Careers in transport are diverse but as a truck driver, you are the backbone of the industry. Remember, the company needs to fill the position as much as you want the job!
Using the following interviewing techniques will help you land the job. First, we’ll review the most important interview skills you need for any job opportunity. Then we’ll look at issues specific to truck driving interviews.
You’re marketing yourself as a “product” and the interviewer must decide whether to “buy.” For careers in transport and while you’re out on the road, you can pretty much dress as you please, but the interview is different. Especially for experienced drivers, it may seem counterintuitive to dress professionally for an interview.
You’ll likely be interviewed in an office setting, facing a human relations representative dressed in traditional business attire. This person expects you’ll be dressed in a similar way. If you need to buy something and money is tight, outlet stores are a good option. Along with professional clothing:
- Wear leather shoes and make sure they're clean and shined; suede should be brushed
- Bring a leather portfolio, or a high quality binder will do
- Men should limit cologne and women should limit perfume
- Keep accessories simple and conservative
- Consider covering tattoos or body piercing
Never ask your interviewer for a pen. Have extra copies of your professional looking resume in your binder or portfolio. Research the company and find out as much information as you can. News articles and press releases are an excellent source of information. Find the company’s web site and review the:
- About Us section
- Company’s Mission Statement
- Company’s Executive or Management Team and note interesting members
- Job description for the position and how your skills match the qualifications
Using the information you’ve gathered, imagine how you’d fit into the company. Identify the skills you possess that make you a good fit. Write down this information, noting anything about the company that particularly interests or impresses you. Keep these notes in your portfolio and review them often, especially right before your interview.
Ask the Right Questions
Prepare a list of questions ahead of time and try to memorize them. Keep the list in your binder or portfolio; it’s okay to refer to it if you’re nervous and forget.
If the interviewer doesn’t ask you to sit down, ask where to be seated. This sets a respectful and professional tone right at the beginning of the interview. Always let the interviewer take the lead and never interrupt. Wait until the interviewer asks if you have any questions, or wait until the moment presents itself to ask questions that:
- Are about the things you could specifically help the company with
- Are based on your research and specific to the company
- Exhibit your knowledge of the company’s mission
- Indicate a thorough understanding of the job description
Using your knowledge of the company and paraphrasing the job description and your resume, answer any questions highlighting how your specific skills match the qualifications for the job. Most hiring managers are looking for someone to demonstrate problem-solving and passion.
Interviews in the Trucking World
In the world of trucking, there are some unique things to be aware of and common issues you can expect to come up in an interview. Lets take at some things all truck drivers looking for careers in transport should have in their toolbox.
Answering Questions About a Less-than-Perfect Driving Record
Candor is important here. Besides being on time, safety is the number one concern in the transport industry. Your interviewer expects honesty and clarity and will look for how you've changed or improved your skills since the event.
- Take full responsibility for any mistake
- Explain what you learned from the mistake
- Explain any steps you’ve taken to avoid mistakes in the future
- If you’ve taken a safety course, provide proof of course completion
For careers in transport, employers look for dependable drivers. Be prepared to answer questions designed to assess your dependability and time management skills. Describe your work ethic, your ability to show up on time for pick up/drop offs, and give an example of how you avoid being behind schedule.
Emphasize Your Skills
If you have any of the following skills or experience, they are of crucial importance for careers in transport. Highlight them on your resume and during your interview:
- Commercial-license endorsements
- Computer and communications skills
- Experience in logistics, inventory functions, warehousing
- Experience in customer service
- Experience writing driving or accident reports
- Good safety and driving records
- Hazmat qualifications
- Knowledge of federal and state regulations
- Lumper skills
- Specialization in particular types of equipment
- Tractor-trailer truck experience