What Message Is Your Driver Screening Sending To Applicants

truck drivers with clipboard


With driver turnover being an issue for most motor carriers, coupled with the lack of new talent entering the industry, screening applicants remains critical to a motor carrier’s long-term success. Grossly mistaken are those companies clinging to the old-school mentality that simply filling an empty seat with a warm body will solve their driver shortage problem.

In reality, motor carriers are likely contributing to their revolving door dilemma by hiring drivers who are prone to job hopping, have a history of risky behaviors (i.e., crashes and injuries), or simply do not mesh with their company culture.The solution is to embrace the need to attract the cream of the crop and sell driver-applicants on the benefits of working for your company. This starts with establishing a positive company culture that is evident from afar.

Word of mouth, social media, and the company’s website can be leveraged to brand your company as an attractive place to work. Once candidates swallow the bait, recruiters can then reel them in and screen which candidates are worth pursuing or throwing back.

Driver screening requires due diligence, and if done well through personal interviews, a road test, and other evaluations, screening can actually serve as an attractor to the type of high-quality drivers the company is seeking.

When those applicants who look good on paper are invited for an interview, treat this opportunity as your first – and possibly last – moment to shine. Make the most of it by showing applicants why your high standards are so important to the company’s viability and how they will play a key role in the company’s future.

Here’s a short list of driver screening tips that can help you evaluate driver-applicants.


  • Is the applicant mentally and physically prepared to perform each task?
  • Did the applicant use three-point contact getting in/out of the truck and wear a seatbelt?
  • Are distractions, like a cell phone, put away before driving?


  • Does the applicant conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection?
  • Can the driver explain the hours-of-service rules?


  • Does the applicant stay focused on driving while behind the wheel?
  • Is the applicant always in control of the vehicle?
  • Does the applicant know how to calculate proper following distance?


  • How does the applicant treat other drivers?
  • Is the driver a good communicator?
  • Does the applicant know the CDL following distance rule?


  • Create a driver screening procedure that includes evaluations, interviews, and a road test.
  • Utilize a Road Test Evaluation form, or a similar tool, to document road tests.
  • Establish the company’s standards for hiring and retaining drivers.

    Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive

    This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide
    legal advice to its insureds or other  parties, nor does it advise insureds or other parties on employment-related issues, therefore the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds or other parties. Legal advice should always be sought from legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.Reprinted with permission from Great West Casualty Company.