June 22nd, 2020

How to Use Texting in Recruitment

Email is a popular method for communication throughout the selection process. Texting, on the other hand, has a different story to tell. Even though it’s fast, convenient, and reliable, recruiters don’t use it often.

When you receive a notification for an SMS or a message from Whatsapp or Viber, how quickly do you react to it? One research states that it usually takes people up to three minutes to respond.

With emails, it takes much longer. We don’t have the same habit for checking them, as we do for short messages. You were probably at least once in a situation where your candidate did not reply for a few days to an email. Does it mean they are not interested? Not necessarily. They simply forgot to check their inbox.

Sometimes you’ll need a fast response or want to notify an applicant about rescheduling an interview, for example. For those situations, texting is the best choice. In this article, we’ll discuss the most common aspects of using SMS in recruitment.

Before You Start Texting…

In comparison to emails, phone numbers present sensitive information, private. You don’t see websites asking you to share your phone number in order to receive updates. When choosing instant messaging for communication, it’s okay to keep in mind the following:

  • Asking For Consent - It’s advisable to make some initial contact with the candidate before you text them for the first time. That can be done through email, a phone call, or an interview.

    Use those opportunities to ask for their consent to receive updates from you through SMS. Here’s an example: “This was a pleasant interview, thanks for your time. Would you like me to send you an SMS about the status of your application?”

  • Timing It Right - Texting late, between 8 pm and 8 am, can be intrusive, as that period is usually reserved for relaxing and private life in general. Perhaps it’s best to do it from 9 am to 5 pm, during the most common working hours.

    If you do it late at night, the candidate probably won’t be too happy about it. They can also have the impression that your company culture requires working overtime. Only urgent situations should allow for an exception in timing.

  • Knowing Your Audience - Millennials are familiar with texting, which is part of their lives for a long time. It’s most likely that they will agree to get updates that way.

    Older generations, even though they use mobile phones, might find it as informal or too personal. When contacting them for the interview, try to figure out what channel of communication they prefer.

When to Text

We’ve already covered timing as in hours during the day. Now we’ll talk about different scenarios in which texting is or isn’t recommended.

  • Updating the Candidate About the Interview - It’s okay to send something like: “Hey John, it’s Michael from [the company’s name]. I wanted to let you know that there’s a traffic jam near us. Don’t worry if you don’t make it on time since it might take you 10-15 minutes more than usual to come here. Looking forward to our interview!” They will respect you for caring and not putting additional pressure on them for being late.
  • Delivering Good News - You can notify a candidate when they make it to the next round of the selection process. If they get as far as getting the job, you should skip emails and texting. Take the time to call them and honestly congratulate them on their success, they deserve it.
  • Informing Them if There’s a New Open Position - If the candidate made a good impression on you but didn’t get the job, you can inform them about future openings. The message should be short and straightforward, like any other follow up.

When Not To?

  • Discussing Salary and Other Benefits - These present sensitive information. When texting, there’s a chance that you will not send the right message to the candidate, literally. It’s better to reserve them for an interview or a phone call, and avoid any possible confusion.
  • Delivering Bad News - Even if you’ve done it a hundred times, letting a candidate know they didn’t get the job isn’t easy. You probably want to just get it over with as quickly as possible.

    Some candidates will ask for feedback and a reason for not being chosen. A short phone call or a longer email should do the trick. They deserve it, especially if they’ve reached the final phases of the selection process.

For applicants, rejection is often an emotional moment. That’s why you should take your time to [give them feedback in a proper manner.](https://www.igloohr.com/blog/giving-feedback-to-your-candidates) You’ll come out as a professional, and they’ll appreciate it.

Phone Calls VS Texting

They both offer a quick way to reach someone, but we are not always in a situation where we can talk. Imagine being in a crowded public transport: someone calls and you pick up. Neither side can clearly hear the whole conversation, and it might be something important. For this reason, texting is your best bet. You’ll send the message precisely, and the recipient will be able to reply.

As time passes, instant messaging is becoming more popular in the selection processes. After all, Millennials and Generation Z have their phone by their side almost always.

It’s fast, effective, and you can create templates to save time when you realize that the content of your messages gets repetitive.

If you keep it simple, professional and do it the right way - it can improve your hiring and bring great results. To make sure texting a candidate is appropriate in a specific situation, ask yourself this: “Would it be okay for me to receive a text message if we swapped places”?


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