Truck drivers are responsible for the long-distance transport of items. They usually take these products and materials between places like manufacturing plants or distribution centers. Truck drivers also need to inspect their vehicles for mechanical issues, be aware of safety protocol, and perform routine maintenance.
While driving a load from one location to another sounds fairly straightforward, it’s not a job for the weak-hearted. Being a truck driver requires a clear understanding of road rules, vehicle knowledge, and the ability to stay focused during routes that can be over 1,000 miles long.
When hiring for an open truck driver position, companies examine candidates carefully during the interview process to ensure that they have the qualifications and soft skills to fulfill the job’s needs. Below are the top fifteen questions that are asked during a truck driver interview to evaluate these abilities.
How much experience do you have as a commercial truck driver? The beginning of a truck driver interview is usually about establishing how much experience a candidate has in the industry. While many companies are willing to take on individuals who recently received their CDL, some positions require more years of experience.
“I’ve been a commercial truck driver for the past five years. I started working on a 600-mile route in the northeast for up to 11 hours per day. After three years, I transferred to a distribution center where I was driving a standard 900-mile route.”
What made you decide to pursue a career as a truck driver? A hiring manager’s goal is to understand a candidate’s career leading up to the interview. That includes discussing your motivations for going into the commercial driving field. Describe your professional highlights and what initially drew you to the career briefly.
It’s an introduction to work your way into the interview.
“I decided to pursue a career as a truck driver for two main reasons. First of all, I wanted a job that would allow me to travel around the country a lot. I also loved driving and have a knack for working with vehicles.
With these two desires in mind, it led me to be a truck driver, so I enrolled in truck driving school before getting my CDL in 2016.”
Is your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) up to date? Being a truck driver requires a few formal qualifications, such as having a Commercial Driver License (CDL) that permits someone to professionally drive large vehicles. This license needs to be renewed every five to eight years, depending on the driver’s state of residence.
An interviewer wants to verify that a candidate has all of these necessary qualifications before continuing further.
“Yes, my Commercial Driver’s License is up to date. I just renewed it in March for another five years.”
Do you have a clean driving record? Lots of jobs require that candidates pass a background check. When going for a job that revolves around being on the road, candidates must have a clean driving record to be eligible for the position.
“Yes, I have a completely clean driving record.”
How do you plan and organize your route? In addition to physically driving the truck and performing maintenance on it, a commercial driver must also effectively organize their route. Since long-haul drives can span days, good planning skills are crucial to maintain focus and stay safe.
“Before heading off on a route, I take a look at a detailed map, even if I’ve done it a hundred times. I think having one last look keeps the information fresh in my mind before spending hours on the road.
Additionally, I pick out stop points every four hours along the journey to stretch, get a drink of water, and use the bathroom. This saves time looking for somewhere at the last minute.”
Why is it important to stop at weigh stations that are open during your shift? Being a truck driver requires knowledge of industry-related information. To decipher whether a candidate knows these details of the job, they’ll ask qualifying questions like this one. Their answer shows how experienced they are with the typical tasks on the job.
“It is important to stop at open weigh stations along the shift because it is crucial that the load continues to be balanced and at a safe weight. It’s the law for commercial truck drivers to regularly stop at weigh stations.”
How do you react to other drivers being careless on the road? Safety is a big part of a truck driver’s job. When working as a truck driver, you share the road every day with people who don’t drive professionally. Occasionally, this means that you’ll come across other drivers being careless on the road.
The interviewer asks this question to figure out how you would behave in typical situations of the job like this one if they hired you as a truck driver.
“When I’m on the road, safety is my biggest priority. Even though it can be stressful to witness other drivers being careless on the road, I stay calm and focused on being safe myself.
I avoid careless motorists as much as possible to lessen the chances of an accident happening. I always try to look out for other professional drivers to make sure they’re safe too.”
How do you stay alert on long hauls? Truck drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours per day and often reach this limit on long hauls. During an interview, a hiring manager wants to figure out how you’ll handle those tough working conditions.
