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Text, Don’t Call: How Recruiters Can Stand Out Using SMS Messages

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Learn how SMS messages will change the future of recruitment and how you can get ahead of the curve by using this tool to communicate with your candidates.

As a recruiter, there was a time when mastering LinkedIn messaging and writing the perfect recruitment email were enough. But when the world is changing and innovation is everywhere you look, you need to start thinking of brand new ways to lure qualified candidates.

While other headhunters and talent acquisition folks are googling how to craft the best recruitment email ever, you’re a step ahead of the game if you’re reading this right now to master SMS for recruitment.

Hint: it’s not rocket science and there’s no sorcery involved.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the different ways to use texting in attracting great hires and speeding up the recruitment process.

Texting itself isn’t new but up until recently it hasn’t been used for recruitment. If Columbus were alive today, he’d be proud of you for being brave enough to explore uncharted territories!

Why SMS for Recruitment Makes More Sense

Early this year, Pew Research revealed that millennials (ages 22 to 37 in 2018) are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force as of 2017, amounting to 56 million. The generation following millennials, (those born after 1996, also known as Gen Z) are also starting to look for work or are already employed. They comprise 5 percent of the labor force.

So how do these Millennials and post-Millenials prefer to communicate?

When this large pool of job candidates isn’t watching binge watching their favorite show or deliberately ignoring your calls, they’re likely browsing their social media feeds or texting. After all, a whopping 98 percent of these candidates have smartphones.

As for emails, it turns out that millennials perceive this channel as a last resort—only to be used when other communication platforms aren’t available.

If you’re in recruitment, it’s a safe bet that you worry quite a bit about these figures.

How can you find the right candidate for a job when a huge chunk of your prospects are ignoring phone calls and consider email too business-like?

5 Reasons to Use Text Message for Recruiting

SMS messaging will definitely have huge implications for the future of recruiting. Currently, early adopters are using texting to screen candidates and conduct early-stage interviews.

Here are a few more reasons why you should stop throwing up your hands in despair after months of dismal recruitment rates and consider texting as a valuable tool in your recruitment arsenal.

1. Text messages have higher open and read rates.

Quick exercise: check and compare the number of unread emails in your inbox and unread texts in your phone right now.

Chances are your inbox has ten times more unread messages than your SMS inbox. Put simply, texting provides a quick and effective way of reaching out to applicants and recruits. In contrast to emails, 95 to 98 percent of text messages are read within minutes of receipt.

2. SMS recruiting is flexible.

You can employ text messaging at different stages of the recruiting process: lead generation, receiving applications, initial contact, screening candidates, scheduling interviews, follow-up, and even onboarding new hires.

3. Text recruiting allows for real-time communication.

The recruitment process is often riddled with unique concerns such as interview scheduling conflicts and upfront discussions about salary range. With a text message, you can quickly respond to such affairs. Plus, you’re more likely to get a response from texts than emails. Not convinced? Ask the people behind Recruiting Daily.

With high open rates, SMS is also a great way to send time-sensitive updates such as changes to the interview schedule or location.

4. Text messages are more discreet.

SMS is a great way to communicate with folks who are at work. They can read your message without feeling guilty and respond to it without their colleagues (and probably boss) looking over their shoulders. Call them at work and you’re likely to get a cold shoulder.

5. SMS recruiting is simple, cost-effective, and saves you time.

Like bulk emails, you can use text messaging to reach out to more than one candidate at once (particularly in the early stages of recruiting) and automate repetitive messages such as interview reminders or thank you messages. The speed and ease with which automation can be carried out allow for more time devoted to high-touch aspects of talent acquisition.

The Subtle Art of Text Recruiting

Like all forms of communication, there’s a fine line between formal and casual texting. The most successful recruiters using text messaging are the ones who sound both professional and personable in their texts. The right formula: not too casual to the point of sounding crass,and not too stilted to the point of sounding cold.

Here are quick tips and reminders to make text recruiting work for you:

Do your research about your target candidates.

Not everyone loves texting. If the job role calls for an older crowd, consider other modes of communication. The same goes for texting at certain times of the day. It’s best to only text potential candidates during business hours.

Be mindful of compliance issues.

For a start, ask for permission (preferably when a candidate fills out an application form) and make it easy for candidates to unsubscribe. There must be a clear way of opting out from your messages, particularly when you’re sending bulk messages.

SimpleTexting makes it easy for recruiters to do this. Anytime a new user subscribes to one of your lists, we automatically send out the required disclosures in a free compliance text. We’ve simplified the process by building compliance right into our platform.

Currently, SimpleTexting is the only SMS marketing company that sends a free best practice compliance message as a separate standalone text.

Text like a human.

Just because a text is automated, doesn’t mean you have to sound like a bot. Make sure your tone is clear and helpful. Avoid using text abbreviations, not everyone knows what TIL means.

Finally, try not to deliver bad news through texts. Instead, text the candidate to find out if they’re available for quick phone call.

Personalize your texts.

An easy way to do this is to use custom fields to include a candidate’s first name in your automated texts.

Our business texting service enables 1-on-1 texting from an existing line or a new dedicated number.

A text that comes from a number unique to your company can feel more personal than one that comes from a short code. This is another good way to improve a candidate’s perception of your company.

Attract qualified candidates by setting up keyword triggers.

You can set up specific keyword triggers to automatically respond to common queries and requests for information.

For example, you can set a trigger for the keyword DESIGNER that will automatically reply with more information about designer roles when a candidate texts that keyword to your short code or dedicated number. You can share these keywords across all of your marketing channels including social media, company websites, and print ads.

The Times They Are A-Changin’..

And it’s time for your headhunting ways to change too.

By catering to your candidates’ communication preferences such as texting, you get extra points for being more effective and personal. Plus, you stand out from other recruiters (who are still stuck writing the perfect recruitment email).

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