Interview process for CDL Drivers
Truck Driver Interview
Interviews can intimidate us all affecting even the most confident of people. The course of your near future ultimately sits on the decision of the interviewer and their perception of you in the one hour or less that you spend together in person or on the phone. It's important to answer the questions asked as honestly as possible to create a successful work relationship with this company going forward once you are hired. It is also important to ask the right questions of your interviewer so you know what the nature of the job will look like months after hiring and to ensure that this is the type of company you can see yourself working for in the years to come. Luckily, proper preparation for the interview can drastically increase your chances of landing that job you want and being happy with your work daily allowing you to be satisfied with the company that you work for.
Proof of professional driving experience isn't enough
Businesses have to be very careful when allowing new drivers to climb into and navigate their 80,000-pound trucks on the roads and highways under their company's name and motor carrier number. Background checks, employment verification, and drug screening are performed by most companies these days before drivers become trusted candidates and can use the truck. But recruiters can still never really be 100% sure if the driver that they just onboarded will be the cause of a dangerous accident of their vehicle that affects either themselves, other drivers on the road, the property around them, or a customer's shipment. This is the reason that companies take extra precaution in asking the right questions to gauge a potential driver's character, personality, work ethic, and attention to safety when hiring new drivers. A professional driver's record can be tarnished or disqualified when they drive a company's vehicle with faulty equipment out on the road. The same is for a company's insurance score and premiums or even the livelihood of the business as a whole which can be permanently affected if a driver causes damage to others while driving one of their vehicles.
Truck Driver Interview Questions
It's in the driver's best interest to be prepared to come to an interview also with their own set of questions to know if the company they are applying for will be as good of a match for them as the driver will be for the company. Make sure to learn about the company beforehand by researching about them online or through friends and acquaintances that worked there or are currently working there. It's important to know basic information about the company such as the routes they drive, what commodities they haul, how equipment is looked after and how regular inspections are, what the driver and dispatcher relationship will look like, and all the questions regarding pay, reimbursements, and fueling. Most companies these days have a company culture, core values, and mission statements. It's important to learn what the company believes in and values to know if you and the organization are a right fit for each other. This can help to ensure that you and your employer don't bump heads down the road over differences in opinion on important matters. You can also expect to be asked questions that regard your critical thinking skills such as problem-solving and your decision-making ability. It's important to give honest and thoughtful answers to these questions to show your potential employer that you take time to think issues through and the outcome of those decisions before acting in the heat of the moment.
This way you can also prove that your driver's license privileges are important to you and for the ones that you take care of and that you also consider the company's reputation as well before making decisions that could affect it.
We've selected some of the most frequent questions below that you can expect to be asked in your interview with a potential employer. These questions create an opportunity for you to show your value as a driver and that you are a valuable addition to the company. Read below for insight into how employers expect and would like to hear your answer.
Why do you want to work for us?
This is the most common question asked in an interview in all industries, not just the trucking industry. Employers ask this question to better understand your motivation for applying for their company and to learn more about what it is that drives you to get up and work each day. From your answer, they will be able to tell if you want to work for this company specifically or if it is just another company that you are trying to have hired you. Make sure to never answer this question with "because the money is good." This answer does not carry enough reason for employers to believe that you wouldn't leave them for a better financial opportunity. Find the reason that not only motivates you to do your work but that also allows you to strive to want to be a better driver and employee in general. Let the interviewer know what it is about their company that you admire and how this is important to you and your beliefs about work. Examples such as helping others, working as a team, and being someone that can be counted on always. For the greatest effect, make sure that your answer is personal to you and not just a cookie-cutter answer the employer hears frequently.
Why did you get into trucking as a career choice?
If you have family in the trucking industry, make sure to let the interviewer know that this was an important deciding factor in your choosing to enter trucking as a career. If this is not the case for you, you can tell the interviewer how a career in driving has positively impacted your life over the years and how it gives you the means to be able to support yourself and your family. You can let them know that a career in trucking has given you work that you excel at and enjoy becoming better at day by day. Other honorable mentions include that you love being in a different state every day and the different types of people that you meet when out on the road.
What do you believe is your greatest strength?
Interviewers ask this question to learn if your priorities are aligned with the company's priorities. Your answer should be a display of character instead of something surface level. Do you take pride in always being honest? Do you have a strong ability to work well under pressure and stress? Is punctuality something important to you? Let them know how what you believe is your greatest strength has positively impacted companies that you've worked for before and how you believe it will affect this employer if they were to hire you.
What do you believe is your greatest weakness?
Never respond to this question with "I don't have any weaknesses." We all have weaknesses and your interviewer will be smart enough to see through the answer. They are looking to see that you acknowledge you have problem areas that you need to work on but most importantly they want to feel assured that you are conscious enough of those weaknesses and are working to improve them. A great answer is that you love to help others and can become discouraged if you feel like you are not able to help someone in their situation.
We hope to have helped you understand that a successful interview will have consisted of you answering the questions asked with honest and personal answers. This allows the person on the other end of the table to see that you are a genuine individual that would benefit their company with the quality of work that you can do. If you truly are a hardworking and self-motivated individual that wants the best for your employer, being honest in your answers will allow this to show through. Taking the time to sit down and understand the questions that will be asked and why they are being asked will give you the confidence and surety needed to be able to walk into an interview knowing that you are someone that would be a valuable asset to any company that would hire you.