12 Common Truck Driver Interview Questions And Answers
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Today we have shortlisted commonly asked interview questions with guideline answers. Remember, the success of acing CDL truck driver interview questions is dependent upon preparation, preparation, and more preparation. So, before going to your interview, familiarise yourself with the company (i.e., what they do, the locations they drive to, the type of cargo they transport, and how many trucks they own etc.). Also, take some time to understand the company norms, its mission, and job specifications.
Your goal is to prepare for a wide range of interview questions that will cover your skillset. For example, knowledge of traffic rules, vehicle maintenance procedures, time management skills, truck driving skills, interpersonal skills, knowledge of loading and unloading procedures, and communication skills.
Additionally, every interview contains at least some scenario-based questions to assess the candidate’s analytical, evaluation, and decision-making skills. So, when faced with these types of questions, remember to pause and think about your answer (but don’t take too long). Furthermore, try and give examples where you can illustrate the successful implementation of your logical thought process.
Now that you have an idea of what to expect and what will be covered start researching, preparing, and even role-playing with friends to get you ready to pass your interview with flying colours.
Below are some of the MOST common truck driver interview questions and answers to help you get started. These are listed in NO particular order; however, they are all very common interview questions asked by trucking companies. We did our research online and spoke to truck drivers who have been working in this business for several years. They helped provide a lot of helpful insight into what you can expect as a beginner or well-seasoned truck driver.
1) Tell Me A Little About Yourself?
This is usually the first icebreaker question, so it’s important to talk with full enthusiasm so you can make an instant impression. When asked this question, you want to relate the answer to the job you are applying for and highlight any relevant job experience that will put you in good standing for the potential role. For instance, you may want to mention the various countries, cities, and locations you have driven to, the hours you have accumulated or long trips made, the type of vehicles you have driven, and the type of goods/cargo you have transported. If you do not have any trucking experience, mention your car driving experience and your love for that as an alternative.
Apart from talking about your experience, note this is also a question that allows for some scope of your personality to be showcased. For example, perhaps you want to mention that you are a people-orientated person or you love to network. While this is not only a reflection of your character, it’s also an attribute which may appeal to the potential job itself (since teamwork may be a necessary component of the trucking role) – so conveying this will more likely be a win-win situation!
“Initially, I started as an assistant helping other drivers, which I found exciting and interesting. Afterwards, I wanted to pursue a career as a full-time truck driver. I started my training and then successfully PASSED my commercial driver’s license exam. Then I was hired and have been making deliveries for the past four years. I’ve driven both long and short-haul routes transporting a variety of different cargo types—for example, auto parts, groceries, electronics, some medical equipment, etc.
I have been fortunate enough to travel to different cities all over the United States and have met a lot of wonderful people from different walks of life, which has made my job even more gratifying since I love networking”.
2) Why Have You Pursued A Career In Truck Driving?
Expect to be asked this question during your trucking interview. Think about your answer, and try and relate the answer to perhaps family members being part of the trucking community (if this is the case for you). Another alternative would be to discuss your love for travel and wanting to explore different places while on the road. However, when answering, it’s essential to mention some critical skills as to why you would be an ideal choice for this position. For example, your eye for detail, love for driving, ability to get along with people, and how trucking allows you to meet others while on the road. Talk about the possibility of moving up in the industry or company after gathering years of experience. It won’t hurt to talk about some of the impressive health benefits that a well-known trucking company would provide and how this would reflect well on yourself and the family you have or are planning to start soon.
“I have always been a driving enthusiast and love being on the road. I’ve always been passionate about trucking because it allows me to explore different sights and meet different types of people. Training to be a truck driver would allow me to fulfill my passion at this moment. Not to mention, with the current demand increasing for more truck drivers, this profession allows for greater scope in terms of future job prospects within the industry, such as going into management or becoming a trainer. This is something I aspire to transition into further down in my career, hopefully”.
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3) What Skills And Competencies Do You Have Which Will Make You An Ideal Choice For This Truck Driving Role?
Truck driving is indeed a very demanding profession, requiring expertise in a range of skills and competencies, including; having excellent communication skills, the ability to follow directions and use maps, the ability to network, possessing impeccable time management skills, being an excellent driver, paying attention to detail when filling out reports, being a team player, possessing knowledge of traffic/road rules, having excellent analytical – decision-making skills, and having knowledge of loading/ unloading procedures as well vehicle maintenance procedures.
