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94 Questions Every Driver Must Ask Their Recruiter

December 6th, 2021

Holly Morrison

Holly Morrison

Holly has been with ATS for 8 years. She started out doing oversized permits for flatbed specialized in the permits department. Shortly after that she moved into recruiting where she is still able to apply her oversized knowledge to prospective drivers. She enjoys consulting drivers on their next career move by matching their qualifications and career goals to various ATS programs. She loves being a resource that they can count on with this major decision.


You’ve done some research. You’ve talked to other drivers. You’ve decided on your top three carriers, and you’re ready to talk to them about your negotiables and nonnegotiables so you can make a final decision and be one step closer to your dream carrier.

Now it’s just a matter of asking them the right questions to ensure you have all the information you need to make a final decision. Failing to do so can make you choose the wrong carrier and before long, you’ll be back at square one — frustrated and losing money.

There are obvious questions every driver should ask their recruiter — like home time and pay — but there are a lot of questions you may not even be thinking about before you get on the phone. And it’s very easy for the questions you want to ask to fly out of your head in the moment. Having every question you want to ask written down can keep you focused and ensure you don’t forget to ask anything. 

As a driver consultant here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), I talk to drivers just like you all day every day. I’m here to give you a list of the questions that you should be asking every time you talk to a recruiter at a new trucking company.

This article is designed to help you gather all the information you need before you make your final decision. I’ve also included questions that will help you distinguish between carriers. It’ll help you get the information you really need to determine what the best option is for you. 

For your convenience, I’ve broken these questions down into several distinct categories to guide you during your conversations, including hiring questions, program questions, pay questions, home time questions, equipment questions, operations and company questions. When you’ve gone through all the questions, you’ll feel confident going into that call with your recruiter.

Hiring and Orientation Process Questions 

Every company has slightly different hiring guidelines they must follow. Clarify with your recruiter what the hiring process consists of so you know what to expect and can fulfill all the necessary requirements. 

The hiring process and orientation can look different at every company. Be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into and that you aren’t misunderstanding any guidelines from carrier to carrier.


  • What are your hiring guidelines?
  • How do I submit my application?
  • Can I submit the application online? 
  • Can I fill it out with you over the phone? 
  • What kind of information do I need to provide you?
  • What is the turnaround time after I put in my application? 
  • What is the difference between being pre-approved and approved? 
  • How do I know when I am hired?
  • Does my relationship with my recruiter continue after I get hired? 


The application process should be fairly straightforward, but every company is different so it’s good practice to ask.

Be sure you have a clear understanding of what it means to be pre-approved, approved and hired. Each term means something different but potential drivers tend to think they’re all one and the same. You don’t want to think you’re hired only to get to orientation and be sent home for a safety violation that goes against the carrier’s hiring regulations.

Make sure you have a good understanding of their hiring guidelines and be very honest about your driving background. It’s better to be upfront about your driving history than to hope they don’t find something bad about you in a consumer report (newsflash: they will and you could be disqualified).

It’s also good to know if your recruiter plans to stay in touch with you after you’ve been hired. Some companies will just pass you along to your dispatcher, but some recruiters will stay in touch with you and can act as a liaison as you are advancing in your career. 

Orientation Schedule 

  • Where is orientation located? 
  • What is the orientation schedule? 
  • How many days will I be there? 
  • What will I be doing while in orientation? 
  • What costs am I responsible for? (Including meals, travel and accommodations)
  • Can I bring my spouse? 
  • Can I bring my pet? 
  • Do I get my own room? 
  • Should I take notes or will I receive a PDF of information? 

You should know what to expect from your orientation schedule and you should know what you will need to pay for. You’ll need to know where it’s located and if you’ll be able to pick your truck up from there or if you’ll need to go to another one of their terminals to pick it up.

