Uber and other concepts of shared economy has put a dent in a conventional model of taxi business. Nevertheless, shared economy is viable in big cities only, where thousands of people drive around, and tens of thousands need a ride each day. In airport areas, smaller cities, or rural and holiday locations, the only way to get around without a vehicle is still a taxi. And now you can start driving one.
They will focus mostly on three things in your taxi driver interview: your driving experience, your customer service skills, and your expectations and whether the job can actually meet them. Let’s have a loot at 13 questions you may realistically face in this interview.
Why do you want to work as a taxi driver?
Say that you enjoy driving, and are pretty good at it. You do not mind working at night, and you are decent in communication with people. What’s more, at this stage of your professional career, you cannot get some other, perhaps a better job, and considering your skills and personal traits, position of a taxi driver seems like a perfect choice.
If you worked as a driver in the past (delivery driver, truck driver, limo driver, whatever), you should mention it at this point. You have some experience, and instead of starting from scratch you prefer to continue in the field, benefiting from your experience, and from everything you’ve done up to this point.
Try to show some enthusiasm for the position. They should not get an impression that you want to drive a taxi only because you flopped your interviews at other places, and need any job to make some money to live and to pay your bills.
Can you tell me more about your experience with driving cars?
Try to be exact, and mention some numbers. The number of years you’ve been driving, number of miles you covered, accidents you had, or caused (hopefully zero), and so on. Such numbers add your answer some credibility in the ears of the hiring manager, or the taxi service owner–depending on who leads your interview.
You should also name different zones and areas in which you drive frequently. Be it as busy city center, suburbs, rural areas, anything. The more you mention the better. Having an experience with driving in all kinds of terrains and weather conditions testifies to your driving skills.
You can also mention cars you drove before, or type of vehicles, especially when you have experience with driving large cars, for example for seven or nine passengers. Most taxi services have at least one such vehicle, and it is definitely a plus if you can drive it.
Have you ever had a car accident?
Honesty can do wonders for you in the interviews. If you had an accident, you should admit it. I know many drivers who had driven like crazy, before they had an accident. Only that was an eye opener, a lesson they needed to learn to slow down, to pay attention, to not write text messages on their phone while driving, and so on.
And that’s exactly what you should focus on if you had an accident–admit it was your mistake, and explain the lessons you learned. In average, a person will be involved in a car accident once in every 15 years. The more you drive, or occupy the passenger seat, the higher the odds of getting involved in an accident.
Hence it is “normal” to be involved in an accident, and you should not try to conceal it from your interviewers. Of course if you’ve never had an accident, it makes no sense saying that you’ve had one…
How do you feel about driving at night?
Most taxi rides actually take place at night, or early morning, when people are drunk, and have no other option of transport (buses or trams or trains do not typically operate at wee hours). That’s the “golden hour” for a taxi driver, as someone coined it long time ago…
You should ensure the interviewer that you have plenty of experience with driving at night. Your body is used to staying awake, and it does not make much difference for you when you are driving–be it day, evening, or 3am. Each period of the day has some advantages. The traffic is low at night, so you can make more rides in shorter time.
In any case, you should ensure the hiring manager that you count with working at night (not necessarily every night), have good vision and should not struggle in dark conditions.
You come to pick up a client and you see immediately that they are drunk, or maybe even high. How will you react?
Mark my words: At some nights, almost all clients will be drunk. Often that’s a reason why they call a taxi. They just aren’t able to walk home, let alone drive.
Ensure the interviewers that you won’t overreact. You count with driving drunk people, and unless they vomit or show signs of aggressive behavior, or seems to pose some serious threat to you or the vehicle, you will simply take them.
You may add that you will keep an eye on them, and perhaps ask them several times during the ride if they are well, if they do not need to stop for a minute. Certainly the last thing you want to find on the back seat of your taxi is some vomitus or piss…
Imagine that you drive a client for twenty minutes. Upon reaching their destination, they claim to have no money and refuse to pay. How will you react?
Most taxi services count with such incidents. Some clients simply won’t pay, and it doesn’t matter whether you threaten them with calling a police, or with giving them some beating…
Nonetheless, you should suggest at least trying to do something. Calling a police is a good strategy, or saying that you have their number, and will forward it to police officers if they don’t pay, etc. However, avoid suggesting any heroic actions. Maybe you practice Muay Thai, and would love to give such a customer some beating, or at least a friendly “warning” with your fist. But that’s not what your employer expects from you, and if you suggest doing that, they won’t hire you.
Imagine that you feel sleepy behind the driving wheel. It’s 3am and the dispatcher calls, pleading you to take one more client. How will you react?
Safety of you, of the passengers, and of course of the vehicle, should be your first priority. Ensure the interviewers that unless you feel awake and ready to safely drive a taxi, you won’t agree with driving anyone. That’s the attitude they are looking for.
However, you can talk about some remedies for tiredness, something that works for you. It can be an energy drink, cup of coffee, whatever. If something works for you, you can suggest trying it in a case of emergency. Of course you will stop at the side of the road, and wait until the caffeine kicks in, and just then go and take the passenger–if you feel ready to drive. If you don’t, you will simply refuse.
Other questions you may face in your taxi driver job interview
- What is your definition of an outstanding customer service?
- Tell us about the most scary situation you’ve ever experienced while driving a car.
- What are your salary expectations? How much you’d like to earn as a taxi driver?
- How many hours per week would you like to work for our taxi service?
- What do you plan to do in your taxi when there are no clients, and you have to wait in your car for the next call?
- After everything we discussed here, do you want to add something or ask me anything?
Conclusion, next steps
Interview for a taxi driver job belongs to interviews with easy difficulty. You can easily predict the questions in advance, and prepare for them.
As long as you show some enthusiasm for the job, motivation to work hard and long hours, and right attitude to some situations that can happen to you at work (meeting a drunk customer, client refusing to pay, feeling sleepy at night, etc), they will give you a chance, and let you drive one of their cars for a while.
How long you will retain the job, however, and whether it really is the right fit for you, is another story altogether. You will find out after the first month…
May also interest you:
- How to overcome interview nerves – Do not let your anxiety to silence you in the interview.
- Salary negotiation tips – You should try your best to get as much as they are willing to pay you. Learn how to do so.
- 15 most common interview questions and answers – Why should we hire you? Where do you see yourself in five years from now? You can get these questions in any interview, and should definitely prepare for them.