Survey Identifies Trends in Driver Hiring/Screening

October 24, 2013

The hiring environment is becoming increasingly more difficult as fleet managers are competing for qualified drivers, according to results of a driver screening benchmarking survey conducted by HireRight, transportation worker hiring specialists.

The HireRight "Transportation Spotlight," a part of its 2013 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report addresses common driver screening practices and policies and explores issues and trends affecting screening programs.

"Differences between a company's practices and policies and the results of this survey do not necessarily suggest strengths or weaknesses, but simply offer an opportunity to evaluate programs in light of your peers and explore best practices," the company says.

The survey found the top three business challenges for transportation companies this year are finding and retaining quality talent (61%), regulatory change and compliance (39%), and managing risk (26%). Compared to last year's results, finding and retaining quality talent went up by seven percentage points "representing a significant increase indicating that the hiring environment is becoming increasingly more difficult as hiring managers are competing for qualified drivers," HireRight research found. "The third challenge reported last year was cost containment at 24%; this year, it fell to the fifth spot which implies that respondents feel the transportation sector is recovering and goes hand in hand with the overall optimism in hiring."

Given the top business challenge of finding and retaining quality workers, it is no surprise that the top talent management challenge of 2013 is attracting and retaining experienced employees. A majority of the respondents (87%) are concerned with attracting and retaining both experienced and entry-level workers as well as being able to appeal to multiple generations.

Increasing competition for quality drivers continues to put pressure on hiring managers, HireRight researchers say. "While turnover is high, there is a very real prospect that this pressure to hire quality drivers could worsen once the U.S. economy improves. As other sectors, such as home construction and manufacturing, continue to show signs of recovery, many drivers may take jobs outside the transportation industry to allow them to spend more time with their families. Investments in effective training programs and developing loyalty programs will help companies gain a competitive advantage.

Survey results also confirm that the top benefits realized from employment screening remain consistent from year to year: improved quality of hire, improved safety and security, improved regulatory compliance, reduced negligent hiring risks, and reduced employee turnover, researchers say. "The value of screening is reinforced by a large majority of respondents (82%) who have had, or know someone who has had, a person lie on his or her resume."

"While each company is unique in its risk tolerance, objectives, and needs, experience has shown that it is a best practice to screen above the minimum requirements stipulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT)," HireRight researchers say. "The types of background checks performed above regulatory requirements reported by respondents are Commercial Driver's License Information System (86%), Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) (81%), identity (73%), and criminal (70%)."

In April 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance on the use of criminal records in employment decisions. While this guidance does not mean that companies should no longer use criminal records for screening, 43% of respondents indicated that they had made some policy changes as a result of the legislative changes, with another 12% planning to make changes, researchers found. More than half (54%) of the respondents continue to utilize national criminal record searches. "The rationale for seeking this information is to reduce the risk of criminal behavior in the workplace and related civil liabilities by excluding applicants who may be likely to re-engage in criminal activity that could potentially pose a risk to a company and its employees and customers," researchers say.

Continuously evaluating screening programs to identify potential gaps is valuable in light of the FMCSA Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program that assigns a safety rating to transportation companies, researchers add. Forty percent of respondents review their employment screening program more than once a year, and an additional 41% review it at least once a year.

With a shortage of trained professionals in most areas of the country, companies are competing for available talent and are attempting to leverage their screening tools to compete more effectively. The two most challenging aspects of employment screening for the transportation workforce are completing prior employment verifications (58%) and reducing the time to hire (49%). While these were important considerations last year, the gap seems to be widening from last year's findings at 39% and 27%, respectively, researchers say.

Most transportation companies recognize the need to ramp up their talent-related initiatives and plan on evaluating the following programs this year: 39% plan on reviewing their current employment screening programs and policies, 20% plan on reviewing their education and employment verifications, and another 20% plan on looking at their drug and alcohol screening solutions. To alleviate the burden of managing the entire application process, 13% of respondents plan on evaluating their applicant tracking system and the way they manage their I-9 process.

When respondents were asked what processes they are planning on improving this year, 35% said they will focus on the recruitment process, 23% on driver qualification file management, and 20% on driver monitoring.

Social media activity continues to rise every year, and the bigger platforms now touch people's lives multiple times a day, researchers point out. However, using social media to find and source talent is still relatively new for many employers, human resource managers, and recruiters. In 2013, 45% of respondents reported using social media to source or recruit talent compared with 40% in 2012, with an additional 7% planning to use social media for these purposes in the future.

Only 14% of respondents indicated that they use social media during background checking (a slight uptick from last year's 12%). Given the regulatory and personal privacy concerns in today's social world, only 17% of the companies who utilize social media for background checking actually have company guidelines in place. "As a best practice, it is always a good idea to check with your legal counsel prior to developing a social media background checking policy," HireRight recommends.

the competition for talent.

For more information, download the full HireRight 2013 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report go to www.hireright.com/benchmarking/.

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