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Doing More with Less in the Freight Recession

October 4, 2023

Doing More with Less in the Freight Recession

Do more, with less. 

Unfortunately, these are the words and realities most of us are facing as a result of the current freight recession. For many recruiting managers, the expectation is to keep the same app flow, same number of drivers hired, with a fraction of the resources. This can lead to high-stress, burnout and turnover.

Now that we're out of the "growth at all costs" era, Here are our top 5 tips to help keep you (and your team) afloat in this challenging time that will set you up for success today and in the future. 

Tip 1: Optimize for Full App

The biggest time waste of a recruiting team is the time spent trying to convert a partial app to a full app. Why?

It requires phone calls, texts and emails (in most cases - triggered by a human) to play connect. And then when you finally do connect, only a fraction of these people are actually interested and qualified.

The leaner your team - the more you need to optimize to full app. We recently learned about Conversion Interactive's Lead Assist tool which claims to use automation to increase full apps up to 20 - 40% (from a industry benchmark of 10 - 20%).  

Tip 2: Get a Better Filter

The great thing about job boards? Soooo many apps. The downfall of job boards? Soooo little qualification. 

Some times recruiting with a spear (instead of a net) is the way to go - and that time is when you're team has been downsized. There are plenty of channels and tools that can help you filter for quality at the short app stage. These include, Indeed Resume Search, LinkedIn Recruiter (over 250,000 truck drivers are on LinkedIn!), and TransForce's TF1 technology.

Tip 3: Invest in and Utilize your Driver Database

Every driver applicant in your ATS system is an asset to your company. How you choose to leverage that asset is up to you. 

If you don't have a significant amount of structured data within your database, ask yourself: what do I need to know about an applicant in order to be able to know if they'll be a fit for my company later on? 

Once you've done this, update all your short application forms to include this baseline info - but don't go crazy. The more info you ask, the less likely you'll be to capture a conversion. Then, start marketing to your database (email, SMS, etc) pointing them back to these forms so you can "cleanse" your data, receive applicants, and position for success.

Our VP of Revenue Marketing discusses this strategy in Automation vs. Human Touch on Episode 2 of Truckin' Genius.

Tip 4: Focus on Your Employer Brand

In the growth at all costs era, many employers competed on sign-on bonuses and high-pay to attract drivers. Now that demand has slowed in the freight market, you need to compete on something more compelling: your brand. 

Identify what makes you a great employer for your driving staff. Host focus groups to learn what attracts and retains your team, and then make sure you are vocalizing this value:

  • On your website
  • In your job ads
  • On social media
  • In your email marketing

The best thing about betting on your brand is that dividends will pay out long term. Focusing on this critical aspect of your business today will not only position you for success when demand slows, but also in the future.

Tip 5: Get Comfortable With Less Volume, Higher Quality

Sometimes, less is more. This is particularly true when you only need to hire a handful of drivers. Instead of trying to obtain 150 applications to fill a role, focus on getting the applicants that actually meet your jobs criteria. 

With TF1, TransForce's intelligent driver recruiting technology, drivers have uploaded their CDL, experience and endorsements onto our platform. They've also told us where they want to work, how much they want to earn each week, and which types of routes and equipment they're comfortable with. As a result, your jobs are served to the highest quality match - ensuring your recruiters meet with only high quality candidates. And, as of recent, you also have the ability to text your drivers directly in the TF1 platform.

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I'll be covering my teams journey to a performance focused recruiting department, the challenges we have faced and how we have overcome them on my podcast Truckin' Genius.


Craig Ferguson
President, Driver Recruitment Marketing and Operations
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