How To Hire A CDL Driver

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Table Of Contents

Do you need to hire a CDL driver? Learn everything you need to know about CDL driver job descriptions, where to find CDL drivers, and the skills you should look for. 

As the economy continues to grow, the demand for truck drivers has increased significantly. The trucking industry is an essential part of the economy, and CDL truck drivers are in high demand. However, hiring a CDL truck driver can be challenging, and it requires a different approach than hiring a regular driver. In this article, we will discuss how to hire a CDL truck driver.

CDL truck drivers are required to have a commercial driver's license, which is a specialized license that allows them to operate commercial vehicles. They are responsible for transporting goods across the country, and they play a crucial role in the supply chain. Hiring a CDL truck driver requires a different approach than hiring a regular driver because of the specialized skills and experience required. In the following sections, we will discuss the steps you can take to find and hire the right CDL truck driver for your business.

Quickstart Guide To Hiring A CDL Driver

  1. Sign up for ZipRecruiter's free trial. Explore existing operating room nurse job postings to get an idea of what other employers are posting. Post your first job for free. ZipRecruiter is the top job posting site that our team recommends.
  2. Upload your job description. Steal our CDL truck driver job description and customize it to make it your own.
  3. Post to ZipRecruiter or other free job posting sites. ZipRecruiter provides access to a wide pool of potential hires. Post your first job for free! It is ranked the best job posting site by our team.

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How To Hire A CDL Driver In 3 Steps

1. Identify Your Hiring Needs

To begin the process of hiring a CDL truck driver, the first step is to identify your hiring needs. This involves understanding the specific requirements of your business and the type of driver you need. The type of freight you transport, the distance of the routes, and the schedule all play a role in determining the qualifications of your ideal candidate.

It is essential to consider the experience level of the driver you need. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), the trucking industry is facing a shortage of drivers due to the aging workforce and a lack of new entrants. As such, you may need to consider whether you are willing to train a new driver or require someone with years of experience.

Another factor to consider is the type of truck and trailer combination that the driver will be operating. Different types of trailers require different skills and experience levels. For example, a flatbed trailer requires a driver who is skilled in securing loads and operating specialized equipment, such as winches and chains. On the other hand, a refrigerated trailer requires a driver who is knowledgeable about temperature control systems and can maintain the proper temperature throughout the journey.

By identifying your hiring needs, you can create a clear job description that attracts the right candidates. This can help streamline the hiring process and ensure that you find a driver who meets your specific requirements.

2. Write A Compelling Job Description

Once you have identified your hiring needs, the next step is to write a compelling job description that attracts the right CDL truck driver candidates.

A well-written job description is critical in helping you find the right driver for your business. It is the first point of contact between your company and potential candidates and can make a significant impact on the quality of applicants you receive. A clear and comprehensive job description can help attract the right candidates and ensure that they understand the requirements of the job.

To create a compelling job description, it is essential to include all the necessary details about the job, such as the responsibilities, qualifications, and experience required. Use bullet points to make the job description easier to read and highlight the essential qualifications. This will help potential candidates quickly identify whether they are a good fit for the job.

It is also important to provide information about the type of truck and trailer combination that the driver will be operating, as well as the type of freight they will be transporting. This will help potential candidates understand the specific requirements of the job and determine whether they have the necessary skills and experience.

In addition to the job requirements, it is also helpful to provide information about the company culture, benefits, and any training opportunities that may be available. This can help attract candidates who are a good fit for the job and the company.

3. Post The CDL Driver Job Online

Once you have identified your hiring needs and written a compelling job description, it's time to post the job online. Posting the job online is an effective way to reach a large pool of potential candidates. However, it is essential to post the job in the right places and include all the necessary details about the job and the application process.

There are several job boards and websites where you can post your job for free or for a fee. We recommend signing up for a free trial on ZipRecruiter and niche job sites such as, TruckerSearch, and TruckDriverJobs411. These job boards specialize in connecting CDL truck drivers with potential employers and can help you find the right candidate for your business.

You can also reach out to local truck driving schools or post the job on social media to attract local candidates. This can be an effective way to find candidates who are already in the industry or who are interested in pursuing a career as a CDL truck driver.

Why Hire A CDL Driver?

CDL drivers are specially licensed drivers who are qualified to drive a variety of large, commercial vehicles such as buses or trucks. There are several reasons why a business might want to hire a CDL driver:

  • Expertise: CDL drivers have undergone extensive training and testing to obtain their commercial driver's license. They are experts in operating large vehicles and have a thorough understanding of safety regulations and procedures. By hiring a CDL driver, businesses can ensure that their vehicles are operated safely and efficiently.
  • Cost-effective: Hiring a CDL driver can be cost-effective for businesses that require regular transportation services. CDL drivers are trained to handle large vehicles, which can reduce the risk of accidents and damage to the vehicle. This can save businesses money in the long run by avoiding costly repairs and insurance claims.
  • Flexibility: CDL drivers are trained to operate a variety of commercial vehicles, which makes them versatile and flexible. They can handle different types of loads and can adapt to changing transportation needs. This makes them an ideal choice for businesses that require transportation services regularly.

What Does It Cost To Hire A CDL Driver?

Hiring a CDL driver can be a costly process for any trucking company. The cost of hiring a CDL driver can vary depending on several factors, including salary, recruitment spend, tuition reimbursement, and other costs.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for CDL truck drivers is $49,920.

However, the salary can vary depending on the industry, experience, and location. For instance, a CDL driver working in the specialized freight trucking industry can earn a median annual wage of $52,800, while a driver in the courier and express delivery services industry can earn $44,970.

