Driven to succeed: Is a Driving Licence necessary for a job in sales?

A few years ago, a friend, in a management training session on interviewing skills, sat with colleagues in judgement of a mock interviewee for the post of a field sales rep.  They all thought the candidate had done well, but what she didn’t realise was that the interviewers had failed to ask if she had a driving licence. Driving is just ever so slightly important in a field sales role that most of these opportunities come with a car as part of the package. Moreover, this has implications for those with disabilities.  The government’s advice is clear here.  If the job really is a “driving” job then some with disabilities affecting their ability to drive will not be able to do it, but if it’s a job that requires occasional travel then it is actually against the law to state that the job requires candidates to be able to drive (they could take public transport, for example).

 

A lot of people have reprinted the recent research by job-board CV Library about job-seekers’ perception of the importance of having a driving licence when applying for a job.  Usually, they have reproduced it verbatim, without any attempt at analysis.  However, while acknowledging we’re not social scientists, at Nine Twenty we like to dig a bit deeper and provide our candidates with valuable insights, not just regurgitate someone else’s work.

 

That said, the CV Library research is interesting.  They surveyed over 2,100 of their database of active candidates and nearly three-quarters (73%) said they think that employees should have a driving licence and over three-quarters (77%) think that being able to drive makes them more employable.  Most job-seekers (70%) said they’d been asked if they could drive by an employer (although it wasn’t clear if this was part of the interview process).  And despite the fact that a majority of respondents didn’t know that an employer can request access to their driving record, only 5% have had their job affected by some aspect of their driving history.

 

Just to test this, we have done a bit of delving into the subject.  According to Skills Scotland, just under 10% of advertised vacancies in the country actually specify the need for a driving licence.  Unsurprisingly, these are all ‘driving’ jobs’! 

 

When we look at the numbers who have a driving licence, the Scottish Household Survey (2012 figures) show that in 2012 68% of all those aged 17+ had a full driving licence. It’s likely that this figure will have increased since then, and the numbers with a licence probably mirror the numbers (73%, as above) in the CV Library research who say that employees should have a driving licence.  The correlation seems a bit obvious to us: if you have a driving licence aren’t you probably more likely to think that one is also necessary for your job?

 

What is more useful for candidates are the employers’ perceptions. These are particularly important for those seeking a sales role.  The fact that so few (5%) of the CV Library respondents have had an issue with their driving at work suggests that it’s not regarded as a major issue by their employers. Similarly, the fact that relatively few recruitment adverts actually specify the need for a driving licence suggests that it’s not important other than when the job clearly involves driving (in sales – or, obviously, the transport/haulage industry).  In field sales, the need for a driving licence is paramount and taken as read. In these jobs, a good recruiter will investigate the candidate’s driving history.  A string of convictions for driving offences doesn’t engender confidence!  So our message is simple: if you are applying for a job that requires driving, it helps to have a good driving record. And if you want to get into sales, a driving licence does help!

 

Louise Hunter, Consultant - Sales & Marketing