The demand for truckers is very high, and it is relatively easy for most qualified truckers to find steady work. Nonetheless, some researchers estimate that as many of 15% of drivers, even those with extensive experience, get disqualified when applying for a trucking position. Why are so many truckers getting turned away if the need for trucker is so high? It all has to do with being organized.
The key to landing a trucking job is being prepared and knowing what to expect when seeking a trucking job. Most often, truckers start the hiring process by speaking to a trucking recruiter. Recruiters frequently hire only for one company (the company they work for themselves), so it may be to your advantage to shop around and talk to a number of different recruiters to find the position that is the best fit for you. If you do speak with a number of recruiters, be sure to take notes so you can keep track of who said what.
Never lie to a recruiter when seeking a trucking job. The truth will come out eventually and it is much better that you be completely honest from the beginning, even if it means disclosing some negative information, than to lie and get caught for it later. Recruiters will ask you for a variety of information, so be sure to have the following on hand:
- A current, non-expired CDL with an accurate home address
- Your work history for at least the last 3 years (some recruiters may want 5 or 10 years of history). If you have been unemployed for some of this time, you will need to provide solid professional references to account for this period.
- The names and contact information for all of your former employers.
- Proof of your work history including old W2 tax forms, reference letters, or DOT numbers. This information will be especially helpful if any of the companies you worked for previously have since gone out of business.
- A copy of your driving record or MVR
- Proof of eligibility to work in the United States. You will be required to complete an I-9 form upon hire, so be sure you have valid documentation to show that you are eligibly for hire.
New Homeland Security regulations require that al commercial truckers undergo a background check prior to being hired. As part of this check, companies will pull any criminal records and copies of your Motor Vehicle Driving record from all states in which you have a driver’s license (commercial or non-commercial). Companies will also see a copy of your DAC report which will reveal previous driving jobs, any accidents in which you were involve, and notes of any problems with former employers.
If there is anything on your record that might be questionable, it is very important that you disclose this to the recruiter right away. It is much better to be professional and proactive upfront than to have the recruiter undercover some nasty information on their own. A potential employer is going to need to know about any incidents, or accidents, for at least the previous three years. Be sure to hold onto all incident records, including accident reports and tickets, so that you can provide this documentation if needed.
Nearly all reputable companies will also require that you undergo a drug screening, so be prepared to certify that you are drug-free and take a drug test on the spot if you are offered a position. Your offer will be contingent upon the successful results of the test.
If there is anything about your past (or current) medical health that might bring up concerns about your ability to perform your duties as a trucker, be prepared to show a doctor’s note that releases you to work. Although, by law, recruiters cannot ask about your medical health prior to offering you a position, an offer can be rescinded if you are not able to certify your ability to do the job. If you have recently had a medical ailment, surgery, or are taking any sort of prescription medicine, chances are high that you will be required to present a medical doctor’s release noted that you are cleared for commercial tractor trailer driving with no restrictions.
Finally, be prepared to a road test and pass the necessary DOT physical upon receiving an offer. If you haven’t been behind the wheel in a while, make sure you brush up on your driving skills. You will not get a second test to take the test if you fail it so you want to be sharp the very first time to step into the company’s cab.
Although the hiring process to secure a trucking job may be long and tedious, the payoff is well worth your effort. So if you’ve made it though all of these steps successfully, congratulations. You’re hired!
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