Meet Ramon Calanza, Director of Driver Recruitment & Retention at Challenger

Our Hiring Hero Series showcases talent acquisition pros across the globe who are dedicated to connecting people with their next great opportunity.

Ramon Calanza is an HR executive and operations/logistics strategist for Challenger, Canada’s largest privately-owned transportation and logistics company that hauls goods worldwide. In his role, he manages a team of recruiters, hires for all divisions and analyzes recruiting data and metrics.

Recently, we had a conversation with Ramon to learn about his strategies and tips for recruiting employees for these specialized roles.

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a Hiring Hero?

“To me, a hiring hero is someone who gives people the opportunity to do what they enjoy, plus the chance to earn a decent living to support themselves and their family. But if you can also give them flexibility in their role to work with their lifestyle, then you’ve given them a lifelong career they love.”

What got you excited about recruiting at Challenger?

“I was really drawn to working here because of Challenger’s philosophy of building a people-first culture. You are known by your name at Challenger and not by your employee number. That was one of my motivations for joining the company.”

What sets Challenger apart from its competitors?

“We are the leader of our industry for safety and training. Because we want to be inclusive of all segments of talent, we offer a robust training program for new or less experienced drivers that need extra training before being out on their own. We even set up an approved school to conduct the MELT (Mandatory Entry-Level Training) program to anyone who wants to pursue a career in trucking. In fact, other companies look to us and our program to add value to theirs.”

“Challenger is one of the best transportation companies around because we are dedicated to supporting employee’s growth and development.”

What makes Challenger an attractive place for candidates to work?

“Well, we’re known for our training and development. We also offer an excellent pay package. And we offer stability and reliability within the industry and the work.”

What would you say is the best thing about working at Challenger?

“It’s knowing that work will be available year-round and that we’ve partnered with excellent, reputable long-term customers. There’s also predictability and reliability in the work. There is no fear that one day you may lose your job because Challenger lost a customer.”

Wow. That’s great! So, when it comes to recruiting, what types of roles do you generally hire for at Challenger?

“We hire for Truck Driver roles, Owner/Operators, Class A or A/Z Truck Drivers, and Team Truck Drivers.”

“It is critical to fill our driver roles. Drivers are the backbone of our organization. Without them, we wouldn’t be here—and we wouldn’t have any customers to service. That’s why it’s so important to fill these roles with the right people.”

What have been some of your biggest hiring challenges?

“We’ve struggled with finding qualified candidates to keep up with our business demand. The driver pool was diminishing, plus other carriers were competing for these drivers. So it was hard to find experienced drivers to immediately plug into these roles.”

So, how did you overcome these challenges?

“We teamed up with ZipRecruiter to create a recruitment campaign to help us reach new segments of talent. Being cognizant of the shift in age demographics in trucking is worth noting, as this demographic will respond differently to ads from other age demographics. This strategy also leveraged ZipRecruiter’s AI technology to increase the quality and volume of our applicants.”

“We had to adjust our job descriptions and the structure of our traditional driver roles to appeal to a younger generation and attract them to this industry.”

So, what have you done at Challenger to change the job structure or description to appeal to a new demographic?

“Besides offering a competitive total salary/benefits/savings package, we also give candidates the option to plan the roles around their lifestyle—like only working two days away, rather than being away for weeks at a time as a long haul driver. Additionally, we find the right candidates first and then carve the role to suit their needs instead of doing the opposite, which is what’s traditionally done. Basically, we’re flexible to candidates and their different lifestyles—which allows for more diversity and attracts a wider talent pool.”

Lastly, how do you set up your candidates for success?

“We make sure that all candidates are ready and confident to work on their own—and we offer open training for those that require it.”

Ramon’s Tips for the Future of Recruiting

“I recommend that you know your audience and try to adapt your roles to their lifestyle—whether they can only work a certain number of hours, or they want to work remotely, or if they need a schedule that accommodates their family and kids. This is especially important in the transportation industry because it’s so competitive. If your company offers flexible working styles, you’ll be much more desirable to top talent. I also strongly advise that you use technology to aid in your recruiting process. It helps open up your reach to attract new talent pools and saves you a lot of time.”

Challenger Motor Freight

Join the Challenger team! As Canada’s largest privately-owned transportation and logistics company, Challenger offers its employees a competitive salary package, an industry-leading training program, and a flexible working schedule.

Ramon is connecting people with great opportunities at Challenger every day. Check out some of the roles his team is hiring for now.

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