Part 3: Tips on Transitioning From OTR to Local Driver

Tips on Going Local

By: Steve Irick

While there are a lot of jobs out there, the good ones attract more candidates, so the employer can be selective. Your ability to have an edge over those other applicants can mean whether the job goes to you or not. The key to your success will be how you display your skills as a professional driver during the interview.

A Few Pointers For A Successful Interview

 Dress for the job: Get a haircut, shave, bathe, wear clean, appropriate clothes and work shoes. Brush your teeth, and get rid of the gum and tobacco. Many employers don’t smoke or like the smell, so consider refraining from a cigarette before your interview.

Remember to leave your cell phone in your vehicle – an incoming call can be very disruptive.

Be a professional: During the interview avoid disparaging comments about your previous employer and co-workers. Express yourself with positive comments, look for the “half full” versus the “half empty.”

Be humble about yourself, no one wants to hire an arrogant braggart. Ask questions, smile and be polite – words like “sir” or “ma’am” and “thank you” are respectful and do make a difference.

Your driving skills are very important: This is what the job is, so start the road test with a thorough pre- trip, explain what you are doing and why – the employer wants to know that you are knowledgeable about the equipment and what you are doing. Don’t forget the three-point mount and dismount! When you get in the cab make sure that the radio and CB are off.

Look for all the paperwork – registration, insurance card, DVIR. Familiarize yourself with all the controls and adjust the mirrors and seat before you get rolling. At the end of your test drive, remember to do a post trip.

And most importantly: Use your seatbelt!

New Driver Training

“How do I get the job if I don’t have the experience?” This is a common question asked and a catch 22 situation in the trucking industry, because even after completing a driver training program, opportunities are very limited. The industry standard is 1-2 years driving experience and new drivers don’t have that when they complete truck driving school.

There are two typical scenarios that a new driver follows: Go to a truck driving school and then get placed (usually OTR) or hire on with an OTR company and go through their training program.  What’s the difference? Money.

An informal survey on a Facebook group recently asked drivers if they had a choice between a company sponsored program or going to trucking school what would they choose. The overwhelming majority, 80%, said attending a reputable trucking school would be their option.

The primary reason for this answer was that paying their own way through school offered less commitment to the company and more flexibility to the driver to choose where they wanted to work.

Part 1: Tips on Transitioning From OTR to Local Driver 

Part 2: Tips on Transitioning From OTR to Local Driver