This driver recruiter has twice the truckers on her hands: Meagan Wilson recruits teams for Transco Lines, Inc. Her Bachelor’s Degree is in Business Administration, focused in management and marketing. Wilson’s background began with selling newspaper advertisements.
HM: Tell me a little bit about any hobbies you enjoy or people you enjoy doing them with?
MW: I’m a mom of two young kids. So, all my off-time, all my weekends… it’s definitely about the family and doing things that the kids want to do. We love to get outside, hike, and camp. We’re definitely fresh air people.
If I am at home, I definitely like to cook home cooked meals. We do a lot of that. We like good food.
HM: What’s your kid’s favorite recipe that you cook? I’m curious to know.
MW: Poppy seed chicken. Hands down. That’s his favorite. We eat it all the time. Whenever I make it, he’ll say, “Can we eat this every day?”
HM: I agree. It’s my favorite, too.
Any favorite hiking any trails or any any camping traditions that you guys have?
MW: We actually really try to get it in the cooler time, so May. Then later in the year like September and October. I’m not really into the super hot stuff, especially with little people. They just can’t handle it.
As far as hiking, we live in a great area. It’s actually called the tri-peaks area. We have Mount Nebo, Mount Magazine, and Petit Jean Mountain here. there’s a lot of beautiful vistas and and places to see. There’s some neat traditions at some of those spots. The history of it is really cool. So, I try to mention that to them as well. They’re aware of all the Arkansas History. I just think it’s a really great place. It’s beautiful here.
HM: It’s great family time. But it’s also educational.
What has been your primary focus in your position? Obviously, hiring drivers, but any specific goals that you’ve had or will have?
MW: My main focus is being a team recruiter. I hire a lot of teams. I would say, ultimately, my job is to get a good team in a good position. That’s going to be a win for the company, that’s going to be a win for those individuals. And it always needs to be a good fit. Right? We are not perfect for everybody. Your job is not to not to sell the company, as you were saying, to just anybody. You sell the company to people who are a good fit, they will want to be here. They’ll excel here. That’s always our goal. We want good people here.
HM: With teams, I’ve always been curious, do you find that it’s mostly spouses?
MW: Yeah. I think there’s probably a reasoning for that, you know. They have a team goal in mind, right? They’re all in it together. But you see a lot of brothers, you see a lot of uncle/nephew situations, you see some really good friends.
You’ve probably had roommates and stuff in the past, you know, it’s got to be a good fit. It’s got to be somebody you can work with, coordinate with, and agree on things with. I think anybody can be a team if you have that kind of personality.
HM: What are some key components that you utilize in your recruiting approach with these teams?
MW: I try to make somebody remember me. I try to make them laugh or make something memorable. I talk to a lot of people and there’s a lot of great offers out there. They need to know what’s unique and special about us.
HM: For sure. What would you say draws your eye to a specific applicant or team of applicants, and what makes that team most recruitable? To you and your company?
MW: Safety, stability, and location. If they’re not safe, I can’t hire them anyway. We have certain standards. Stability, you know, if they’re hopping around to different jobs, nobody can please them.
We want somebody who’s going to be here. It’s got to be a good fit. And as far as location, if I have the right freight and the certain in a certain area, then I can get somebody in and out of the house easily. Home time is not an issue. Keeping miles up, that’s not an issue. There are certain teams in certain locations where we don’t have the freight to make it work; I’m not going to bring somebody in that I can’t get home.
HM: Turnover for a lot of companies is at 100% or more, which boggles my mind. It’s so important to keep those things you just mentioned in mind so that you can get ahead of turnover.
MW: That’s a big goal for every company, I think. And it should be an ongoing goal.
HM: I mean, the best way to have drivers is to keep drivers. Well, what would you say separates TLI from other carriers? What aspect of your company do you find resonates best with drivers you’re trying to recruit?
MW: We have a lot of dedicated lines and dedicated freight accounts. This creates a lot of stability for people. They know when they’re going to be home, they know what they’re going to haul. They get to know those customers. That’s very unique in this industry. It’s not a true OTR type of position where you’re just out there hauling a lot of brokered freight, you don’t know what you’re doing from day to day. It’s created a very unique situation for us.
HM: You talk about home time. And that’s always in the top three of things that drivers are looking for. But the average age of drivers is obviously getting older and older, because younger people aren’t coming into the industry. Do you think home time will become less important, the younger the drivers get? We’re all shifting efforts towards younger drivers, you know, we have to have them. Do you see that younger drivers are more willing to like stay on the roads and do OTR? Or do both just want to be home?
MW: I see a mix. This isn’t what your grandfather did, right? They stayed out on the road for months and months and months. It’s a different world. I think it is because there’s a handful of younger drivers coming into the industry. There are different roles now for dads than there were 30 years ago, they are a lot more involved.
People will tell you, “I have kids, I gotta be home.” That’s great to hear as a parent; I like to hear that guys have those goals. I think that’s part of the shift. People set out for three or six months and now you’re hearing more and more of people needing to be home every other weekend.
HM: Obviously, we’ve said that home time is always something drivers want to know about. What is the most common question you get from them?
MW: I get a lot of people ask where we’re based out of. They also ask how long we’ve been in business, and I think they’re looking for that same stability. We’ve seen some major players in the business go out in the last two or three years.
It’s been a hard world as more and more regulation comes in; obviously that’s for safety and there’s a need for that. They’re looking for somebody who’s in it for the long haul, as well. I think a lot of people have done their time with mega carriers their time. They are tired of being just a number and they want somebody who’s smaller and more focused. They want a true dedicated fleet manager and not a team of people who answers the phone.
HM: They need somebody on their side, somebody that knows them when they call.
We’ve talked about the young people coming in and people who’ve been in the industry for a long time. Do you find that people are really still passionate about being in this industry?
MW: I think so. I always try to congratulate people when they say they have been driving 20 years, or 25 years. That’s a long time to be in one position. That’s a long time to be in one industry. That’s a long time to do a job. It’s very, very hard and often very thankless.
HM: My final question for you and my favorite question to ask, what is the weirdest question or request you’ve gotten from a successful applicant?
MW: I get a lot of things that are a little off the wall and I get new questions all the time. And that’s the great thing about dealing with humans is there’s no two alike, right? I did have a team asked if they could have a monkey in the truck. Unfortunately, we do not allow exotic animals. But I thought, “Man, I thought they’re really fun as a group.”