting home “weekly” meant getting home “weekends” which as soon you realize that its not want you wanted then you might be thinking you were lied to. So keep an open conversation and don’t just assume anything when speaking to anyone about a job, let alone a recruiter.

NOTE: TALKCDL The Trucker Show will be discussing this topic on Monday 3-7-2016 – Join the show and listen or call in on the live number at 516-387-1911

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Written by TruckerX