Recruitment Spend

Recruiting new CDL drivers can be an expensive process. According to a study by the Upper Plains Transportation Institute, the average cost per hire for CDL drivers was $8,234 in 2001. Adjusted for inflation, this would be around $14,275 in 2023. Recruitment spend can include advertising, dedicated recruitment phone lines, websites, automated application systems, recruiter salaries or agency fees, referral fees, sign-on bonuses, background checks, road tests, staffing training, and orientation meetings.

Tuition Reimbursement

Many trucking companies offer tuition reimbursement programs to attract new CDL drivers. These programs cover the cost of CDL training for new drivers, and in return, the driver agrees to work for the company for a set period. The cost of tuition reimbursement can vary depending on the program and the location of the CDL training school.

Other Costs

Other costs associated with hiring a CDL driver can include drug testing, physical examinations, and insurance. These costs can vary depending on the state and the requirements of the trucking company.

Skills And Qualifications To Look For In A CDL Driver

When hiring a CDL driver, there are certain skills and qualifications that employers should look for to ensure that they are hiring the best candidate for the job. Here are some of the main skills and qualifications to consider:

CDL License

The most important qualification for a CDL driver is, of course, a valid commercial driver's license. This license is required by law for anyone who operates a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), and it ensures that the driver has the necessary knowledge and skills to safely operate a large vehicle on public roads.


Experience is also an important factor to consider when hiring a CDL driver. Employers should look for candidates who have a proven track record of safe driving, as well as experience operating the specific type of vehicle that they will be driving.

Safety Record

Safety is a top priority for any employer, and it is especially important when it comes to hiring a CDL driver. Employers should look for candidates who have a clean driving record with no accidents or violations, as well as a history of following all safety regulations and procedures.

Physical Fitness

Operating a large vehicle can be physically demanding, so it is important to look for candidates who are in good physical shape and have the stamina to handle long hours on the road. Employers should also look for candidates who can pass a DOT physical exam and meet all other physical requirements for the job.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is essential for any CDL driver, as they will need to communicate with dispatchers, other drivers, and other members of their team regularly. Employers should look for candidates who have strong communication skills, both verbal and written.

Technical Skills

Finally, employers should look for candidates who have strong technical skills, including the ability to perform basic vehicle maintenance and repairs, as well as the ability to use electronic logging devices and other technology commonly used in the industry.

Best Places To Find A CDL Driver

When looking to hire a CDL driver, employers have several options to consider. Here are some of the best places to find a CDL driver:

Online Job Boards

Online job boards are a great place to start when looking to hire a CDL driver. Sites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Monster offer a wide range of job postings, making it easy to reach a large pool of potential candidates. Employers can post job listings and search resumes to find qualified CDL drivers.

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Niche Job Boards

In addition to general job boards, there are also niche job boards that cater specifically to the trucking industry. Sites like,, and are great options for employers looking to hire CDL drivers. These sites offer job postings and resume databases tailored specifically to the trucking industry.

Local Colleges

Many local colleges and vocational schools offer CDL training programs. Employers can reach out to these schools to connect with newly trained CDL drivers. This is a great way to find candidates who are just starting their careers in the trucking industry.

Job Fairs

Job fairs are another great option for employers looking to hire CDL drivers. These events bring together job seekers and employers in one location, making it easy to connect with potential candidates. Employers can set up a booth and talk to job seekers about their open positions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for becoming a CDL driver?

To become a CDL driver, you must have a valid commercial driver's license and meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) requirements. This includes passing a physical exam, obtaining a medical certificate, and passing a knowledge and skills test.

How can I attract more CDL driver candidates?

To attract more CDL driver candidates, consider offering on-the-job CDL training so that people without a CDL can apply. You can also post your job online on job boards like Indeed to find and attract quality CDL drivers.

What is the DOT Clearinghouse Pre-Employment Query Requirement?

The DOT Clearinghouse Pre-Employment Query Requirement is a requirement that employers must meet when hiring CDL drivers. This requirement involves querying the FMCSA's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to determine if a driver has any drug or alcohol violations on their record.

What are some interview questions to ask during a truck driver interview?

During a truck driver interview, you can ask questions such as:

  • Tell me about some of the credentials you may have that will qualify you as a commercial truck driver.
  • What are your plans for your overall career path?
  • Are you comfortable traveling for a week or longer?
  • Why do you think you're right for this role?
  • How would you describe your driving record?

How can I ensure that my CDL driver is qualified and safe?

To ensure that your CDL driver is qualified and safe, you can check their driving record, obtain a copy of their medical certificate, and conduct a drug and alcohol test. You can also provide ongoing training and education to ensure that they are up-to-date on the latest safety regulations and best practices.

Bottom Line

Hiring CDL drivers is a crucial aspect of the transportation industry. With the current driver shortage, it is essential to be strategic when hiring to ensure that your business can continue to operate smoothly. Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind when hiring CDL drivers:

  • Be prepared to offer competitive compensation packages to attract the best candidates. The typical salary range for CDL drivers in the US is $14,000 - $140,000 yearly. It is important to research the average salary in your area and industry to ensure that you are offering a fair wage.
  • Consider hiring entry-level CDL drivers. While experienced drivers are always desirable, the current shortage may require you to expand your search to include entry-level candidates. These drivers may require additional training, but they can be a valuable asset to your team.
  • Utilize job boards and staffing agencies to find qualified candidates. Many online job boards specialize in CDL jobs, such as Drive My Way. Staffing agencies, like TransForce, can also help you find and hire CDL drivers with a variety of skills and endorsements.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can increase your chances of hiring the right CDL drivers for your business. Remember to be patient and thorough in your search, and always prioritize safety and compliance when hiring drivers.

Post your CDL driver job listing on ZipRecruiter today!