What does your Recruiting Ad Message say about your Company? by Ellen Voie


Before you create an ad campaign, you must first determine whom you want to recruit.  Sure, you want drivers, but are you targeting owner-operators or company drivers, regional or long haul, flatbed or dry van, men or women?

Men or women?  Why should your ad consider the reader’s gender, aren’t all drivers looking for the same thing…pay, home time, equipment, etc?  Not necessarily, if you truly want to recruit women you might consider changing your message and your graphic to be more inclusive.

If your ads depict scantily clad women spread across the grill of a truck, you aren’t going to attract female drivers.  It’s offensive to them.   What about the wording in your ads?  “Take your wife to the big island” claims one ad.  Wife?  A simple solution would be to change “wife” to “spouse,” but then you’ve excluded all the single drivers.

At Women In Trucking (WIT), we’re concerned about the way our industry reaches out to potential female drivers, and recruiting ads are part of the challenge.  The message and the image often excludes our target audience.

In an effort to better understand the driver’s perspective, we teamed with Dr. Jeanette Kersten, EdD , Assistant Professor in the Department of Operations and Management at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.  Graduate students Anyradha Nigam, Martha Vang and Tracy Abrahamson designed a recruiting ad project to better understand the female driver perception.

Nigam began the project with a survey and handed it off to Abrahamson and Vang who took it to the next level with additional research and a final report.  Some of their findings were surprising.

Sixty-eight CDL holders completed the survey, which depicted three ads from WIT member companies.  The respondents were asked for their opinions on the ads.  The questions asked whether the ads were believable, relevant, persuasive and clear, in addition to other criteria.  The drivers were able to provide additional input in a comments section.

One of the ads featured a professional driver; the other two were stock photos (models).  The respondents questioned the ads’ honesty with comments such as, “lies,” “dishonest,” or “biased.”  One even remarked that the teeth were too “white” for a professional driver!  The ad with a couple (team) was criticized for not using “real drivers.”

When asked, “If you were to create a recruiting advertisement, what would you include?”  Eighty percent wanted information on “home time” and “benefits” to be included.  “Experience requirements” scored 75% and “wages” was listed as the fourth most important item to include in a recruiting ad.  The type of equipment was important to 67 percent of the respondents, and “miles run” was next with 64 percent.  The routes (or lanes) were important to 61 percent of the drivers, “perks” followed with 57 percent.

One notable finding was that 52 percent of the drivers wanted to know about the company’s pet policy!  Women are often more apt to want to bring a pet with them for security reasons or just for companionship. The carriers that allow a dog or cat in the cab should be sure to include that in their recruiting ads.

The survey included a few open-ended questions.  When asked what should be included in an a recruitment ad the comments included things such as the turnover rate, CSA  score, background requirements, bonus information and special benefits such as gym memberships, satellite radios and group discount programs.

One driver felt the ads should reveal the “attitude of dispatchers!”  Another respondent wanted to know the dispatch policies (forced or choice).  A number of the comments asked for the type of freight the company hauls.

The purpose of this research is to create a “Best Recruiting Ad” contest for Women In Trucking members.  We will use the findings to identify the criteria for advertisements that reflect the mission of the association and appeal to female professional drivers.

Our goal is to encourage companies to take a hard look at their recruiting ads and consider whether or not they appeal to women.  Models in short skirts in front of a truck need not apply.


© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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I'm just a EX-truck driver, trying to pass along a little information. I been in the Trucking Industry as a driver for over 15 years. I have driven both as an owner operator and as a company driver. I have also been a driver instructor for an accredited truck driving school in KY. I am no longer a truck driver, but I consider myself to be a watchdog for the trucking industry. In fact this site is the #1 site for getting the real news about trucking. We don't hold back here, you will hear the full story. Twitter | |Truck Drivers News Facebook
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