Recently a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she felt that she was being penalized for not having a smartphone during a job search.  Many of the positions she was looking at required that the candidate have their own smartphone and data plan.  She was asking if this was a legal and if it was legal was it required that the employer pay for the data plan.  There were a few outraged people, a few people who said that an employer could require these things, and a few people who were like me: “Who knows? Just get a smartphone.”

This question has been bothering me for about 2 weeks now.

Every day, I see articles on how smartphones are changing the job hunting game. How companies are putting policies in place to curb personal smartphone use and encourage work-related smartphone use.  In our own industry, what to do about cellphone use in the cab is a hotly debated topic.  Especially considering that we have minimal control over what the driver does once they get in their cab.  Car drivers use Bluetooth and Siri to call and text… and I imagine that many of your company and Owner-Operator drivers do the same.

Now, you could say that we don’t permit the use of cellphones in our trucks and drivers WITHOUT smartphones are more desirable than drivers with them.  But with the rise of onboard computers and smartphone/tablet technology the expectations of constant contact have grown.  Shippers, brokers, and your own management team want to know where the freight is at all times.  Knowledge that things get to where they’re going on time is important to everyone involved.  That your driver is safe and if they have problems that they can contact you is critical today.

Truly, this question goes beyond smartphones.  Many companies are looking at smartphones/tablets/onboard computers to do logs, offer training, book loads, hold paperwork, and so much more.  You can even use the Vigillo Mobile App to view scorecards in the field!  The ability to learn new technology quickly is becoming more and more of a job “requirement” as time goes by.

“Would you hire someone without a smartphone?” Is going to be heard again.