If you work in talent acquisition, you know there’s almost no better feeling than finding the right person to fill an open position. There’s only one other moment that can compete: when the candidate finally accepts the offer. Of course, celebrating new hires is only a very small part of what recruiters and hiring managers do. The recruiting process involves writing job postings, finding applicants, scheduling interviews, filling out paperwork, checking references and endless other tasks.
If done right, text messaging can make this process easier. In this article, we’ll walk through how to use SMS for recruitment as well as some pros and cons of using text messages in your hiring process.
There are several ways recruitment companies can use a mass texting service to their advantage. We go over these in detail in our industry guide for staffing and recruiting. The first step is to text-enable your existing 10-digit number, or get a new local or toll-free number. Once you have SMS capabilities, you’re ready to start using it to connect with talent. Here’s a quick 8-step overview of SMS recruitment:
1. Connect SimpleTexting to Your HR Software
This step is optional, but can go a long way in automating your SMS recruitment efforts. Our Zapier integration allow you to plug your existing software such as Breezy HR, Bamboo or Workable into our platform.
2. Send Targeted Job Leads
Segment your list based on information such as zip code or education level, then send out a bulk text to candidates with a job application.
3. Pre-Screen Candidates
Don’t play telephone tag with a candidate who may not be worth the time. Send screening tests, questionnaires, or surveys via text to make sure you have a worthwhile candidate.
4. Coordinate Interview Scheduling
Text messages put an end to endless back-and-forth emails. Quickly coordinate interview times, or better yet, send out a link to the interviewer’s calendar.
5. Send Day-of Reminders
No one want to miss an interview. Neither the candidate nor the person conducting the interview. Send a reminder to both parties with useful information such as parking instructions, directions, and more.
6. Keep Candidates In the Loop
Sometimes you find the right person for the position, but there are internal hold ups that are out of your control. No one likes to be kept in the dark. Use texts to update candidates as they enter a new stage in the recruitment process.
7. Inform Applicants Who Weren’t Selected
Unfortunately, you can’t make an offer to everyone. Applying to a job isn’t easy, and awaiting a response can be the hardest part. Reduce discomfort by letting candidates who weren’t selected know they’re no longer being considered.
8. Send Job Offers
This is the best part of the hiring process, and you’ll likely want to extend the good news over the phone. The advantage of using a business texting service is that you can text and call using the same number!
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of how to use SMS for recruitment, let’s cover the reasons why you’d want to choose mass texting over other channels. You have email, social media, phone calls, and other tools at your disposal. So why text? Recruiters use mass texts because they:
Have a Higher Response Rate than Email
Don’t waste time writing to candidates through a channel they might ignore. A study of hundreds of millions of emails found that the average open rate of recruiting and staffing emails is around 19.33%. Not bad. The click-through rate? 1.81%. Not so great. Text messages, on the other hand, almost always get read. Less than 2% go unopened. Plus, the average click-through rate of SimpleTexting customers is 17%. And unlike email inboxes, you never have to worry about your text messages being accidentally picked up by a spam filter.
Speed Up the Recruitment Process
Vacant positions aren’t just costly. They take a toll on your team, too. The work still needs to get done somehow. Texts don’t just get read, they get read quickly. Data from some of the largest cell service providers in the U.S. and Europe revealed that 90% of SMS messages are read within three minutes. Texting isn’t just one-way either. Your contacts can reply to your mass texts. (At SimpleTexting, we never charge for incoming SMS texts.) So when you need a response quickly, choose texting.
Can Be Automated to Fit Your Needs
Yes, SMS messages have a high response. But that’s not the only reason that recruiters looking to work more effectively seek out a mass texting service. Text messages can also be automated. You can schedule texts in advance, or use Zapier to connect SimpleTexting to your existing software. Send out an automated text to available candidates when a new job open ups. Set up an auto-confirmation text when a new application is received. Automatically provide a link to the necessary paperwork when a candidate reaches a certain stage in the hiring process.
Can Be Tracked, Measured and Optimized
We’ve touched briefly on open rates and click-through rates. These are important metrics, but texting let’s you take this data a step further. Our segmenting feature allows you to set up automated texts that send specifically to those who did—or didn’t—click a link in your message. Let’s say you send a candidate an assessment test, and they don’t click it. You can send an automated reminder that goes out a few days before the deadline reminding them to take the test.
Are Inexpensive with a Bulk SMS Service
There are a lot of costs associated with hiring new talent: job board fees and internal recruiter costs, among others. That’s why it’s important to only spend money on a new tool if it’s going to have a significant ROI. Mass texting provides all of the benefits listed here, for a low cost. As we mentioned before, all incoming messages are free. And outgoing messages can cost as low as 1.25¢ each.
Are More Personal than Email
The text message inbox is unlike any other. It contains messages from family and friends. And because the job-hunt is so personal, many candidates are to happy provide consent for recruiters to send them texts. Text messages are an opportunity to improve the impression candidates have of you. You can even personalize your mass texts using custom fields. With 2-way messaging, you can quickly reply to concerns and questions.
