What is a Pre-Hire Letter for Truck Drivers?

Row of old mailboxes

Despite the recent report by the Department of Labor that the unemployment rate is at an all-time low, there is a trucker shortage in the United States. For those interested in the trucking industry, the demand is high for drivers. Whether you have just obtained your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or are currently enrolled in a truck driving school, you will want to receive pre-hire letters to help you quickly find a truck driving job.

What is a Pre-Hire Letter?

For those with current financial responsibilities, leaving one profession for another can be a big risk. What if you’re not qualified? What if the business that said they wanted you changes their mind? Well, nothing will give you more peace of mind than a pre-hire letter from one of the nation’s reputable carriers.

A pre-hire letter is an invitation from a trucking company for you to attend the company’s orientation—usually free of charge! This visit typically allows you to see behind-the- scenes, meet some of the staff and current drivers, and generally become acquainted with the nuts and bolts of the trucking company.

How Do I Get a Pre-Hire Letter for Truck Driving?

To be qualified, all you have to do is fill out an application over the phone, at job fairs, or online. The trucking company then thoroughly checks your driving record, criminal background, and work history. If they like what they see, you can start looking for pre-hire letters in the mail.

And we do mean “pre-hire letters” in plural… because you don’t want just one, you want them all. The more you receive, the wider your range of options to get a job after getting your CDL. Having multiple letters also means you can compare what trucking companies have in common and where they differ.

Do your research and think about what matters most to you, then try to find the trucking company that comes closest to your demands. Know your demands for salary and home time. Some trucking companies may not have the number of miles or types of loads you want to haul, so you should get lots of pre-hire letters and look closely at each employer.

What is Trucking Company Orientation?

If you receive a pre-hire letter from a carrier, then you may choose to visit their orientation. A trucking company’s orientation gives new drivers a chance to ask questions, and it gives the company themselves the opportunity to get to know potential hires.

With the high demand for truck drivers, some of these trucking companies get hundreds and even thousands of applications. Receiving the pre-hire letter means you have passed the carrier’s minimum requirements. You aren’t hired yet. If you want to get hired on, go the distance and make yourself a standout candidate with a focused, driven orientation.

Is a Pre-Hire Letter a Guarantee?

A pre-hire letter from a trucking company is not a guarantee—it is only an invitation to an orientation. Even though you’ve filled out an application, the letter is not yet a contract for employment. The letter is a chance to see the business and potentially make an impression on the carrier.

It is up to you to be the candidate they want driving their trucks. The highway is open, the jobs are available, so get some pre-hire letters and get on the road.


About The Author
Contributor: Luke Nold (Experienced truck driver for 5+ years and published writer for Fleet Magazine).