Hiring Truck drivers has always been a daunting task for the trucking companies, regardless of fleet size. The process can be expensive and time-consuming. There are mounds of paperwork to be processed; background, driving, and criminal reports and checks that need to be made; and DOT compliance that has to be maintained, among other things. Often, driver applications are lacking required material, so more time and resources must be spent on chasing down this data.

The key to hiring success, say the more successful recruiters, is to streamline the hiring process and make it more efficient and effective in order to make a quicker job offer to the most qualified applicants. More often than not, this is being accomplished by adopting technology.

That is what Freymiller, an Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based truckload motor carrier specializing in the transportation of temperature controlled, time-sensitive freight, did. Last May, it incorporated Tenstreet electronic-driven driver recruitment software into its hiring process.

Tenstreet uses transportation-specific technologies and techniques to improve the online hiring process by automating the collection of driver work history and employment data through the web at the first point of contact with driver applicants.

“Before the Tenstreet software system, our driver hiring process was very time consuming,” says Vickie Hymer, Freymiller's recruiting manager. “We had to wait on drivers to fax and mail applications, then verify employment information, and check to see if they had anything in their background that would disqualify them from working for us.'

“The Tenstreet application, which was customized to our operation, dramatically shortened the timeframe. Especially the lag time between receiving driver applications and ordering the screenings because it automates the processes, enabling our recruiters to do this with the push of a button.”

Faster processing

Freymiller uses a variety of media to advertise for drivers and promotes applying online because this expedites the hiring process. Online applications also allow the screening process to begin immediately and in a more controlled manner.

“One of the nice things about the Tenstreet system is that it makes sure the driver completes the entire application,” says Hymer. “It will not let a driver proceed to the next part of the application until all the necessary information is entered.

“Now, we don't have to contact a driver to collect any missing information, which bogs down the process. The software speeds up the process and increases our recruiting productivity.”

The Tenstreet application incorporates digital signature technology to allow a driver applicant to “sign” a release. This lets Freymiller do the obligatory background, employment verification, and motor vehicle driving record screenings without the need for a fax to obtain a signature.

“Another benefit is that more work can be done paperless,” Stephanie Morgan, Freymiller's IT manager, adds. Along with managing and tracking a driver's application, the technology electronically bundles the application and other related information into one file that can be easily and rapidly passed between departments.

“One of the biggest benefits has been the time savings to our recruiters and drivers,” she goes on. “Compared to the traditional paper-intensive driving hiring process, the Tenstreet driver application screening process technology shortens things from weeks to no more than a couple of days at most.

“By responding sooner with a job offer, we lessen the chances that a good driver will have the time to sign on with another company,” says Hymer.

Freymiller has developed a scorecard of criteria that it uses to qualify the best drivers in the applicant pool faster. This rating system has been integrated into the Tenstreet program so that when recruiter sees that an applicant doesn't meet the company's hiring criteria, the process can be stopped.

“With the technology and scoring, our recruiters can devote attention and resources to only the best applicants, get those applications processed, and be able to more quickly offer them a job opportunity,” Hymer says. “Whereas before, recruiters would spend time, money, and resources hand-processing all applications only to find that a driver was disqualified. And it doesn't take very long for these costs to add up.”

Freymiller had been using another recruiting software but switched to Tenstreet because “unlike other transportation software providers which try to be all things to all people,” Tenstreet focuses on services and solutions to help truck fleets better manage human resources and driver pools, notes Morgan. “We didn't have to spend a lot of money to adapt the software. What's more, it is web-based so there is less maintenance that I have to worry about, and the program is regularly updated.”

“Not only has Tenstreet saved us money in hiring drivers,” Hymer says, “it has allowed us to have more time to focus on other areas of recruiting as well.”

Vehicle fleet

Freymiller, whose history dates back to 1968, operates nationwide, predominately hauling frozen food products. The fleet is made up of approximately 300 Peterbilt and Kenworth tractors, the majority of which have auxiliary power units (APUs) from Carrier Transicold. The APUs help reduce idling, fuel consumption, and diesel emissions by generating power for HVAC systems, lights, and other appliances.

The 375 trailers are all Utility refrigerated models with Carrier Transicold refrigeration systems.

Company tractors are outfitted with Xata Solutions' mobile communications systems to help track and manage fleets activities. To further improve overall fleet control and increase productivity, Freymiller uses GE Asset Intelligence's VeriWise trailer tracking technology with reefer monitoring, and TMW's IDSC Netwise software for such things as fuel optimization and out-of-route miles.

Freymiller supplements the fleet with a logistics operation.

Hymer says Freymiller has been able to manage its driver turnover rate by hiring better qualified drivers thanks to the Tenstreet software, and to treating drivers right. “We understand that our success is directly related to the hard work contributed by drivers, as well as our office and shop employees.” All managers have an open door policy.

For qualified applicants, there are career opportunities for company drivers, along with a competitive salary and benefit package.

Freymiller has a straight forward and affordable tractor lease purchase program that allows drivers to become independent contractors. Drivers must qualify for the program, and they receive management assistance to help ensure their success.

Efficiency gains

Morgan says she has been impressed with Tenstreet because its software is updated regularly.

“Like all software with recruiting and on-boarding programs there are considerable opportunities to come up with new innovative sets of functionality to continue to drive additional efficiencies,” says Mike Hamish, Tenstreet vice president.

“What we try and do with our software is take what a company, customer, or client wants and make it very usable on the screen,” Tenstreet's software developer Justin Daniels adds. “We don't want a user to have to go through 50 complex click paths to get something done.”

“Especially with the bigger carriers we work with, they want help in increasing their ability to get those good applicants before losing them to another carrier because it took them too long to move their applications through the process,” says Hamish. “There's an inverse relationship between the hiring cycle time inside the company and the quality of the drivers that are available because the best ones find jobs so fast.”

To ensure that electronic driver hiring applications provide a return on investment for any fleet, Hamish says Tenstreet has a variety of options, including a free Basic version for small fleets (less than 20 vehicles).