7 December 2023

How to Hire a Forklift Operator

By Ronald Smith

So, you wanna hire a forklift operator, huh? Well, let me tell you, they’re super important in all kinds of industries like manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, construction, and agriculture. These guys are the ones who keep everything running smoothly by moving stuff around safely and efficiently.

Now, let me give you the lowdown on how to find the perfect person for this job. Check it out:

What Exactly Does a Forklift Operator Do?

  • First things first, they operate forklifts to move, load, and unload all sorts of materials and products.
  • They also make sure to inspect and take care of those forklifts, so they’re always in tip-top shape.
  • Oh, and they’re responsible for stacking and storing materials in a safe way, you know, to avoid any accidents.
  • Safety is a big deal for these guys, so they always follow all the protocols and guidelines to keep everyone out of harm’s way.
  • And last but not least, they’re good at communicating with their team members and supervisors to keep things running smoothly.

The Skills and Certifications You Need to be a Forklift Operator

If you want to operate a forklift, you’ll need to get certified to show that you know how to do it safely. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that all forklift operators must have certification. For more details, check out our comprehensive article: The Job Description of a Forklift Operator.

Some important skills for forklift operators include paying close attention to details, being aware of your surroundings, and having good hand-eye coordination.

Why Forklift Certification Matters

  • Safety: When you’re certified, it means you’ve been trained to operate a forklift safely. This helps prevent accidents and injuries at work.
  • Sticking to the Rules: If you want to follow the rules set by OSHA, chances are you’ll need to get certified for forklift operation. Employers who hire certified operators are more likely to stick to safety regulations, avoiding fines and legal troubles.
  • Getting the Job Done: Certified operators are usually more skilled and efficient when it comes to handling forklifts. This can help boost productivity and cut down on the costs of moving materials around.
  • Avoiding Downtime: When operators are properly trained and certified, accidents and equipment damage are less likely to happen. This means less time wasted on repairs and more time spent working.
  • Insurance Perks: Some insurance companies might give lower premiums to businesses that employ certified forklift operators. It shows that you’re serious about safety and taking steps to protect your employees and equipment.
  • I Feel More Confident: When I become a certified operator, I feel more confident in my skills. This boost in confidence improves my job satisfaction and keeps me motivated.

Going Beyond Basic Certification for Forklift Training

In many workplaces, having the basic certification is enough. However, certain jobs may require additional certifications. To make this process smoother, you can use a well-structured training plan template. It will help you keep track of the certifications you need and guide you through the training.

  • Getting Rough Terrain Forklift Certification: If you work outdoors on uneven or rough terrain like construction sites or farms, you will need this certification. It covers the safe operation of rough terrain forklifts, which have larger and sturdier tires designed for these conditions.

I want to tell you about some important forklift certifications that will help keep you safe while operating these machines. It’s crucial to have the right skills to operate different types of forklifts, especially in specific settings like warehouses, docks, and port operations. Let’s dive in!

Reach Truck Certification:

If you’re an operator of reach trucks, which are used in narrow aisles in warehouses to lift and retrieve loads at high heights, this certification is for you. It focuses on teaching you all the specialized skills needed to safely operate these types of forklifts.

Order Picker Certification:

Warehouses often use order picker forklifts for picking items from high storage shelves. To ensure you can handle this type of forklift and work on elevated platforms safely, this certification is essential. It will give you the knowledge and skills you need to maneuver the forklift with confidence.

Dockyard Forklift Certification:

In port and dockyard operations, dockyard forklifts are used to handle shipping containers. This certification specifically covers the skills required for container handling and port safety. It’s crucial for anyone operating forklifts in these busy and potentially hazardous environments.

Remember, safety is paramount when operating forklifts. By obtaining these certifications, you will gain the expertise necessary to perform your job safely and efficiently. Stay aware of your surroundings, follow proper procedures, and always prioritize the well-being of yourself and those around you. Together, we can ensure a safe work environment for everyone.

Did you know that employers should give forklift operators safety training? Yup, it’s super important to follow the rules set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They want everyone to stay safe and sound at work. So, let me tell you why proper onboarding of new employees is crucial for their safety and performance.

During the training, they should cover important topics like how to operate the forklift safely, how to handle loads properly, and what to do in case of an emergency.

Oh, and by the way, forklift operator safety protocols and training should be a regular part of the company’s operations. This way, they can make sure everyone is keeping up with the safety standards.

Creating an Awesome Job Description for Forklift Operators

If you want to hire a forklift operator, you should make sure your job description is detailed. It’s important to mention whether they need to be certified or if your company will provide training as part of the onboarding process.

