Driver Selection is Everything – Why Not Hire for Success?

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Guest Blogger – Mark G. Gardner, CEO, Avatar Management Services Inc.

Few industries today suffer from greater employee turnover than transportation. On one hand, this represents an enormous financial burden on fleet owners and on the other, it poses a remarkable opportunity.

If winning begins with selecting and hiring quality drivers, why is it that so many employers are willing to settle for the first applicant who shows up with the minimum qualifications? Worse, why do recruiters seemingly ignore important traits during the hiring process and, instead, focus on qualities and characteristics that rarely predict on-the-job success?

Millions of hours of research have focused on better understanding the human psyche, and we have definitely learned enough to peel back the complexity of the human experience. We can define and quantify certain characteristics or traits and, through validated assessment protocols, we can assess candidates based on whether desirable traits are present or not.

When it comes to selecting professional drivers, nothing is more important than hiring applicants who are inherently safe in their workplace. To help employers determine a driver’s safe behavior, they should conduct a comprehensive background check and consider using pre-employment assessment tests.

Comparing Drivers on Risk Tolerance
Comparing one applicant to another is a challenge. However, let’s take a look at what makes a person a safe driver? Part of it may be his or her experience, possibly reaction time, or ability to drive without undue fatigue. But if we look at various studies¬ – characteristics such as values, motivations and personality seem key to how they will perform.

Values are the principles and beliefs upon which each of us make our decisions. They are difficult to define but easy to spot. Values are established at an early age and cemented during adolescence. And, even though they change as we get older, our values don’t necessarily change simply because the boss told us to change.

Drivers who are conscientious, dependable and who value safety and the well-being of others have far fewer collisions. Why not hire drivers like this?

Motivations are the activities and rewards to which a person is attracted. As they say, one man’s trash may very well be another man’s treasure. When it comes to driving, the job provides autonomy, independence, the open road and long hours of solitude and predictable routines. Drivers who like these activities, usually enjoy the job. Why not hire drivers like this?

Personality refers to disposition. It is the foundation of how someone is likely to react to situational demands or to other people. Personality traits influence a person’s willingness to do the job correctly. Ideal traits for the driver job include risk-aversion, compliance, friendliness, stability and deference. Why not hire drivers like this?

Nature vs. Nuture
So, the ongoing question many employer ask, does nurture (training, education, company culture) trump nature (who they are inside) when it comes to reducing the risky behaviors? Is it better to hire for experience and skills and then try to influence the person or is it better to screen out the risk takers in the first place? A case can be made for both philosophies, but the evidence shows that selection and hiring is by far the most effective and least costly strategy for achieving better organizational results.

A pre-employment assessment instrument designed to uncover characteristics linked directly to aggression, patience, attention to detail, conscientiousness and risk aversion can help you hire the best and safest candidates.

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HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.

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