Most of us don’t go anywhere without our mobile phones, for better or worse. They aren’t just phones, right? It only stands to reason, then, that text messaging is becoming a valuable tool in business, and particularly, for recruiters.
According to a study conducted by Dynmark, a supplier of mobile messaging and mobile data applications services, 90 percent of text messages are read within the first three minutes of being sent. What does that mean for recruiters? They’re able to get answers and communicate with candidates quickly.
In addition, Erik Kostelnik, CEO of recruiter texting platform TextRecruit, adds that recruiter texts sent through its software have a 26 percent response rate (compared to a click-through rate of just four percent for emails).
Think about it: a candidate can respond to a text from anywhere, without having to set aside time for a phone call. On the other end, recruiters won’t have to wait for the candidate to get back to them once they’re at their computer with time to respond.
Texting is becoming more of a commonplace with recruiters as another tool to streamline the hiring process. It doesn’t mean that it will eliminate traditional emails and phone calls just yet, but its convenience is clear.
Different texting software programs can help recruiters optimize their efforts. There are different templates to use; tracking analytics to measure open and response rates; short codes and keywords to sort your contacts into groups according to their interests, geographical locations, or category of your choice; and the ability to integrate with many different Applicant Tracking Systems.
If you use texting in your recruitment process, there are things to keep in mind, so you don’t seem intrusive or unprofessional (we don’t need to tell you not to include emojis with your texts). The Society for Human Resource Management suggests the following:
- Identify yourself when texting people you don’t know. “Not just your name, but what you do and who you work for, and make it clear why you’re contacting them,” said Mike Wolford, a talent acquisition specialist most recently with Hudson, a New York City-based recruitment firm.
- Find out if candidates prefer to be contacted via text, phone call, or email, and text during business hours only.
- Keep it brief—under 160 characters.
- Keep it simple. Questions sent over text message should be easy to answer.
- Personalize communications, like including the person’s name or skill set to increase engagement.
- End messages with a call to action. “Our recruiters have experienced a much higher response rate when including a call to action in their text messages, such as ‘Are you available to speak over the phone tomorrow?’” says Natalie Breece, director of talent acquisition threadUP, Inc.
- Add a calendar link to schedule a chat.
- Make it easy for candidates to unsubscribe.
- Text people one time only. It may come across negatively if you continue to text without a response. (Others suggest calling or emailing after two texts.)
- Be thoughtful about the information shared over text and how those communications are tracked in case of an audit or investigation.
- Invest in training. Not all recruiters are comfortable or experienced with text. Having a strategy in place for new tools and software will help.
Texting isn’t going away, and now it’s easier and more important than ever to incorporate it into the hiring process.