Bus operator recruitment
Hiring bus operators is an essential function of managing a transit operation. While hiring may seem straightforward, attention to certain details can lead to recruitment of better candidates. Agency officials responsible for hiring may struggle with attracting qualified applicants, retaining trainees, or conversely, managing an abundance of applicants when no positions are available.
A crucial component of attracting good candidates is offering competitive wages and benefits. Getting the message out about what is being offered is equally important. Agencies should advertise in attention-grabbing ways with messaging about the advantages of the job. Avoid overly wordy advertisements and focus on the key details, especially where to find more information. Job advertisements have traditionally been listed in the local newspaper, and other related opportunities exist such as local weeklies and alternative papers.
The internet is a significant tool for job hunters. Agencies may advertise on websites such as the local craigslist, local news sources, partner agency websites, local blogs, and of course the agency's own website. Paid advertising also exists and can help job seekers find your opportunity quickly by targeting ads based on user's searches. Agencies with an urgent need to fill positions should consider paid opportunities. Use of social media such as Facebook can also help spread the word about job vacancies.
Local access TV may provide another low cost alternative.
Consider the size and placement of the ad in any media. Agencies may be tempted to constrain the job advertising budget. If hiring needs are urgent, low-cost ad placement may produce slim results. The advantage of savings over more expensive ads could be lost by a lengthy advertising process, especially if the agency is already understaffed.
Another creative option is to use advertising on the exterior of agency vehicles such as supervisor or utility vans. These may stand out from other vehicles in traffic and catch the eyes of potential applicants. Advertising could be printed on a large magnet for reusability, or printed as a vinyl application.
Encourage bus operators to participate in the recruitment process. Naturally some job seekers will find and question current bus operators about the job. Informed and friendly bus operators can help attract quality candidates. Consider providing employee referral bonuses.
Retaining Applicants Through Hiring
A risk that many agencies identify in hiring is the loss of strong candidates because of certain job aspects. These aspects could include entry-level hours and work days or the job conditions. To overcome these fears, agencies should focus their marketing on the many positive aspects of the job opportunity and keep the application process as simple and welcoming as possible.
Initial contact with an agency is crucial in forming opinions for anyone, including applicants. Agency staff should convey the attitude the agency believes will attract the best candidates. If agency staff dislike assisting new applicants or seem unfriendly during the process, some prospective applicants may not continue through the process.
A long and complex application process can scare away prospective applicants by giving a poor impression of the agency. Some agencies have focused on slimming down the application, especially in extreme cases with dozen-page forms. Consider removing segments such as "Tell us anything else important about yourself" that are more effectively covered in an interview. Other techniques include streamlining the driving record and background check process so the agency handles these tasks instead of the applicant. Although this may be an additional burden on the agency, some agencies have been able to partner with local authorities to expedite the process. Strategies such as these may improve the application process and encourage greater numbers of applicants, but do not necessarily produce better quality applicants.
A recruitment package is a tool which allows the agency to present the job in the best possible light and inform prospective employees about requirements such as drug and alcohol testing. Recruitment packages can be handed out at career fairs, at agency offices, or even on board the bus.
Moffat, G.K., Ashton, A. H., & Blackburn, D.R. (2001). "A Challenged Employment System: Hiring, Training, Performance Evaluation, and Retention of Bus Operators." Transit Cooperative Research Program.