When writing a job description, I make sure to include all the important details. Here’s what you should include:

  • The job title and where it’s located
  • A clear list of responsibilities and tasks
  • The qualifications and certifications required
  • Any physical requirements for the job
  • Information about salary and benefits
  • Instructions on how to apply

Where to Look for Qualified Candidates for Forklift Operator Jobs

If you’re looking for candidates to fill forklift driver positions, there are a few places you can find them. Check out job boards, talk to recruitment agencies, and even try reaching out on social media. Networking within the industry can also help you find potential employees.

For companies that offer their own forklift operator certification and training, it’s important to find candidates who have shown their ability to learn and be dependable in their past work or school record.

I can find potential employees for forklift jobs by reaching out to high school students who are about to graduate. I can attend academic or job fairs specifically targeting these students. Another idea is to get creative and use unique methods to promote the job opening.

Advertising Forklift Jobs on Traditional Job Platforms

I can also advertise the forklift jobs on traditional platforms like local newspapers and radio stations. These platforms can help me connect with candidates in the nearby area. If there is a trade school nearby, it would be a good idea to post an advertisement there as well.

Advertising the Forklift Operator Role Online

To reach a wider audience, I can use online platforms like Indeed, Glassdoor, and industry-specific job portals. I should also consider joining Facebook pages that are focused on my local community or area. There might be an opportunity to post the job opening for a forklift driver for free or for a small fee on these pages.

The Interview Process: Finding the Right Forklift Operator

Step 1: Screening Forklift Operator Applications

Before we meet in person, I’ll review your application to see if you’re a good fit for the forklift operator position. It’s important that you fill out the application neatly and accurately. If you don’t follow instructions, it may raise concerns about your attention to detail. To ensure fairness, I use a structured interview format that minimizes bias when selecting candidates.

Once I’ve checked your employment history, I’ll conduct phone interviews with selected applicants. Unfortunately, if you’re not chosen to move forward at this stage, you’ll receive an interview rejection letter from me.

Step 2: Face-to-Face Interviews for Forklift Positions

When I interview candidates for forklift operator positions, I focus on assessing their experience, certifications, and knowledge of safety procedures. It’s important to make sure they have the right qualifications for the job.

To get a better idea of their problem-solving skills, I like to ask situational questions. For example, I might ask them what they would do if there was a spill of fluid or boxes in a passageway. Or how they would handle a hydraulic leak on the forklift equipment. This helps me see how they would handle real-life situations on the job.

Once I’ve chosen the right candidate, the next step is to formalize the employment offer. I use a job offer letter template to make this process easier and more organized.

Training and Onboarding for New Forklift Drivers

When onboarding a new forklift driver, it’s important to provide comprehensive training that includes safety protocols and a review of company policies. They should also receive specific training on the type of forklift they will be operating.

When it comes to a forklift job, it’s crucial to prioritize safety during on-the-job training.

Let’s start by introducing the new forklift driver to their work team members and supervisors.

Avoid These Mistakes When Hiring Forklift Operators

There are some common mistakes you should steer clear of when hiring forklift operators. These include not verifying certifications, overlooking gaps in safety awareness, and failing to assess a candidate’s practical skills.

Remember, when you’re hiring for a forklift operator position, taking your time is key. The interview process cannot be rushed, even though every company wants to be efficient. As part of the applicant screening, be sure to check the validity of certifications and reach out to previous employers for references.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Hire a Forklift Operator

How often should forklift operators receive safety training?

When it comes to safety training, it’s important to keep it going and stay updated with periodic refresher courses. How often you need these courses will depend on the industry you’re in and the policies of your company.

How much money does a forklift operator make in the US?

The pay for forklift operators can vary depending on where they work and how much experience they have. On average, though, it’s usually between $12 and $25 per hour in the United States.

Are there any specialized forklift operator jobs?

Yes, there are some niche forklift operator roles that require additional training and certifications. These jobs involve operating specialized forklifts for industries like agriculture, aviation, or manufacturing.

Do you need experience for most forklift jobs?

Not necessarily. Many companies provide the necessary training and certification for forklift jobs, so previous experience may not always be required.

How does the pay differ between entry-level forklift jobs and experienced ones?

If you have basic certification as a forklift operator, you can expect to earn between $12 and $25 per hour. However, with more experience and additional certifications, your pay per hour can increase. In fact, some forklift operators with multiple certifications even become trainers themselves, earning around $40 per hour.