Motorcoach

5 Keys to Attracting, Hiring and Retaining Quality Motorcoach Drivers

Posted on August 19, 2013

Page 2 of 3


Anchor has begun recruiting online and has reached out to soon-to-be-retiring military personnel.
Anchor has begun recruiting online and has reached out to soon-to-be-retiring military personnel.

2. Recruitment

The next important step to hiring a great driver is finding and attracting your ideal candidate. Your recruiting practices, or the need to even recruit, depend on the area your operation serves and/or how specific your search criteria may be.

In Nashville, Jared Stancil, VP at Anchor Tours, has seen a boom in business and is looking to hire 10 to 12 drivers, but he has had some issues finding those drivers in his area.

“The dynamics of the economy has changed for us in our market, so we have really gotten busy,” he says. “Our utilization is up. Our sales numbers are up. What has happened, though, is we now have a shortfall of qualified capable drivers to be able to operate the coach.”

With vehicles becoming more technologically sophisticated, Anchor has begun focusing heavily on online recruiting, both on its website and through online job sites such as Careerbuilder.com.

“We are looking to attract people with some basic computer skills, because we feel that translates over to operating today’s sophisticated vehicle, so we are relying heavily on that,” Stancil says.

He adds that Anchor has also begun working with a couple of military bases, such as nearby Fort Campbell, to attract some service men or women who may be retiring from the service soon.

“We found military folks fit the profile of who would do well in the charter industry,” Stancil explains. “We have picked up a couple of people through this program so far, and I have been pleased.”

Meanwhile, to find people outside of the industry, Dipert-Brown says her operation’s recruiting tactics have gone a little out of the box.

“The biggest challenge for us is finding the right demographic and reaching them,” she explains. “Because of that, we advertise in more non-conventional ways. For example, instead of placing a small want ad in the newspaper, we will use a large picture ad with wording that will draw people in, and hopefully, make them consider the job a little more closely.”

Dipert-Brown explains that her operation has also used direct mail campaigns through Valpak the last couple of times they were searching for drivers.

Jalbert says C&J hasn’t had to go out looking for drivers in some time, but constantly runs its driver ad on its website, enabling applicants to apply right online even when they are not hiring.
“We never say no to a driver coming in and going through the interview

process, because we feel when you get those good ones they are worth holding on to,” he says. “If we need to start them off part time until a full-time spot becomes available, we will do that.”

Jason Randall, director, human resources at Peter Pan Bus Lines, says word of mouth still plays a large role in finding drivers as well as its website, where applications are accepted year-round.

“We get a couple hundred applicants a month, and we may only hire five to 10 of those people,” he says. “When we do look to actually hire for a division, depending on the division, we will put an ad in the newspaper, although that is few and far between. In those cases, we will also utilize sources like Craigslist and other websites.”

3. Interview, interview, interview
It can take many years to develop a hiring process that works for you, but through trial and error it is definitely in your best interest to do so. Focusing on the interview process is a good place to start.

With Peter Pan having to weed through so many applicants to find only five or 10 drivers, the operation is able to whittle that number down through personality assessments during the online application process and initial interviews. It then will invite applicants in for another interview, asking important questions to get a sense of who the person is and if they will fit in with their culture.

“We try to do some behavioral interviewing and ask an applicant questions to find out how they would handle difficult situations with customers and in traffic,” Randall explains. “It is a strong blend, but certainly during the interview itself, we are emphasizing the need of being able to provide a service to our customers and not just drive a vehicle.”

C&J puts applicants through three interviews before they invite them to participate in their training program.

“The first is a phone interview with the HR director, the second the HR director and operations/dispatch, and the third is with me and one of the two of those people,” says Lesniak. “Following the process, the three of us meet and discuss the details and decide on a candidate.”

She adds that multiple interviews are important to really getting to know the person.

“I don’t want to generalize, but on the second interview, you get a better feeling for the personality of the individual,” Lesniak explains. “They are more comfortable and willing to open up to you. The reason for that is the participant tends to feels more comfortable going into the second interview. That is the goal: to get them as comfortable as possible, so they can open up. That is where you see the good stuff.”

Dipert also puts its applicants through a multiple interview process, making sure to interface with them right from the beginning by having them physically come in to fill out an application, explains Joe Clark, personnel administrator, for Dan Dipert Tours & Charters

“It gives us a chance to get a quick one-on-one with them to identify their social and customer service skills,” he explains. “We will also look over the application at that time to make sure they didn’t miss anything.”

To limit the cost of bringing in applicants who drop out of training, Anchor recently added additional telephone interviews on the front end. The conversation also really gives the operation the chance to gauge if the applicant is cut out to drive a charter bus.

“We talk about the times and volatility of working in the charter bus business, which means different groups, different days; there is nothing set in stone,” Stancil says. “The initial conversation usually makes or breaks someone, because we are telling them the reality of what they are applying for.”

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