It is also crucial that you know about the costs that you are and are not responsible for. The answers to these questions will help you differentiate between carriers. Some trucking companies will pay your way, give you your own room, cover your meals and let you bring your spouse along. Other carriers will make you pay your own way. 

Program Questions

Program questions will help you get to the heart of whether or not a trucking carrier aligns with your projected career path. These questions will help you determine if the company has the freight opportunities and career advancement potential you seek. 

Program and Freight Options

  • How many different programs and divisions do you offer? (including flatbeds, dry vans and heavy haul)
  • Can I move between divisions? Is there crossover or is it either or?
  • What kind of trailers can I pull? 
  • Do you have opportunities for company drivers, lease drivers and owner-operators?
  • Do I have to lease my truck from you?
  • Do you have training programs? 
  • Can you help me get my CDL?
  • Do I have to go out with a trainer? How many days or months?
  • Do you have ongoing safety and training programs?
  • Do you offer securement training for flatbeds? 

Career Advancement

  • Do I have the opportunity for advancement? 
  • How can I grow with you to move from legal to oversized freight? 

Program, freight and career advancement questions can easily knock a carrier off your list of potentials. If they don’t offer the kind of freight you want to haul, there’s no point in pursuing them. 

Pay Questions

For many drivers, pay is the most important question. And, it’s an obvious one. If you’re going to make sacrifices and spend time away from your family, you want to make sure you’re making good pay while you do it. 

However, there are a few other questions you should ask other than, “How much will I make?”. 


  • Are there any pay guarantees? 
  • What are your averages per week for company drivers? Is that gross or net? 
  • What is my gross pay and adjusted gross pay after expenses for a lease driver? 
  • What are my total average expenses for a lease per week (fixed)?
  • How do you pay lease drivers and company drivers?
  • Do you pay CPM or percentage or both? 
  • What is your CPM pay? 
  • How much of the billed fuel surcharge do lease drivers get?  
  • How often do I get paid? 
  • Do you have direct deposit?
  • Do you offer holiday and vacation pay?
  • Do you take out child support or other personal deductions?
  • What do you pay for layover and detention and stop pay? 
  • Do you pay for tarping? 


  • Is there a sign-on bonus? 
  • Are there any bonuses for advancing and growing?

Make sure you get to the nitty-gritty of pay. There are a number of factors that impact your salary; be sure you understand every single factor before you commit to anything.


Home Time Questions

Home time is big for many drivers. Some drivers want to go home as regularly as possible and some drivers are fine with being out on the road for months at a time. No matter what kind of driver you are, you need to make sure that your expectations align with the company’s home time policy. 

  • How many days can I go home for every week that I’m out? 
  • How many days or weeks am I expected to be out on average?
  • What is the average number of days I’ll need to stay out in order to make your average pay? 
  • Is there guaranteed home time for holidays? 
  • Are dispatchers good at meeting home time requests?

When you’re wondering about home time, it might be a good idea to compare what your recruiter is telling you compared to what company reviews say. Current drivers will be able to speak to this question — perhaps better than recruiters can. 

Equipment and Maintenance Questions

If you plan on being a company driver or you’d like to lease a truck from the company, asking about the state of their fleet is important. You don’t want to lease equipment that is always broken down — not only can that result in costly repairs that will come out of your pocket, but it will result in costly downtime too.


  • Am I responsible for the cost of repairs as a company driver or lease driver? 
  • Do I have to have repairs done at one of your facilities?
  • Do you require a maintenance account?
  • How well-maintained is your fleet right now? 

Equipment and Amenities 

  • What makes and models do you offer? 
  • How old is your equipment?
  • Do you have automatics and manuals? 
  • Do your trucks have auxiliary power units (APUs) and inverters? If so, how many watts?
  • Can I alter a leased truck?
  • What is your passenger policy? How many people can I have in the truck at a time? 
  • What does a passenger pass cost?
  • Do you allow pets? Is there a pet fee?

