10 Best Interview Questions For New CDL Drivers
Every fleet manager knows that hiring a driver is a big deal. Making sure the person is reliable, trustworthy, and a good addition to your team is essential. Of course, when hiring a new CDL driver who’s fresh on the road, the job gets even tougher. To help you make a smart hiring decision, here are 10 interview questions you should definitely ask new CDL drivers to help you decide if they’re the right fit or not.
#1 Why did you choose trucking as your career?
Everyone who’s been there knows that a job behind the wheel takes a great deal of commitment. It also requires great focus with an emphasis on safety. A great candidate will describe themselves as a driving enthusiast. After all, enjoying driving is core to the position.
#2 What are you most excited about when completing a delivery?
Candidates should bring up the various qualities that make them well-suited for the position, such as a love for travelling, the ability to get along with others, an enjoyment of meeting new people, and so on. These are all traits that will help them have a healthy, happy life on the road.
#3 What would you consider to be your greatest strength?
While this question may feel generic, because it could be asked in an interview for any position, employers repeatedly listed it as one of the most important questions to ask when interviewing for a trucking position.
This question is asked to determine how well the candidate’s values match the company’s and give you the chance to have them expand on their listed strengths. Ideally, they’ll mention flexibility, honesty, dedication, a strong work ethic, or something else along those lines.
#4 You’re running late on a delivery due to reasons outside of your control. How do you make sure the customer is satisfied?
Every fleet manager knows that ensuring customer satisfaction through timely, reliable service is the core focus — and every driver should know that too. Of course, things happen that can delay a driver, and it’s important that you know what they’d do in such a situation.
You should look for candidates who talk about keeping their supervisor and their customer updated about the delay and in-the-loop.
#5 If your delivery arrives late, how will you respond to an angry customer?
Customers will inevitably be frustrated when deliveries are late. After all, a lot is riding on a trucker’s timely work. Still, late deliveries happen, and it’s critical that you hire a driver professional enough to remain calm, even in the face of disrespect.
The right candidate will tell you how they’ll apologize for the late delivery, take responsibility for it on behalf of the company, and explain the circumstances, especially if it’s beyond their control.
#6 In the event that you breakdown, how will you deal with that situation?
Candidates know that keeping themselves and others on the road safe is the first priority, so the first thing they should speak about is safely vacating the travelling lanes and setting off road flares (if it’s nighttime or there’s bad weather).
They should also run through other safety precautions before calling for help with mechanical issues. From there, they discuss alerting their supervisor and then the customer regarding the delays it may cause.
#7 How would you deal with accidents as a truck driver?
Asking this question will reveal more information about the candidate’s driving history and help you gauge whether or not they’re honest about past incidents. It can also reveal their knowledge of transportation laws.
#8 Why is it important to stop at open weigh stations?
This question may seem simple, but it can reveal just how familiar the driver is with the protocols for driving on freeways and interstates. The right candidate knows that their load needs to be at a safe weight and properly balanced while they’re on the road, and they’ll emphasize that in their answer. A good driver will stop when they’re supposed to rather than taking shortcuts. They should talk about self-inspecting their trailer, too.
#9 What FMCSA regulations apply to truck drivers like yourself?
The right candidates will know about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and that they issue regulations all the time. They should also know that not being in compliance with those regulations could cost your company big time. Their answer will tell you whether or not they understand the risks of noncompliance (i.e., financial penalties, exhausted drivers, etc.).
#10 Why shouldn’t you take stimulants?
Medications are not safe for drivers and are a major cause of big rig accidents. You want an employee who will not use such stimulants and one that acknowledges that using them puts them and other drivers in danger. The right candidate will point out that they follow all safety policies, take rest periods as expected, and always prioritize safety.
Of course, there are countless other interview questions that you can and most likely will ask potential candidates. But if you provide them with well thought out questions and allow them to do most of the talking, you’ll be that much closer to finding your next well-qualified driver for the job.