Hire drivers with these soft skills & you’ll be glad you did

September 23, 2021 Christina DeBusk

A driver who was hired for their soft skills as well as their truck driving skills

When hiring a new driver, it’s important to find someone who knows how to operate a truck, has a good driving record, and can navigate traffic like a pro. But a driver’s soft skills—the non-technical skills that impact the ways in which they work—are equally as critical.

Here are a few soft skills that, if present in your new hire, are signs that they will likely be a great addition to your driving team.

Positive attitude

An employee’s attitude can affect the entire team. If they’re always positive, they tend to lift the team up. If they are negative most of the time, they’ll likely bring the rest of the team down.

Since a driver is face-to-face with your customers, it’s even more important that they have an upbeat demeanor. If they leave your customer with positive vibes, these feelings will often extend to the company itself, improving your reputation as a result.

One way to assess a job candidate’s attitude is to ask questions about how they feel about driving, what their goals are in their career, and how they’ve dealt with issues in previous jobs. Their answers will give you an idea as to whether they have a more positive or negative approach.

Look for a driver with a positive attitude and you’ll be doing your entire workplace a favor…both from the inside out and outside in. 

Good communicator

Because drivers spend a majority of their days outside of the company’s four walls, having good communication skills is necessary. They need to be able to not only tell you when a problem arises but also be able to explain what is going on with enough clarity and detail to help you provide a solution.

How do you know whether a new hire may be a good communicator? Give them a scenario that they may face as a driver, such as the truck breaking down, and ask them how they would explain it to their supervisor. Make the situation more realistic by role-playing the conversation.

Look for whether they can explain what is going on clearly. Do they provide enough information to begin to resolve the issue without sharing details that likely don’t matter? 

Time management

Who would you rather hire as a driver: someone who knows how to effectively manage their time or someone who is late more often than not? Time management is a positive trait in many industries but especially important within the transportation of goods. If these goods don’t arrive on time, you’re likely to lose your customer’s business.

To learn more about how the driving candidate deals with time, ask how their family and friends would describe them. Are they always the person who arrives 10 minutes early or 20 minutes late? Whatever they’re like in their personal lives, they're probably going to be the same on the job.

Problem-solving skills

Since drivers spend a lot of time on their own, it’s also important that they have good problem-solving skills. Certainly, they can always call on management to help them if they’re in a sticky situation, but it’s just as critical that they are able to solve some issues on their own.

To assess a job candidate’s problem-solving skills, give them a situation that can occur while on the road. Maybe they’re running behind in their deliveries or face an unexpected traffic jam. Ask how they would deal with the situation. Are they able to solve the problem effectively or do they seem a bit lost and unsure what to do? If they seem unsure, do they at least know how to reach out to someone who can help them?

Team player

Though driving is a solo job, your new hire will still be a member of the team. As such, having a team mentality increases the likelihood that they will act and behave in a way that benefits everyone at the company versus only looking out for themselves.

To figure out whether someone is a team player, ask what they would do if they knew another driver or team member wasn’t pulling their weight or was having issues that negatively impacted their work output. How would they respond?

Would they intervene for the good of the team or would they do nothing because they didn’t feel that it was their responsibility? Someone who is willing to help pull other members up and hold them accountable is someone who will raise the standards of the team as a whole.

Need help recruiting amazing drivers? Centerline can help. Learn about how we can keep your business moving forward.

About the Author

Christina M. DeBusk creates small business content for a variety of publications, some of which include Businessing Magazine, Compendent, Chiropractic Economics, and more. She is also the author behind the column, "The Successful Solopreneur.

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