“Recruiting Gig”

Roger Clark
May 2024

As readers of Movin’ Out Magazine learned recently, I retired from four decades of trucking last November. I liked retirement because I was told to like it, but that lasted less than a month. When my wife started speaking to me again, I was already working the phones as a truck driver recruiter. 

It makes sense in a way, sort of like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. It’s an opportunity to keep up with the industry while sharing decades of hard-won wisdom with new drivers searching for the perfect trucking job. I’m confident they can’t wait to hear about Hunt’s Point, Donner Pass, East Coast tolls, and North Dakota winters. 

 The reality of course is that won’t work, even with experienced drivers. Recently I had a conversation with a forty-year-old dude who had been with six carriers in two years. Not a single termination was his fault, he assured me, and he was ready to work. Oh, and by the way, would I loan him two hundred dollars…

I could find him the perfect driving job. I represent carriers, after all, that hire felons, SAP drivers, fortune tellers, and job hoppers. I also represent carriers that wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole, but then, they all have cash advances, even when we’re downwind from the fuel islands.

 But you know what the secret sauce is, just as I do, and that’s working hard, in an unforgiving industry. It’s listening carefully, following instructions, playing by the rules, and showing up on time. That’s a big ask, for some.

Here in the Midwest, there are driving jobs paying $20.00 per hour, listed right next to ads offering three times that much. What’s the difference? About thirty hours a week, I reckon, because there are 70 hours available on the ELD. All you have to do is make them all count.

 That’s the hard part of my job because my wife won’t let me lie. Somehow, I need to sell drivers on a job that can pay well—been there, done that—but not without sacrifice. It’s harder to do than it looks!

I took a call from a retired banker a while back, and he thought trucking six months a year would allow him to RV the rest of the time. He was serious about it, and I was trying to be, but the giggles gave me away. But you’d be proud of me. I laughed only from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. 

 In another case, the potential recruit would work only in daylight, never on Sunday, always with a girlfriend, and never with his wife. We can work with that, but in the interest of full disclosure, we’re still searching. Reckon you’d want to know that!

Shortly after that, I talked with an experienced hand who didn’t like vans (too much fingerprinting), or reefers (because they were noisy), and couldn’t haul cars (because he was overweight) or pull a flatbed (because he wouldn’t roll tarps). He might have a point because I’ve never seen a fat car hauler!

 One of the requirements for getting a CDL, as you know, is reading and speaking English. Apparently, there’s some room for fudging because I’ve spoken with candidates from western Europe, far east Asia, northern Turkey, and Southern California.

When it comes to communicating with potential recruits, including the neighbors I don’t like, I’m open to suggestions. If you have an idea or a plan, write to me!    Email:  [email protected]