With nearly two decades of experience in logistics recruitment, Rachael McWilliams is very qualified when it comes to sharing her thoughts, opinions and insight with others. So when Transport News invited her to discuss the changing world of logistics, she kindly obliged.
Featured in the latest edition (March 2023), Rachael, Operations and Development Director for seven Driver Hire offices (operated by Wilson Gibb Management Services), caught up with David Craik about the recruitment trends of 2022 and what lay ahead for her group of Driver Hire offices over the next twelve months.
It’s three years on since the Covid pandemic hit, but is still impacting the industry, she said. Although customers looked to return to ‘normality’ last year, the ‘usual peaks and troughs’ of the pre-pandemic days just didn’t happen. Of course, consumers were not spending in the same way they did before. Despite that though, demand for drivers from operators throughout last year was still incredibly strong – but as Rachael says, “you had to manage the service in a different way”.
Entrusted to make the hiring decisions (and no waiting around!)
Rachael saw more clients than ever before take on ‘temp-to-perm’ drivers last year. People who were responsible for making hiring decision pre-pandemic are now busy doing other tasks, so “they trust to us to make the decisions for them.” Acting like a separate HR function, Driver Hire will carry out first and second stage permanent interviews, select who they determine are the strongest candidates and manage those probationary periods.
Eager to recruit and not lose the best candidate, customers are hiring much quicker too. “They want them there and then. They don’t want to take the chance of hiring someone for holiday cover, like their performance, then find out six months later that they’re no longer available”.
Virtual hiring on the horizon
As well as discussing IR35 reforms, easing of the driver shortage, increased driver pay and benefits, Rachael also opened up about the new opportunities offered by improved technology for Driver Hire, including online Driver CPC and Transport Manager CPC training and more crucially, virtual hiring.
Despite having a UK network of over 100 offices, there are still some parts of the country where potential candidates are being deterred from signing up by the travel time to their nearest Driver Hire office. Following government legislative changes, relating to the checking of Right to Work documents, Driver Hire has developed a new virtual recruitment platform. It is currently being rolled out with three offices leading the project – Driver Hire’s Buckingham, Congleton and Winchester.
The platform allows candidates to be checked, interviewed and hired virtually – from locations where they would have previously found it difficult to just ‘pop in’ to their nearest Driver Hire office to show documentation in person. Instead, checks can now be carried out using a legally compliant facial recognition system. Coupled with a virtual one-to-one interview with a recruiter, this additional new way of recruiting will improve the recruitment experience.
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