In December 2016, without warning, I was placed in charge of our district's transportation department when our previous director went on leave. (I had been the assistant director of food service and transportation.)
Like many districts, Ohio's Three Rivers Local School District was short on drivers, and I found myself driving a full-time load as a substitute, as well as learning the new position on the job. One of the first things that I knew I needed to do was get some drivers.
In January 2017, I had a moment of inspiration and created a very successful recruiting drive, one that filled all of our needs in under a week and brought us some great candidates.
I posted the following post on Facebook as myself, not through the school page, and then personally asked anyone I knew that lived in the area to re-post it. It took me one evening of work.
The original post read:
“I am looking to hire someone for a part-time position starting at $16 per hour with summers off, and no nights, weekends, or holidays. Great health insurance is also a possibility. This is a perfect job for a semi-retired person, a stay-at-home parent, someone needing a little extra cash, etc. We will provide paid training and help the new hire obtain a CDL-B driver's license. The job begins by driving vans for the Three Rivers School District and then eventually move up to buses and with a significant pay increase. Please message me or call me if you are interested, know someone that might be interested, or you can go to [the Google Docs form] to fill out a brief application."
One reason this proved to be successful was that almost all of our administrators, many teachers, and almost all of my drivers re-posted it, and they often tagged other people who they thought might be interested. Those people then clicked on the bus driver application at the bottom of the post and spent five minutes filling out a basic form through Google Forms.
The funny thing is that our drivers were the ones that re-posted and tagged people the most. While they knew we were hiring, they never said anything to their friends, but once they had this post in front of them they were quick to get the word out.
Another reason I believe that this effort was successful was, as you may notice in the post, the last thing I mentioned about this job was what it was. I first mentioned that evenings, weekends, holidays, etc. would be time off, as I believed that many people who would find driving appealing were currently working in jobs that required them to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.
I wanted potential drivers to first get excited about how this would positively affect their families and then later think about whether they could drive a bus or not. Also, by having a simple link to a simple application, the applicants could, without leaving Facebook, apply online in under five minutes.
We are a small district with 2,500 students and 30 buses. Within one week, I received almost 40 applications. We ultimately hired four drivers, of which all are still with us one year later, and as far as I know, have no plans on leaving, and I am happy to have them.
Tim Wagner is the director of transportation and food services for Three Rivers Local School District in Cleves, Ohio.