With the current state of the economy, it’s more important than ever to ask about the state of a carrier’s fleet. There is a truck shortage and new 2022 trucks may not come in until 2023. 

Because trucks can’t exactly be replaced anytime soon, you’ll want to find a company that already has newer, well-maintained trucks. Be sure that, if their fleet is older, you understand what their plan is moving forward.

Schedule a meeting to talk to a recruiter now.

Operations Questions

Operations questions will help you get a good feel for where the trucking company’s customer base is and therefore where you will be running. 

Area of Operation/Freight

  • Where is your customer base?
  • How many states do you travel to? 
  • Do you go to Mexico and Canada?
  • Do I have to go to NYC? How often? 
  • What kind of freight will I be hauling?
  • Do I have to tarp? How often?

If there are areas you definitely do not want to drive, these questions are especially important. If you have to drive to an area you don’t prefer — the northeast, for instance — find out how often you’ll have to go there. It may not be a dealbreaker if you’ll only need to travel there a few times per year.


  • How many drivers are there per dispatcher? 
  • What kind of training do they get?
  • Do you do forced dispatch? 
  • Do I have to run in poor weather conditions? 
  • Do you chain tires in the winter?

You may not think to ask about how many drivers your dispatcher works with or if you’ll be expected to run in poor weather conditions, but these questions will really help you separate the great carriers from the not-so-great. 

One of the top reasons a driver quits their carrier is because they don’t get along with their dispatcher, so it’s important to not only ask questions about their training but to search reviews for more information from current drivers. 

Company Questions 

Look for a stable company. After all, you want a job to go to tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Asking questions about the stability of the company will help you determine if you have a future with them.

Company Size

  • How big is the company? 
  • How big is the fleet?
  • How many office employees are there? 
  • Are any of your services outsourced?

It might seem weird to ask your recruiter if any services are outsourced, but it’s helpful information. If certain services are outsourced, like customer service or payroll, you may not be able to get immediate assistance like you would if all services were in-house.


  • Where are your headquarters? 
  • Where are your terminals? 
  • Is everything in the same city? 

You need to know where you should pick up your truck, where you will attend orientation and subsequent meetings and which location you should go to for maintenance. You may have to go to different locations for all of these things.


  • What is the turnover rate at the company? 
  • What is the average tenure of a driver across the board? 

Asking about a carrier’s turnover rate will give you a good idea of whether or not drivers are happy there. If there are a ton of drivers retiring with the company after decades of driving for them, that’s a great sign.


  • What is your safety record? 
  • What is the financial and debt status of the company? 
  • Do you own your assets?
  • How well did your business do during the height of the COVID pandemic? How much did it affect you?

Again, these questions might seem pretty weird to ask, but it’s important you know if the company is stable or if they’re about to go under. After the pandemic, this is especially important to know, as many businesses really struggled and went under.

Company Benefits

  • What perks or benefits do you offer? 
  • What kind of insurance do you offer?
  • Do you offer retirement planning? 
  • Do you offer paid time off for company drivers? 
  • Do you have a referral program?

The questions you ask about benefits will vary widely depending upon whether you plan to be a company or a lease driver. As a company driver, you’ll typically receive company-sponsored benefits and be considered an employee of the company. Lease drivers typically do not gain the same benefits, but the company may have resources to help you get insurance.


Schedule that Recruiter Call!

Keep this list with you for every phone call with your recruiter. It’ll guide you along and ensure you ask all the important questions. 

When you ask these questions, you’ll get a clear picture of how the carrier’s expectations align with yours and vice versa. That way, when you choose a carrier, you shouldn’t be left with any surprises.

Ask for more info than you think you need. By asking highly specific questions of each recruiter you speak to, you’ll be able to really compare and contrast each carrier.

Now that you’re armed with all the information you need, it’s time to fill out an application! When you fill out an application with ATS, you can expect to receive a call from a driver consultant within 24 business hours. 

Make sure this list is handy!


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