Why Your Bus Operator Recruitment Sucks

Why Your Bus Operator Recruitment Sucks

I had the cool opportunity to attend a job fair some time ago for an agency looking to find more bus drivers. Long story short, they needed 180, only 12 people applied. It wasn’t because of a lack of effort on their part, rather a result of the new world. 

Why Your Bus Operator Recruitment Sucks?

There isn’t a shortage of jobs at the current moment, so considering that…. the way we do things as recruiters needs to adapt to the current world, opposed to the old one.  Job fairs are dying just like malls are, and that’s ok, it’s just a result of today’s world. Jeff Bezo’s once said that every business model dies eventually, he even believes Amazon will be killed off one day.

But all of this comes back to one big thing–change.

As bus driver recruiters, one of the biggest mistakes we make is trying to use the internet to leverage old methods, when instead we should be using the internet to create more modern ones to meet the world where it’s at.

While virtual job fairs are great, the problem with the standard job fair wasn’t location or covid. Have you seen those Grant Cordone events? People by the thousands show up….they just wear masks.

My point is in 2021, recruiting is social marketing, just like everything else.

The reason people aren’t showing up to the online or offline job fair is that as recruiters we didn’t do a good enough job of convincing them why they should.

When social media exploded, it created a subconscious marketplace within almost every human that used it, a marketplace sells and leverages time and attention. 

The emergence of the internet created a culture of having to earn time with people. Back in the day, we had to earn access to people, and then Social Media came along and gave everyone access to anyone anywhere.

As a result of that, we now have to earn time.  When you browse Tinder, people are trying to earn more of your time. When you watch a Youtube ad, people have 6 seconds to earn more of your time. When browsing Facebook and seeing an ad or even a post, people are trying to earn more of your time.

  The issue with bus transportation is that we’re still stuck in 2010 and It is no longer good enough to have an ad with a picture of a smiling employee on it. People are conditioned to view it as corporate culture and will ignore it because it’s more of the same. 

We live in an influential media world where the “conversation” is king and social proof from other humans isn’t the exception, it’s not the rule. How often have you looked at a Youtube review or a product before you bought it or bought in? People in 2021 value the thoughts and sentiments of humans just like them more now, than ever.

This is why a lot of “life as a bus operator” don’t get traction. People know it’s sponsored. It’s not genuine, it’s not human. It’s the company “cap” as the young kids call it.

Not to mention the reviews on being a transit operator arent great. This isn’t to say driving the bus is a bad job, I mean we have our issues like every industry, but a bad job? Not really, but it’s all in how you frame the conversation.

The core issue is, while the conversation was happening on social media between 2010 and now, it was all negative and as an industry, we failed to present the other side of the coin. Disgruntled bus operators with a camera painted the entire narrative for nearly a decade with no opposing view. Transit agencies had tried to create social media policies against that, but that still didn’t stop the negative noise.

 Truthfully, there needed to be someone else presenting the other side of the conversation. There needed to be an influencer, with a social following that was respected and had the social proof and credibility to break that 3rd wall.  For every Gary V, there is someone saying he’s unrealistic. For every trucker saying the industry sucks, there’s someone with a million followers saying why it’s awesome. Every industry now is double-sided with followers in the middle because it’s the engagement and conversation between the two that the algorithm loves.

(If you want to see a good example of how this needs to work look at the number of creators who are pilots on Tik Tok. Their content is amazon, it genuinely had me researching flight school)

People need a human to connect to. People need a human to motivate them. Corporate company jargon doesn’t fly anymore. Why do you think brands like State Farm and At&t use human beings as the face of their organization?  The Geico Lizard, Aflac Duck, and Liberty Mutual Ostrich may all be animals, however, they all have human-driven personalities.

 If you need to recruit operators it is imperative that you are able to connect, interact, and influence people as to why they should want to do this.

The industry will fall off and be the next version of mega malls if we don’t find a way to convenience people under the age of 40 why this is a great gig. Below I’ve posted a few tips to help you modernize your recruiting! If you need a hand, feel free to DM me or check out www.gosupir.com

#1 Write your ads for engagement, not clarity.

#2 The headline and picture are the most important components of your hiring pitch. Remember we live in a “scroll down” world. You have less than a second, to earn another second.

#3 Get on TikTok.

#4 Less Corporate More Personality

#5 Less blanket recruitment, more campaigns targeted at securing one type of candidate at a particular time

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