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What you should consider screening for before hiring an employee

8/10/2022

You'll want to look out for certain things when hiring a truck driver.

With a turnover rate consistently nearing 100%, per NPR, the need for hiring is constant. When hiring truck drivers, there are certain things you'll want to consider that you may not need to when hiring for another position. Among them are a criminal record check, drug and alcohol testing, a license check, and a physical health exam. There may be others that are pertinent to the company you are hiring for, but there are reasons worth highlighting why these particular checks are so important in the trucking industry.

Criminal record check
If someone has a history of reckless driving or driving under the influence, these are violations that would raise concern for someone looking to be a truck driver. Especially if these arrests happened in recent history, within the past 3 years, that would be a red flag. There are also other crimes that could cause an employer to reevaluate whether to bring someone onto the team, such as sexual offenses or theft.

Drug and alcohol testing
The use of substances behind the wheel pose a major risk to not only the driver and the company, but any other drivers on the road. While you may find this acceptable off the clock, some employers do not. If you're doing pre-employment drug screenings, the time to do it would be during a background check. You may also consider this if the potential employee has drug or alcohol offenses in their record but has proven to move past that. You might also do random drug and alcohol tests for those who are already on the job to maintain a drug-free environment, if you see fit.

License check
Anyone can tell you they have a license, or more specifically, a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). But it's important to look into this. They should be able to provide the physical license for you to check. Look to ensure it's the correct person, it's not expired, and it's valid.

This is in conjunction with the criminal record check. Have they had their license revoked or suspended for any reason? If so, you don't want to be liable for letting this person get behind the wheel on your watch.

Physical health exam
This is to ensure that the potential truck driver is able to complete the physical tasks required for the job. Drivers with certain medical conditions can still pass this, but it's meant to show that the job requirements wouldn't be too strenuous or potentially dangerous. Although much of driving takes place in the driver's seat, there's other elements like loading and unloading the truck.

There are other checks that your company might look into such as sex offender status and employment history. Whatever the background check consists of, it's important to stay consistent with every candidate for a fair process and ensure you receive written consent before moving forward. With these tools and checks, you can help determine if someone is right for the job.

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