All companies involved in logistics and goods transportation have their fleet of trucks, and their flock of truck drivers. Both the men and the vehicles belong to the most important assets of the company, and they need to be managed efficiently. You will be responsible for this tricky task in your new job.

You will choose vehicles to buy or lease, you will take care of organizing repairs and maintenance. And of course you will recruit the drivers, or at least oversee the process, help with the training, and monitor their activity, to ensure they treat the vehicles well, and adhere to all safety regulations.

Let’s have a look at some questions you may face while interviewing for this interesting position, which pays in average more than $60,000 annually in the US.

 

Can you please tell us something about your previous working experience?

Experience plays an important role in this hiring process. Unless you did something in logistics, automotive, or manufacturing, and had at least a glimpse of how the transport of goods works in the industry, you will find it hard to succeed in this interview.

Try to explain what you did, what exactly you were responsible for. Point out especially the duties that are at least somehow similar to the duties you will take care of in your new job.

Interviewing employees and training them, purchasing trucks or other expensive items, overseeing the routes of drivers, reporting and monitoring the efficiency of the fleet, suggesting improvements, devising new ways of cost reduction, etc.

In case that you lack a relevant experience, you can at least try to convince the hiring managers that you understand what they expect from their new fleet manager. And you believe to have the necessary skills and abilities to excel in the role–after the initial training, of course.

 

How do you imagine a typical day in a work of a fleet manager?

This really depends on the organization of the logistics department, whether you’ll have assistants, how many trucks they have, etc. Doing some research should help you understand better your day.

In any case, ensure them that you expect to be busy, and like to have some system in your work. You will perhaps have a plan of routes for the day. You may start your day with checking whether everyone is where they are supposed to be at that moment.

Then you will address any problems that may arise. Perhaps you’ll also have a master sheet (in Excel, or in another program), in which you will have data about all vehicles, the maintenance schedule, and other things. Looking into it every day (or setting notifications), you will know when it is necessary to do something with any vehicle from the fleet.

You can also point out the irregular duties–such as hiring and training new drivers. You won’t do this on a typical day, but sometimes it may be the core of your work. Anything you say, ensure them that you expect to have your hands full. Even if there’s nothing obvious to do, you can always try to devise new routes and schedules, trying to minimize the expenses for goods transportation.

How would you decide whether to buy or lease a new vehicle?

You should consider several things when making this decision:

  • Is the high demand for transportation just a temporary thing, or did the company start new projects or signed new contracts, and you will need the new vehicle for a long time?
  • What is your current budget, and what about the cash flow in the company? Can they afford buying a new truck right now, or should they opt for a lease, saving money for something else?
  • What are the market prices for purchasing and leasing the vehicle. Which option is more viable at the moment?
  • …………

Ensure them that you will consider each situation individually, doing your math and analysis, and won’t just buy a new truck because you feel like doing that, or did it last time when similar situation occurred in your former job. Considering everything, you will do the best thing for the company.

 

All companies in this area struggle with drivers. How will you attract new drivers to join our company?

This is a million dollar question really.  But you should try to be creative, and suggest at least something (though it may not work in reality).

For example, you can say that you will try to promote the job offer in a different way, branded, fitting for a certain demographic group, and laser-targeted. This should help you stand out and perhaps receive more job applications than your competitors from other companies.

Another idea is talent recruitment–offering job to young people who do not even have the driver’s license. Paying for the license and providing free training, you lower the entry barrier and they may give you some preference.

You can also suggest recruiting drivers in foreign markets–all big players do it anyway. Maybe your salary offer isn’t competitive in the US, but in some countries in Latin America or in Europe people will fight for such an offer, and do everything to interview for the job.

 

Drivers are not always disciplined. How will you ensure that they follow the schedule to the point, ad adhere to safety rules?

Regular checks and clear system of rewards (when they adhere to the rules) and punishments (when they do not adhere) works best in this case, at least in my opinion.

But you can also refer to your leadership qualities. You hope to build relationships of trust with the drivers. What’s more, you will repeatedly appreciate their work, and explain the crucial role they play in the success story of the company.

Once they feel important, and have good relationships with you and other managers, they are more likely to follow the rules to the point.

 

In your opinion, how can you help to reduce expenses, while working as a Fleet Manager?

At the end of the day, numbers matter the most for the leading figures in the company. Revenue, expenses, profit, dividends, you name it.

Ensure them that reducing expenses associated with their fleet of vehicles will be one of your priorities. Everything starts with making good purchases and at a right time, but you actually have many other ways of helping them to reduce expenses:

  • Taking care of proper maintenance of the fleet, to ensure that the trucks are operational as long as possible.
  • Writing manuals for drivers and training them, to ensure that they contribute to the longevity of the vehicles while driving them.
  • Constantly trying to improve the schedule and organization of the routes, testing things, trying to find the most viable options.
  • ….

 

One of the drivers struggles with time management, and they are almost always late with their deliveries. Describe us what will you do in this situation, from a position of a fleet manager.

Never suggest dismissing the driver. It should be your last option, considering the situation on the employment market…

Try to be more creative. You can say that you will have a one on one with them. Showing interest in their life and problems, and trying to understand exactly why they are always late, you will try to identify the core of the problem.

It can be lack of motivation, getting easily distracted, poor driving skills, or anything else that slows them down. Once you know the problem, you will try to address it.

 

Other questions you may face in your fleet manager job interview

  • What is your strategy for a great fuel efficiency?
  • How will you ensure a great level of customer service, when we talk about the contact they have with the driver?
  • Tell me about a situation when you used logic to solve a problem.
  • What would your ideal working environment be?
  • If we hire you for this job, what will be the first thing you will do in the office?
  • What are your salary expectations?

 

Conclusion, next steps

Interview for a job of a Fleet Manager belongs to interviews with an average difficulty. Experience is pivotal, but it won’t win you a job contract alone, especially because other applicants will also have an experience.

You may face some situational and behavioral questions, just like I described in this article. Try to prepare a short answer to each one of them, and do not forget to do a good research about your prospective employer.

I hope you will succeed, and wish you best of luck!

Matthew

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Matthew Chulaw
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