5 Questions You Should Ask When Applying For a Truck Driving Job

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When applying for a job in the trucking world, you will no doubt quickly realize just how much you actually have to take on. It’s a very engaging career path that will see you deal with a huge amount of activities throughout any given day, and will typically be the catalyst for long-term growth and development for your career.

However, like anything else, you need to be able to maintain and control some kind of commitment over whatever it is that you will be dealing with; in this case, it’s the variety and flexibility of the job. From the roads that you will be taking to the actual products you will be carrying, very few days are the same within a truck driving job. However, like any other career path, it has to be planned out as closely as possible.

To do this, you simply need to know the right things to ask. When you go for a trucking job interview, you should make sure that you always have a specific set of questions that you can answer in your own hand. This should be the following five questions, which include;

Do You Have the CDL License, or Correct Requirements?

The CDL license is something that anyone needs to be able to get into the cabin of a truck and take off on the roads. It’s an absolutely vital qualification and will be needed for most, if not all, truck driving job career paths. Before you go for an interview, you should consider getting this right in your mind because if you don’t have them, you will find that the actual interview will be a whole lot shorter than planned.

Just like driving any other kind of large vehicle, you will find that life can become quite the challenge in the trucking industry without specific qualifications. Take the time to learn about this and you will see a big difference in the opportunities that you will find are now actually available to you. I suggest exploring resources online which I’ll be discussing in the paragraph below.

The good news is, trucking is a huge industry so you have many resources available to you. For example, you can start by doing a quick search for “CDL training” or “trucking school” then skimming through so you get a better idea of the type of requirements. It’s stated many of the CDL tests required before your driving examination are very similar from state to state. This means purchasing a single copy of the CDL questions and answers guide will leave you covered for other states. However, from my experience, there are several websites that offer Free CDL Practice Test – Questions and Answers so you can prepare without having to invest any money.

What Pay Do I Need?

This is something you need to ask during the interview, as well, but it’s a key factor in any kind of employment. You know roughly what you need to cover your expenses at home and to get by on a monthly basis so can you find a truck driving job that provides that kind of income. This should be the absolute minimum for any job when you look because without financial security to live your life, pay your bills, and eat when you want, it will be very hard to successfully do your job. It’s stated numerous times that a well paying job is a key to happy employees so try and keep them on your mind when looking for employment.

The pay rate will vary depending on what you are driving, what you are carrying, and your road experience. The overall risk/danger of the drive will have an effect on your pay rate, too. Keep in mind, the more experience you need or qualifications that are required by the company usually means a higher pay rate.

Is Pay Distributed as Practical or Shortest Miles?

Another big factor of any good truck driving job is the fact that you need to know if it’s “practical” or “shortest” miles in terms of the pay. Many trucking companies will be paying you in one of these two formats and understanding what suits you better is vital before taking on or even applying for any jobs. Have a look around, see what you can find out in regard to that company, and make the decision from there. You might want to ask existing employees or others from different companies what to pay close attention to.

The major problem when dealing with these types of pay formats is getting the right rate for the job. For example, if you are being paid per mile, but the haul is very short, then you simply won’t be making enough. However, with long hauls, you are guaranteed more money because of the distance in miles. Another huge problem is seniors tend to get priority in reference to routes so you might want to ask how hauls are distributed when joining the company. From my experience, they are either:

  • Seniority
  • Experience
  • Comfort Level

Is There a Home Time Policy?

Truck driving jobs are well paid, and for that reason, many truckers will stay on the road for long weeks at a time. Many established trucking companies know how this can have an effect on your family life so will offer “home” time. This is paid time with the family so you are NOT missing out on salary and at the same time, can spend time with the family. This benefit is becoming a norm in with many trucking companies, however, I noticed this is only when the company is a major trucking company. This doesn’t mean the smaller ones don’t provide it, but it’s a good idea to ask so at least you have an idea. However,

If you’re seeking employment and have NO wife and kids, then it won’t matter as much. It’s still a very important question simply because your marital situation can change in the near future and the time off would be a great benefit.

Are the Runs Local or Dedicated?

You need to know what kind of trucking runs you’re actually going to be doing because these can be either long hauls or local. The answer to this question will depend on the company you are looking for employment with. For example, larger, more global companies will MOST likely have you do longer runs, but the compensation will be high at the same time. Courier companies like UPS and FedEx have been known to really go longer with their route, however, no other company can compare to the compensation you’ll receive.

For those of you new to this industry, you need to know the difference between local runs and dedicated runs. On dedicated runs or long hauls, you’ll be spending a lot of time away from home. Local runs will keep you close by and you’ll often be returning home every night. These types of runs are best for those with families and when you need to be close by.

As you can see, there is a lot to learn about truck driving and being able to get yourself in the right kind of position so moving forward will be beneficial to you. If you join the right team, you’ll progress well in the right direction, which often includes higher pay, benefits, etc. Always take the time to learn more about local and dedicated runs so you make the right career decision going forward.

Final Thoughts

I’m sure there are a lot more questions you can ask your employer, but start off with these “5” simply because they cover the fundamentals. Sit down and do some searches online because you’ll be able to find out more about the different trucking positions available to you. This will get you thinking in-depth and will also lead to a handful of more questions you’ll like to ask when applying for a trucking position.