Coach Operators: hiring the best of the best

Meet our newest coach operator graduates. Bottom row, left to right- Tondra Williams, Roy Everett, Valerie Nelson, Jeremy Aragon. Top row, left to right- Ron Maestos, Michael Garrett, Israel Eze, Curtis Barry

This month we welcomed our newest group of coach operator graduates. They recently completed 5-6 weeks of extensive training to pass their final tests and join our operations department as full-fledged coach operators.

But before they ever began that training, these aspiring drivers had to undergo an 8-step screening process that identified them as the best of the best of all potential candidates.  Did you know that on average only 8% of the people who apply for the position, actually go on to become an Omnitrans coach operator?

The majority of our applicants hear about job openings by subscribing to our job alerts. Others come to us through employee referrals or as walk-ins. For each opening we receive an average of 250 applicants, yet only around 20 are hired to begin actual training. And out of those trainees, often only half continue past the final exam.

Valerie Nelson (left) proudly shows off the coach operator certificate presented to her by Director of Operations, Diane Caldera (right).

Here’s a quick look at our 8 -step screening process, which helps us select those individuals best suited to become coach operators.

Step 1 – The Application
Surprisingly, many candidates are immediately eliminated in this first step because they have either failed to fill out portions of the application or have neglected to sign it. It is absolutely vital that you provide all the information requested in order to ensure your application isn’t passed over as incomplete.

Step 2 – The Minimum Qualifications
In order to even be considered for a coach operator position, an applicant must be 21 or older and have no more than 2 points within a 3 year period within 10 years of driving time.  A recent (not more than 30 days old) DMV-H6  form must be attached to the application form to even be considered for the position.

Step 3 -The Testing
Omnitrans does extensive testing on all applicants to assess their work ethics, customer service, and driving skills.  Those that pass the examination are placed on an eligibility list for a period of up to 1 year.

Step 4 – The Interview
An interview date is scheduled. When the applicant arrives, they will participate in  two sets of interviews, one with an HR representative and one with our operations department management team. An outstanding work ethic, strong driving skills, and excellent customer service all figure prominently in the selection process.

Step 5 – The Background Check
A background check is completed on all applicants to ensure they are candidates in good standing.

 Step 6 – The Pre-Assessment
Candidates are asked to perform several physical tasks that will determine if they can perform the essential job functions of a Coach Operator.  This could include such physical tasks as the ability to lift a certain amount of weight, simulating the tie down of a wheelchair, and having the ability to walk up and down steps repeatedly.

Step 7 – The Physical Screening
Our Occupational Health Provider administers a DOT physical exam and DOT drug test.  All candidates being considered for employment for all positions within the organization must successfully pass a physical examination and drug test before they are hired.

Step 8 – The Permit
Candidates must obtain a Class B driving permit with air brakes and passenger endorsement prior to employment.

Once a candidate is hired, they  must successfully complete 5-6 weeks of classroom and on the road training before graduating to  full-fledged coach operator. It’s truly an accomplishment of which to be proud!

If you happen to run into any of our new operators on your route, you’ll know that they are among the finest in their profession. Be sure to give them a shout out and say hi. They are looking forward to serving you.

You can view more photos of our graduating class on Flickr.

Thanks to Denise Gibson and Misty Tshilonda in HR for providing background information on our hiring process.

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Graduating Coach Operator Curtis Barry is congratulated by his very proud mom.

Interested in a career at Omnitrans? Visit our career opportunities page for a list of open job positions.

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