These are just some examples of the competencies associated with any truck driving role. Naturally, select the skills you feel are closely related to the job specification or the job at hand. Take time when answering this question to illustrate why those competencies are necessary to carry out the job.
“ Apart from possessing my CDL license and my ability to drive a variety of different types of trucks of different sizes, I also have excellent communication and navigational skills. Naturally, communication and navigational skills are essential for this role because you will be required to communicate with dispatchers and customers about their deliveries. Navigational skills will be essential because you need the ability to use maps and follow GPS instructions to meet deadlines on time”.
4) What Would You Say Is Your Greatest Strength?
Employers believe this is one of the BEST questions to ask a truck driver during an interview.
This question is deliberately asked so the employer can establish how well you are matched to the company’s core values and determine what you can bring to the position. When answering this question, talk with confidence about your key strengths, which closely relate to the job your applying for, and mention some examples of how these strengths have helped deliver positive results and success on the job.
Where possible, expand on the skills you have and the results you’ve achieved. Some examples of critical strengths may include: flexibility, dedication, honesty, a strong work ethic, working well under pressure, versatility, punctuality, and being a team player.
“Apart from having a clean driving track record, I’m a self-motivated individual whose flexible, adaptable, and can work long shifts effectively without any issues. I’m self-motivated because I’m always looking to better myself each day. Also, with my love of being on the road, I get greater motivation in me. In regards to flexibility and adaptability, I can drive any type of vehicle with no problem. I can adapt to any planned/unplanned changes or situations. For example, in my previous job, unfortunately, the dispatcher made a mistake and provided incorrect information. So, I had to quickly re-plan all my routes since this incorrect information impacted the entire schedule. However, I always leave a buffer for unforeseen circumstances, so I was still able to meet all my deadlines on time”.
5) What Would You Say Is Your Greatest Weakness?
When asked this question, we would all like to say that we don’t have any weaknesses. Even if you are fortunate enough not to have any, do NOT say this during your trucking interview. Employers are looking for honest, genuine individuals who have self-awareness of their flaws and are looking to work on them and improve them. With that said,
There are two approaches you can take when answering this question. You can either state weaknesses that can be potential ‘strengths’ or talk about those weaknesses that are not directly related to the job you have applied for. For example, you may have a weakness when it comes to public speaking. Naturally, public speaking is irrelevant for a trucking role, so you are not necessarily jeopardizing your job chances by stating this. Nonetheless, whatever weaknesses you put forward, make sure you mention what steps you are taking to overcome/improve them. By stating some steps you are taking to improve your weakness, you are showing that you are proactive and striving to make a positive change whenever possible.
“I feel that I am a workaholic. Consequently, being a workaholic has disrupted my ‘work-life’ balance as I find that I take on a lot more than I need to. For example, recently, with this Covid-19 pandemic on the rise, in addition to my scheduled deliveries, I took on a lot more work (compared to other drivers) to accommodate the surge in workload. This was at the expense of my safety, as I wanted to ensure that there were no disruptions to the company and no disruptions to the supplies needed during such difficult times. But, I do understand at the same time that companies and people depend on my work to get things to them, so I know what my priorities are at that time.”
6) How Do You Deal Or React To Other Motorists Being Careless On The Road? Or Other Truck Drivers Making Poor Diving Choices?
When being on the road, the number one priority for any truck driver should be their safety and ensuring the safety of others while operating a commercial vehicle. The Importance of road safety cannot be stressed enough within the trucking community. Additionally, this type of question often gets asked during interviews, so the employer can understand how you will handle ‘on the job’ problems and emergencies if they arise.
Companies and potential employers want to hire individuals who can maintain a professional, calm temperament while also having the ability to quickly evaluate and respond to problems in ways that will bring about favourable resolutions. So whatever the situation and type of recklessness caused by other individuals, always keep safety as your number one priority, and try to remain calm in tough situations.
“First and foremost, in such a situation, I always remain calm and professional and prioritize safety more than anything else. Subsequently, I become even more vigilant on the road and proceed with caution. Where possible, I will distance myself from the hazardous motorist to avoid further issues. It’s also important that whatever decision I make during this time, I will think of other drivers on the road with me, so I don’t put them in harm’s way because of the actions I’m about to take.”
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7) You Are Running Late On A Delivery Due To Reasons Outside Your Control, Like A Tire Puncture Or Severe Traffic. What Necessary Steps Would You Take To Ensure Good Customer Quality Service Is Upheld?
