What Should I Ask Trucking Companies During An Interview?
Truck drivers looking for a job are in a good position these days, as there are more positions open than drivers to fill them. Wages are increasing as a result, but a driver should still do his or her research before jumping at a job offer, especially if a contract is involved. There are many other factors to consider before accepting a truck driving job. Remember, you are interviewing them to find the best fit as much as they are interviewing you.
First, consider the type of trucking job that you want to have. Do you want dry van, refrigerated, tank truck, or flatbed? Are you looking to work in the Western States, Eastern States, within a city, or coast to coast OTR? As you look at specific companies, take some time to do research.
Second, seek out drivers who have been working with the companies you’re considering. Find them on truckers’ forums and find out what the experienced drivers have to say about the different companies. Ask open-ended questions that also give some direction: What’s the most frustrating experience you’ve had with this company? What’s the best experience you’ve had with this company? Can you explain a typical job from start to finish, focusing most on your interactions with the company? These questions give you an idea of the culture of each company and what the working experience will be like. Some situations are so horrible, no paycheck will ever make it worth it – you want to find this out ahead of time.
Once you’ve identified the type of work you want to do and eliminated companies that would not be a good fit, you’ll get the chance to have some interviews. You should always answer every question honestly, especially regarding years of experience and the quality of your driving record.
When it’s your turn to ask the questions, you may want to jump right to the money questions, and that time will come, but those answers won’t do much to differentiate the working experience of one company compared to another.
Some questions with the most bang for the buck include the following:
- What is your DOT SafeStat score? (You can find this beforehand on the internet through the FMCSA, so their answer to this question will give you a sense of their truthfulness, as well.)
- What are you hauling?
- Who are your customers?
- Can a driver take the truck home?
- What is the passenger policy? (And/or pet policy, if you’d like to roll with Spot or Mittens.)
- What is the inverter policy?
- What is the idle policy? Do they allow use of APU’s?
- Can I refuse a load? What would happen if I did?
- How often does a driver get home time? For what reasons might it be delayed?
- Who performs the periodic maintenance – oil changes, etc.?
- Are the locations for service near the locations of operation?
- What happens if my truck breaks down?
- What if I get a bad trailer?
- What is the average age of the equipment?
Now, the money questions:
- What’s the pay per mile?
- Is there a guaranteed minimum weekly mileage?
- How many paid holidays?
- How often or for what reasons do drivers get raises?
- Are there any healthcare benefits?
- Do you offer a retirement plan?
We hope that you’ve found these suggestions help level the playing field when it comes to interviewing for a job as a truck driver.
If you have additional questions that you have found useful when interviewing for trucking jobs, leave them in the comments section below!