Are you only starting out applying for ajob as a professional CDL or OTR truck driver? So, you’ve done the training and completed the courses, you’ve got your license and endorsements in hand and you are as eager as a beaver to get started. You look everywhere and apply at all the best freight transportation companies in the country, and someone wants to set up an interview.
Interviews, no matter which industry you are working in, can be a bit intimidating to the most of us. You have to answer a whole lot of questions, some of which can be difficult to answer when you are put in a spot or feeling nervous. Just to help ease your mind and assist you during this process, we’ve compiled a list of top tips for you to stick to when going on your first interview and acing it too. Let’s take a look at what they are.
1. Dress to Impress
Believe it or not, going to a CDL or OTR truck interview will still require you to dress up, clean up, and look presentable. Even though while doing the job you are able to wear whatever you want (and some companies will even have a uniform), this should not be your approach when going for that very first interview. The saying holds true, that first impressionlast a lifetime, and you only have this one chance to leave a good impression. Making the effort and dressing nicely will show your prospective employers that you respect them and that you have a sense of pride in how you assert yourself. In short, we’d definitely not recommend showing up in shorts and a tired t-shirt that’s not been through the wash.
2. Bring the Important Papers
In most cases, you will be required to bring important documentation with you to the interview. Remember to have a couple of copies of your resume on hand, together with all the necessary paperwork that your prospective employer will need to confirm that you are certified and capable of doing the job at hand. These include your CDL license as well as your medical card. Preparation is key to a successful interview, and will also ensure that your anxiety levels are not too high. Get all the paperwork ready the night before the interview, and think about possible interview questions they could ask. Be sure to have a pen on hand and not bring the paperwork as is. Keep it tidy and protected in a file.
Bonus: Do some research on the freight transportation company the night before, and compile a list of questions that you may have for the interviewer.
3. Honesty is the Best Policy
The interviewer will probably ask you straight out about any instances of accidents or anything that may be on your record. If not, the responsibility is yours to be truthful and provide the interviewers with as much information as possible. Even if it is not discussed, you will be better off putting all your cards on the table upfront as it could be a costly and sad exercise should they hire you only to find out you are not able to drive across the border for whatever reason or for whatever is on your record. Not only will they surely notify other professionals about the fact that you are untruthful and have a record, the fact that when they do so, you will more than likely lose all credibility and struggle to find any job at all.
4. Discuss Any Work Experience
Whether it comes up during the interview or not, making the interviewers aware of your past experience could be a major benefit as this will show them that you are capable of many things. It will also open the door a little bit wider if your previous experience can be integrated into your new job. Sometimes, the strangest experience might have the biggest advantage. For instance, if you worked while getting your qualification, this could indicate to the employer that you have perseverance and are independent and responsible. Or, if you have worked as a waiter before, it could show them that your communication skills are great and that you are able to adapt and work closely with others.
5. Pass the Substance Test
As you should know by now, as a CDL or OTR truck driver you are required to be clean and sober, and in order for you to remain certified and keep your license, you are required to go for drug and substance tests on a fairly regular basis. This will also be the case when starting a new job. No freight transportation will even consider hiring someone with a negative result on a drug screening test. Besides, staying clean and healthy is the best way to go if you want to enjoy a full and happy life.
6. Be Patient
The chances of the company hiring you on the spot are slim. Any hiring process takes a little time as the company has to see all the suitable candidates and interview them, possibly have a second round of interviews to narrow things down a bit, and then, if you do cut it, you may even be required to show them with a practical test that you can drive as a CDL or OTR truck driver. In between all of these steps the freight transportation company may also start doing a background check on your records and have you completing some paperwork. Some companies will even require you to complete their own training before you can drive and earn your first paycheck. Just be patient, soon enough you will be driving as part of a magnificent courier company’s team.
The key tip for going to an interview is to remain calm, take deep breaths and listen carefully to what the interviewer is asking. Some people tend to develop verbal diarrhea in such situations, which you should try to control. Listen carefully to the question, if you don’t understand, ask the interviewer to repeat it, and then answer. Honesty is king and just try to be yourself. It is also important to have some questions ready for them, as this will indicate your interest in the company, but also inform you of important information that you should know, e.g. hours and schedules, routes and so on. Not sure where to get started on the job hunt? Have a look at this great resource for truck driver job listings in the USA. We wish you everything of the best for your CDL truck driver interview.