Every company’s joint mission in this industry is to deliver outstanding customer service in the form of quick, reliable delivery of the customer’s products free of any damage. However, sometimes uncontrollable external forces such as weather, traffic, road closures, or accidents, and delivery times may be adversely impacted, resulting in a delay to customers. Even though we plan to combat many of these issues, we can still provide exemplary customer care in these circumstances. Decreasing the impact of this delay and situation can be achieved with excellent communication and being helpful and responsive to the customer’s inquiries.
The primary step here is for me to quickly communicate with the customer as well as my supervisor about the delay. It’s essential to keep them updated on the progress of the delivery. Keeping the customer regularly updated should help ease the situation and hopefully give them some peace of mind. I also need to communicate with the customer about the delay and let them know what we are doing to ensure we still deliver the delivery to them on time.
8) If Your Late On Your Delivery, How Would You Respond To An Angry Client/Customer Who Is Being Disrespectful To You?
Timing is of the essence to customers, and when deadlines are not being met, customers will be frustrated. As the delivery driver, you may be at the receiving end of that frustration. The key here is not to retaliate and be confrontational in any way, but instead, remain calm and collected by adopting a sympathetic and understanding approach towards the customer. It’s essential always to understand the customer’s point of view and what IMPACT a late delivery can have on their business.
“I would firstly apologize, be patient, and remain calm and professional. Additionally, I will be transparent about the delay if it was due to circumstances beyond my control. The main thing here is to cooperate in anyway I can and try to address their concerns effectively. The key is to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible. The quicker I can diffuse the situation, the quicker I can proceed with the rest of my schedule. Our objective is to keep the customer’s business because this is any organization’s bottom line. If we lose business, we are NOT meeting our company objective…right?”
9) What Steps Do You Take To Ensure Your Delivery Deadlines Are Met On Time?
Meeting deadlines is a critical success factor in the trucking industry. In essence, there is a lot of pressure on drivers to have excellent time management skills. As part of an effective time management strategy, drivers should aim to give themselves sufficient time for their deliveries. For example, they can avoid heavy congestion and traffic by planning their routes and using apps such as Google Maps or Waze. If required, you should also know the designated parking spots available to you by the customer when making deliveries. Parking can pose a significant problem in itself, and finding parking for your commercial vehicle can be time-consuming. Again, apps such as the TruckSmart Mobile or MyPilot apps will help you find parking slots in advance.
“I always start my day ahead of my scheduled time, so I have a buffer in case of any unforeseen delays that may arise in the day. I prefer to use Waze, which gives me real-time information about possible traffic delays and closures. The breaks that I take are also reasonable and adjusted if necessary to reflect any shortage of time, but not at the expense of subjecting myself to unnecessary fatigue.
Similarly, I will NOT ‘speed’ or break the rules at any cost to meet a deadline. Speeding means I will risk my own safety and of others on the road. I will not want to compromise on road safety or risk the cargo/goods being damaged in transit.”
10) Talk Me Through Your Truck Maintenance Routine
Remember, maintenance is key to keeping your truck in good working order (which will keep overall operating costs down) and is also crucial to overall road safety. Correct preventative maintenance should always be a priority! For example, routine checks should be carried out before and after each trip and at specified intervals following the vehicle/equipment manufacturing guidelines. The vehicle guidelines will indicate when maintenance should be done, i.e., based on mileage, hours run, and specific dates). Next,
A person should keep a record of these maintenance records. For example, a logbook describing what was checked or receipts/invoices from trucking/mechanic workshops will also constitute part of a “maintenance record.” It should be noted that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSA) imposes responsibilities and ownership on the truck driver to maintain, inspect and, in some instances, even carry out repairs on a commercial truck. The FMCSA has taken the position that “the driver is ultimately responsible for making sure that the vehicle being driven is in safe operating condition.”
As a truck driver and for compliance purposes, ensure you are aware of your company’s inspection and reporting procedures for any deficiencies. Also, ensure you have been adequately trained to inspect critical components of your vehicle competently. You should continually monitor and review if you need a refresher course for further training.
“I always do a standard pre and post-trip maintenance inspection where I will check all the tires to see if they are all properly inflated and check the mirror/lights to ensure they are operational and clean to allow for clear visibility. I also check the indication signals and hazard flashers to ensure that they are in good working order.