“I believe that the best way to stay alert during long hauls is to map out stops every few hours along the route. Making it to each of these points gives me a goal to drive towards a little closer than the whole haul.
Additionally, when I get to these points, I take time to do some activities that liven me back up. Often, I do some form of exercise like jump roping to wake up my body. I also try to pack myself healthy foods with natural sugars and vitamins to give me a boost if I need it.”
What are your strengths as a truck driver? An interviewer asks this question to understand a candidate’s perspective on their performance as a truck driver. The areas of confidence that an interviewee discusses should be things that are highlighted by the job description.
“I believe my biggest strengths as a truck driver are my extensive knowledge of commercial driving and my customer service skills. While a lot of my job is spent alone on the road, a good portion of it also involves dealing with different types of clients who are waiting for deliveries.
Over the years, I’ve developed my customer service skills to accommodate this part of the job, and I think it makes me stand out as a truck driver.”
If a client was angry because you arrived late with their delivery, what would you do? This is another example of a situational interview question that examines how a candidate might react to a common situation when working as a truck driver.
In this case, it asks the interviewee to detail how they’d handle a negative situation with a client while maintaining professionalism.
“In a situation with an angry customer, I think the best approach is leading with open communication. I would explain to the client that I completely understand why they’re unhappy and include an updated time estimation for when I would arrive with their delivery.
Along the way, I’d continue to be very communicative about where I was along the journey and how much longer it would take. Throughout the conversation, I’d try to be positive and solution-oriented.”
Have you ever had an accident or problems on the road? Since a truck driver spends their career driving on the open road, they may experience an accident or issue at some point in their professional life. When answering this question, be sure to include information about how you handled this situation when it occurred.
“While I’ve never been in an accident on the road, I’ve had mechanical issues with my vehicle while on a long haul drive once before. Once I noticed that the truck was driving strangely, I pulled off at the nearest rest stop, which was thankfully very close.
I did a full inspection of the vehicle and found that one of the front right tires was deflating. I replaced the tire at the rest stop, did one final sweep for safety, and continued on my route as normal.”
Are you okay with being away from home for over a week at a time? Being a truck driver isn’t the ideal career for certain lifestyles because being away from home for long periods is a necessity. An interviewer needs to be clear about a candidate’s availability to go on long hauls for over a week at a time.
“Yes, I am okay with being away from home for over a week at a time. I live with my girlfriend who takes care of our apartment and dog while I’m away for work.”
Tell me about a time you had a setback on a delivery and how you handled it. An interviewer is curious to find out how you’ll deal with the stressful parts of being a truck driver.
They’ll ask about setbacks you’ve faced on a past delivery to receive details about how you’ll tackle problems on the job in the future. This is another example of a behavioral interview question.
“I had a setback on a long haul delivery that I was driving during my first year in the field. The delivery had a hard deadline that I was determined to meet, but there was a major accident on the highway, and traffic was at a standstill. After six hours of being stuck in place, it was clear that I wasn’t going to make the strict deadline.
I ended up calling the client to communicate the situation blatantly. They understood and gave me an extra 24 hours to make the delivery. I made it in this window of time.”
What does your current availability look like? When hiring for a position that demands a lot of your time, like being a truck driver, an interviewer wants to be straightforward about a candidate’s current availability. It allows them to be realistic about how much and when they can work.
“I am currently available to take on long haul drives that demand up to 70 hours over eight days. I would require at least three days off between long-haul shifts to spend at home. I will be available to start as soon as next week.”
Why should we hire you? The person who has the most comprehensive perspective on their performance as a truck driver is the candidate themselves. That’s why an interviewer usually asks them, “why should we hire you?”.
When answering, a candidate should outline the aspects of their personality and experience that make them an ideal fit for the role. The hiring manager wants the applicant to sell themselves succinctly when posing this blunt question.
“Your company should hire me because I have five years of dedicated experience as a commercial truck driver. In that time, my communication skills and knowledge of how to have a safe drive have matured greatly.
I’m committed to being a safe and efficient truck driver and have the track record to prove it. I think these qualities make me an ideal truck driver for your company.”