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How Long Does the Truck Driver Application Process Take?

June 13th, 2022

Robbie Schaefer

Robbie Schaefer

Robbie came to ATS with ten years of transportation experience under his belt. He has worked at ATS for the last seven years as a driver consultant. He prides himself on using his industry knowledge to assist drivers in making the best career decisions for themselves.

Ready to apply at a new trucking company? Just how long does it take? And how can you make the application process go faster? CAN you make it go faster?

One of the worst things you can do is quit your current company only to find out that it might be another month before you can get hired with a new company. That leaves you weeks without pay. 

As a senior recruiter here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), I have the inside scoop on industry-wide practices and when you can expect to receive application approval.  

When you’re finished reading, you’ll know how long you can expect it to take for your application approval to come back. You'll also know what you can do to ensure your application moves through the process smoothly.

When Will I Hear From a Driver Recruiter? 

So you’ve submitted your full application. Now what? 

When you fill out your full application, you can expect to get a phone call from a recruiter quickly. Most companies will try to call you within 24 hours or one business day — some have policies in place that dictate this. 

Studies show that the sooner a recruiter calls a candidate, the more likely they’ll be hired. That means if you’ve put your application in with numerous companies, you can expect to be bombarded with phone calls. 

Woman talking on a headset. A laptop is in front of her.What Does the Application Review Process Look Like? 

Recruiters will discuss your application with you on the phone and your interest in the company. As long as your information is correct — including the spelling of your name, your social security number, address and employment history — they can start running the required reports on you while you’re on the phone. 

Companies will run your motor vehicle records (MVR), pre-employment screening (PSP), commercial driver’s license information (CDLIS) and a work verification report (Drive-A-Check or DAC is common). These reports can come back while the recruiter is still on the phone with you. However, some companies won’t run your PSP until after you’ve been offered a position. Keep in mind that companies may run their reports in totally different orders.

On a typical day, these reports come back in about one hour. From there, the recruiter can determine if you fit within the company’s hiring guidelines. They can tell you right then and there on the phone if you’re out of guidelines or if they can proceed with your application and start talking about orientation dates. If you’re not on the phone with them when the reports come back, they’ll give you a call. 

After the recruiter has determined that you’re approved to move to the next step,  they’ll start requesting work verifications. Some recruiters may request verifications along with the other reports.

There are several ways they can do this. A lot of the bigger trucking companies with more reputable, large safety departments report work history on the DAC or Driver iQ report, so results can be found very quickly. Smaller companies may not be reporting to any database. In that case, it can take longer for a verification to come back.

They may also email a contact from the company or call them. In some cases, they may need to get in touch with a company via fax. 

Either way, recruiters and application processors will do what they can to get in touch with the companies listed in your work history. Keep in mind that you need to include your complete work history, even if that includes Burger King or Target. Having a lot of jobs on your record can slow the process.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), companies have 30 days to get back to trucking companies with a work verification. Some companies only take a few days to provide a work verification, some provide them within a day and some take the full 30 days. Some will only send out work verifications on a certain day of the week at a certain time. So even if a request was put in an hour after that timeframe, you’ll be waiting another week to receive your work verification. 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recommends at least one work verification in every driver file. That means if you have one verification, you can be invited to truck orientation and you’d meet DOT requirements. Regulations state that you must make a good faith effort. Companies define what that means differently and use their own standards to stay in regulation. 

So, that means that some companies will not invite you to orientation until they’ve received verifications from every company you’ve worked for. That means you could be waiting a couple of days or you could be waiting the full 30 days. 

Remember, even when you get invited to orientation, you aren’t certified or hired until you go through the whole orientation process. If you do head to orientation and a work verification comes back that doesn’t paint you in a positive light or it takes you out of hiring guidelines, you could be sent home. 

How to Speed Up the Application and Approval Process

While you can't control how quickly trucking companies respond to your work verification, there are a few things you can do on your end to speed up the application process. 

Make Sure Your Information is Accurate

First and foremost, make sure all your information is accurate. If you mix up a number or write down your address incorrectly, it can delay your application by days. Recruiters and application processors will spend valuable time trying to figure out why your reports aren’t coming back and then they’ll need to get ahold of you again to confirm the information. 

Everything you can do to ensure accuracy will speed up the process. If you have to, ask a trusted family member or friend to review your application before you hit submit.

A close up view of an employment application. A hand can be seen hovering over the paper with a pen.

Include Thorough Contact Information

Always make sure you’re thorough when you fill out your work history. Simply writing down the name of a trucking company, especially when it’s a small one, won’t get you very far. 

Trying to track down a small company when you don’t have a name, phone number or location isn’t impossible, but it’ll certainly take a lot of time. Include all the details you have available. If you know the DOT number of your past trucking company, that’ll help immensely. 

Especially if you’ve worked for a lot of small companies, keep good contact information for them. That way there is someone to contact if that company closes or changes hands. 

Remember: Some companies require work verifications from every company you worked at, so if you don’t have a good contact you may very well not get hired. 

Answer Your Phone

It’s important to stay in touch with your recruiter. If you have an appointment scheduled for Wednesday and they call you on a Tuesday, it’s probably because they need further information from you. Answer your phone.

Be sure you keep in contact with your recruiter every step of the way; it’ll move the process along. 

Learn More

So there you have it: it can take anywhere from a couple of hours or a couple of days to 30 days. It all depends on how quickly the trucking companies you’ve worked for turn in your work verification. 

You can check out these articles to help guide you in the process and learn more about background checks, the hiring process and orientation. 

If you’re ready to apply, you can fill out a contact form or the full application to learn more and speak with an ATS driver consultant. 

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