When and how to use text recruiting

Oct 08, 2019 - Cat DiStasio

The short version of our advice for getting started with text recruiting is: do it now and do it wisely.

But you need to know more. Like how job seekers actually feel about texting. As it turns out, it’s more popular than you might think. Two-thirds of job seekers who received text messages after applying reported it was a preferred method of communication, and we expect to see that figure increase in the coming years.

If you’re skeptical, don’t worry. As usual, I’ll tell you more. We’ll look at several common use cases for text recruiting and shed some more light on why it should be part of your recruiting strategy. The broad strokes are simple: job seekers want more communication from recruiters throughout the recruiting process. And I probably don’t need to cite the stats about how many people have smartphones or are sending and receiving text messages each day. Look around. There is probably someone texting near you right now. Text recruiting is a simple way to deliver the communication job seekers want, in a familiar and easy way.

That is, if they want it. It should go without saying that you need to get permission before texting candidates. But we’ll say it anyway. Always ask candidates to opt-in to text messaging. When candidates share contact information via a web form or during an interaction with a recruiting chatbot, clearly notify them they can now receive text messages from your recruiters. 

But don’t leave it there. Let candidates know that their contact information will be kept private and that you won’t sell it or use it for advertising purposes. Additionally, make it easy for candidates to opt-out if they decide they no longer want to receive text messages from you. 

Once you have the go-ahead, you’re ready to get started. But before you start texting with wild abandon, think about your candidate personas and make sure that your approach to text recruiting aligns with your overall conversational recruiting strategy.

Now, let’s dive into those use cases I promised. 

Invitations 

Using text messaging for invitations is our first of two ‘one to many’ use cases, where you’re sending the same message to multiple recipients (with or without personalization). There are a variety of specific examples here. You can use text recruiting to invite job seekers to apply for a position, if they shared their contact information without completing an application, either via a web form or during an interaction with your recruiting chatbot. 

Inviting candidates to participate in events (either online or in person) is another great use for text messaging. Reach out via text to invite candidates to attend your virtual career fairs or scheduled online group chats with recruiters or hiring managers. Be sure to include the registration link if you decide to send an invitation text, so it’s easy for candidates to respond.  

Re-engage with your talent database

In our second one-to-many example, we strongly encourage you to use text messaging to re-engage with candidates in your talent database who have previously opted in to communications. In many cases, text recruiting can help you stand out from the competition and get candidates excited about interacting with your company, even if they forgot all about you. The best recipients for these types of messages are job seekers who signed up with your talent community, signed up for but didn’t attend an event, or abandoned an application. Since they already acknowledged that they want to communicate with you, the ball is in your court. Send text messages that are appropriate for each category of job seeker, based on the history of their interaction with your company. For example, if they signed up for an online event but did not attend, your message should focus on events (“Hey! We noticed you could not attend our last event but no worries, we have another event coming up. Sign up here (link to event). Hope to see you soon!”)

Continuing online chat conversations

Text messaging on a one-to-one level is another way to strengthen your conversational recruiting strategy and build trust with candidates. It’s up to recruiters to take the reins and lead the conversation where it needs to go. Whenever a candidate identifies texting as a preferred communication channel, use it. Use text recruiting to communicate with candidates after they interact with a recruiting chatbot or with a live recruiter in online chat, and use a more casual tone so they feel like they are chatting with a trusted friend.

Following up 

Today’s talent wants a unique, personalized recruiting experience and text messaging is a great way to satisfy that desire. With one-to-one follow up texts, recruiters can help candidates feel special and appreciated. Use text recruiting to check in after events and at key milestones throughout the recruiting process. You can use text messages to follow up after a phone screen or an interview, which is a good time to thank candidates for their time and share information about the next steps to set the right expectations. 

Text messaging is a great channel for communication about almost every aspect of the recruiting process but there are a few circumstances where recruiters need to take caution. Avoid using texts for rejections and instead use email or a phone call instead (depending on the stage in the process and your relationship with the candidate). And never use text messaging to discuss any sensitive topics or information which could be read by anyone looking over a candidate’s shoulder. Those conversations should always warrant a phone call.

Texting your way to your next hire

As you can see, there are endless opportunities for text messaging throughout the recruiting process. If you think about the entire recruiting cycle and each interaction within it, you can easily break down the communication points. Decide which communication channel is most appropriate for each message, based on the nature of the communication itself, as well as your candidates’ desires and preferences. While the use cases we shared in this article are a few of the most common scenarios you might want to use text recruiting, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Brainstorm, experiment, and find out what works for your recruiting team and your candidates.

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