Of course, no two hiring managers work exactly the same way. After working with a wide range of clients in the talent acquisition industry, we’ve seen just how many ways texting can be used for recruiting. Some people use it just to send mass alerts about job openings, others set up advanced automation, and many forgo bulk texts all together and just use business texting to have 1-on-1 conversations. The pros and cons of texting for recruiting will always vary depending on your specific use case.
You may have heard that texting can be perceived as unprofessional, or that candidates find it intrusive. We’ve found that these cons can be easily mitigated by following a few straightforward best practices for SMS recruiting. However, this isn’t to say that text messaging is perfect. Like any form of communication, it has its downsides. Here are a few cons of mass texts for recruitment:
You Have to Manage a New Channel
The dreaded invite to a new tool. We’ve all received one. If you’re a hiring manager, you know getting your team to use recruiting software they’re unfamiliar with can be a challenge. Communicating with candidates via text message does take some time to get used to. Luckily we have a series of step-by-step videos and help center articles to help you get the hang of things quickly.
Challenging to Text International Candidates
If the majority of your roles are in the U.S. and Canada, this disadvantage doesn’t apply to you. But if you need to text candidates in other parts of the world, a mass SMS service may not be right for you. Currently SimpleTexting supports all major U.S. and Canadian carriers only.
More Room for Misinterpreted Messages
Emails provide you with infinite characters to explain (and in some cases over-explain) yourself. Most SMS messages are only around 160 characters. Our extended messaging feature allows you to send up to 306 and MMS gives you you 1,600 characters to work with. Still, it takes a skilled recruiter to write text messages. It isn’t rocket science, but it does require good writing and communication skills.
Email is Irreplaceable
Some things just can’t, and shouldn’t, be sent over text. Sensitive or confidential paperwork, for example. A good recruitment strategy can’t rely on just one tool. This means that your hiring process will need to be a healthy mix of SMS and email. This may sound like more work, but our customer reviews prove that text messaging can save recruiters time.
Candidates Expect Quick Replies
Unlike emails, which can be left sitting in your inbox for a few days, most people expect speedy responses to their text messages. The good news is our business texting service allows you to filter conversations by most recent or time waiting. That said, your team needs to be ready to stay on top of incoming messages. We recommend creating templates to speed up your workflow and quickly get back to candidates. For example, you may want to consider creating a template that says, “Hi there, we received your text and will reply ASAP.”
There’s no perfect recruiting process, and there’s no perfect communication channel. Texting may be fast, and yield high response rates, but it certainly isn’t without its flaws. When deciding whether or not to use mass texts for recruiting, consider your team’s capabilities and needs first. Better yet, sign up for a free 14-day trial and try it out for yourself before you make a decision.
Texting isn’t meant to replace other recruitment strategies. Rather, it’s designed to supplement and enhance the tactics you already use. Let’s talk about how mass texting can work together with other channels to help you reach potential candidates, and become an unstoppable recruiter.
If you’re using mass texts to build your pool of applicants, social media is a great way to meet candidates where they already are. You can’t purchase a list of phone numbers to send recruiting texts to. (It’s both illegal, and highly ineffective.) You can, however, buy LinkedIn or Facebook ads targeted towards the people you want to reach. Create a keyword and include it in your ads. We offer unlimited keywords on every plan, which means you can create one for each open position. Here’s an example:
Apple is looking for a UX designer. Think you’d be a good fit? Text APPLEUX to 411-454-9091 for more information.
Online Job Postings
Think of it this way: texting helps you connect with a candidate, but it doesn’t help you find the candidate. That’s what job boards are for. When you finally find the right candidate, the job board fee can be worth its weight in gold. We don’t recommend adding your number to online postings. This can result in unwanted messages from inexperienced and unqualified candidates. Instead, include a web form with a phone number field alongside your posting. This way, you can automatically add applicants as SimpleTexting subscribers and reach out to them when you’re ready.
Surveys and tests are an effective way to screen candidates. Still, nothing trumps a quick phone call to decide whether or not someone is worth your time. Text-enable your existing phone number so that you can both text and call potential candidates from the same line. Don’t leave another voicemail again. Instead, send a text asking your candidate to reach out when they’re ready:
Emails, the darling of the staffing and recruiting industry. If you’re like us, you have a love-hate relationship with email. Adding texting to your recruiting strategy can make it more love than hate. Cut back on long threads and lost messages, and reserve email for sending important paperwork such as tax documents, NDAs, and offer letters.
Job fairs are like real-life Tinder for companies and job seekers. After a quick glance at a candidates and a short conversation, you decide whether their resume will go into the “reach out to” pile. Before your next fair, make sure your business cards mention that candidates can either call or text you. Consider creating a keyword and short code to include in your brochures or display materials.
Hiring is one of the most important functions of an HR professional. It takes money, and more importantly, it takes time. A skilled recruiter knows what tools to use to both minimize wasted time and maximize ROI. Mass texts are just one piece of the puzzle. With over 292 million people in North America using text messages, if it’s missing from your hiring process, you’re looking at an incomplete recruiting strategy.
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