Additionally, I check the brakes for stopping performance and pay attention to any basic warning signs or unusual noises if present. I have a maintenance schedule calendar app on my smartphone. I receive notifications under daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly categories with a list of maintenance tasks for each reminder. This way, these notifications act as a robust checklist for me so that nothing is missed. All the checks carried out are logged, dated, and computerized.”
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11) Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years From Now?
While this answer needs to show ambition, from an employer’s perspective, companies want to see that your ambition is loyal to being committed and progressive within their company and not somewhere else. Hence, focus your answer on progressive positions within the company.
“Since the company is large-scale and has room for progression, ideally, I would like to transition into a management role and be responsible for a fleet of trucks. Alternatively, I would either like to become a trainer and help nurture people in their careers. I know the company has an excellent reputation for its training programs, and I would like to be an extension. Either way, I would love to transition into management or training since both roles require an element of mentoring people, and that is what I would like to aspire to do further down my career. For example, if hired, I’m sure I will learn a lot within this company and would love to apply my knowledge in other divisions within this company. I can use my knowledge and skills to mentor others coming into the company too.”
12) Why Do You Want To Work For Our Company?
This interview question is asked to gauge how well the candidate’s core values align with the company’s objectives and determine if you would be a good fit for the company and its culture. That’s why we recommend researching the company’s mission, working culture, brand, and reputation to help you answer this question. Also, it is vital to familiarise yourself with the job specification so that you can perhaps incorporate this into your answer. For example, you can put forward the fact that the company’s job role is an ideal opportunity for you since it plays to all your key strengths and skill set, further reinforcing why you want to work for the company.
“Well, the company is a leader within the industry and has an incredible reputation within the market. As you are probably aware, it was just recently voted as the number one trucking company within the district – Note: only say this if this is true or leave it out.
Naturally, it’s essential to be associated with the best in the business as the company’s values and work ethic will undeniably help me strive to become the best at what I do too. Also, the job role being offered will be perfect for me, as it appeals to all my qualifications, strengths, and skill set. There’s also the added bonus of future progression within the role and the company too. This is another appealing reason as to why I would like to work for the company since I’m always looking to excel and progress in my trucking career”.
Truck Driver Interview Questions To Ask The Company
Every interview ends with an opportunity for the candidate to ask the potential employer questions they may have. Remember, not only are you there to impress them, but they will also want to impress the ideal candidate. Companies want to ensure that they get the best people working for them.
Therefore, when allowed to ask questions, make sure you do. By asking questions, not only shows a keen interest in the job on your part but will also help you assess whether the company is the right fit for you. After all, you have invested so much time and effort in earning your CDL, so you must work for a company that aligns with your needs and requirements too.
Here are some excellent questions to ask the trucking company during your interview with them:
1) What type of vehicle/ equipment will I be driving/ using?
2) Will the company bear the commercial truck insurance costs, or does the driver have to pay? (Great question to ask because, without truck insurance, you cannot drive)
3) Can you tell me what the company’s fueling policy is? (Each company has its fueling policy which can vary from either receiving a company fuel card or where the driver pays himself and then puts an expense claim in for reimbursement)
4) How are the drivers’ performance and progress measured for assessment purposes? And how often do you do a performance evaluation? (each company has its criteria and set of standards to evaluate truck drivers’ performance which may be done quarterly or annually, depending on the company policy).
5) Is there room for progression within the company? When can I start to apply for internal postings?
6) What type of software and tools will I be working with while driving on the road?
While preparing for the actual trucking job interview questions, you should also give importance to other areas. For instance, you need to dress to impress for ultimate success. Even though, as a truck driver, you will MOST likely be in casual clothing (because this will help you be comfortable when on the road), you need to present yourself as entirely professional during the interview. Hence appearance is everything in this situation, and you most certainly want to play the part in showing you are committed and serious about the job at hand.
Secondly, don’t forget the firm handshake accompanied by a nice friendly smile. These two gestures signal a sense of respect towards the interviewer and within the professional community.
Finally, don’t forget to be thankful at the end of the interview. Thank the interviewer for the time they have taken out to see you. That will help conclude the interview on an excellent impressionable note.
With that said,
We recommend reading through our list of the MOST common truck driver interview questions and answers, so you are familiar with them before your interview. Through preparation, you will NOT get caught off guard when asked a question and will know how to respond promptly. The questions and answers we have posted above are great stand-alone answers, or they can be adjusted to fit better your skills, experience, goals, and more.
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