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    HR Resources | 6 min read

    Text Messaging - The Future of Recruitment

    As an increasing number of Millennials and Gen Zs enter the workforce, behavioral patterns are changing vastly, with rising demands for digitization, convenience and efficiency. With over 4 billion active users a month and a 90% open rate for text messages, which are often read in the first three minutes, messaging becomes an increasingly popular part of the recruiting process.

    Why Messaging?

    Respecting a candidate’s time and schedule

    Show your candidates that you value their time. Instead of assuming that they’re available, texting acts as a ‘heads up’ and gives them time to make preparations. There is a high chance that these candidates are already in a day job, with busy schedules or environments that do not allow for them to pick up their phone (especially from an unknown caller). Dropping a text prior to the call allows them to move to a quieter place, or revert on their availability. 

    Efficiency

    Messaging speeds up the entire communication (and eventually hiring) process, as most people are almost always on their phones, and are more likely to check their messaging apps than their email inbox. Text messages have 18 times the response rate of emails, with a much greater chance of the applicant responding to your message. 

    Sending out a text message takes only a couple of seconds, and can be used as a follow up to prompt candidates to take a look at their inbox.

    Not only is it a quick method to connect with your candidates, it will also allow them to contact you instantly when the need arises. To set the context, texting a candidate prior to the interview allows them to follow up with a call to you (the job recruiter) should there be technical difficulties, or if the interviewer does not show up on time.

    Allows for optimal candidate performance

    As the hiring process is often stressful to candidates, choosing to send a message instead of springing a surprise call can also help them get in the right headspace. They will then be able to perform to their best abilities during the interview, since they will be more composed and prepared for the interview, rather than being caught off guard. It will also provide them with sufficient time to refresh their memory about the role, especially if they’ve applied for multiple roles or applied for your role a while ago. 

    Ability to customize contact lists 

    From sending personalized messages to individuals or group broadcasts to multiple candidates, text messaging grants flexibility to the job recruiter. This saves you time from sending messages individually, but instead blast messages based on credentials or pre-set lists based on the stage of recruitment process the candidates are at. 

    Elevating A Candidate’s Recruitment Experience

    To create a seamless recruitment experience for a candidate, it is crucial to understand what they want. Still not convinced that text messaging is the way to go? Let’s take a look through the lens of a candidate. We have compiled a list of statistics highlighting preferences of candidates, based on surveys and studies conducted by various institutes. 

    Willingness to be contacted via text

    Candidates are open to being contacted via text messages during the recruitment experience. 66% of job seekers feel that it is acceptable for recruiters to contact them via text, while 73% say they want to receive targeted job offers via text.

    Preference for mobile text notifications

    A 2019 research study showed that candidates who received mobile text notifications rated their recruiting experience 50% higher than those without. This implies that in the eyes of the candidates, text messaging does improve the hiring process and improves their experience.

    Texts over phone calls

    A study by OpenMarket highlights 75% of millennials stating a preference for text messages over phone calls. iCIMS’ class of 2021 report also shows that 89% of Gen Z college seniors are comfortable with texting potential employers during the hiring process.

    How to Utilize Text Messaging in Recruitment 

    Arranging for a call

    By texting your candidate to arrange for a call, they will be able to identify your number (rather than rejecting the call from an unknown caller ID), and provide their availability. You will save time as a hiring manager, since candidates are more likely to pick up your call afterwards, or call back if they’ve missed your call, rather than ignore the call completely. 

    From the candidates' perspective, it also saves them from awkward situations, such as picking up your call while they’re in their current workplace.

    Following up 

    Have an urgent interview to schedule, but the candidate hasn’t replied to your email? Follow up with a simple text message, by reminding them to take a look at their inbox at their convenience. Following up with text messages will help encourage prompt email replies, and allow you to obtain missing information more efficiently.

    Providing Reminders 

    Text messages can act as reminders for candidates, such as interview schedules, documentations or even advice or encouragement. This saves both parties the hassle in the event where a candidate forgets about their interview and doesn’t show up.

    Text-to-Apply Posters

    Text features can be incorporated not only on the recruiter’s end, but also for the candidate. Consider the use of text-to-apply posters, where custom posters with QR codes are printed and displayed at locations (such as your QSR). When customers scan the QR code or text the number displayed, they will gain access to all open positions.

    A consolidation of open positions makes it easy for them to explore roles they’re interested in, and texting will also make it more convenient for candidates to apply. 

    Automation

    Automate text messaging by utilizing features such as Workstream’s automated scheduling, where hiring managers can select applicants they’d like to move to the next stage. These applicants will instantly get a text message link to the hiring manager’s Workstream - Google Calendar to schedule a zoom. Reminders are later sent to reduce ghosting. 

    This will give hiring managers more time to focus on more important tasks such as hr strategy and final hiring decisions that help create greater value for the organization.

    Mobile Training 

    The human resource team can easily send handbooks, checklists and training videos through a text message link. This makes training materials easily accessible for all employees, and this information can be sent to both new and existing hires, with SMS reminders to guarantee completion. 

    Best Practices for Text Recruiting 

    Ensure that the candidate has given their permission

    Unsolicited texts may seem invasive - which may cause unintentional conflict or lower their chances of responding. In application forms, include a section for candidates to indicate their preferred means of communication, be it via emails or text messaging. 

    Do not use your personal phone 

    If possible, get a company phone to manage text recruiting. With job postings attracting many applicants, it will be too much to manage on your personal phone, which will be constantly buzzing. Company phones also ensure that you do not give out your personal contact number to candidates - doing so will increase the chances of being contacted even after office hours, making it difficult to separate work from your personal life. 

    Identify yourself 

    When you reach out to a candidate, be sure to include your name and the company you’re recruiting for, together with the title of the role. This allows applicants to figure out who you are, instead of simply deleting the text thinking it’s a spam message. 

    Stay professional

    Do ensure that you maintain a formal to semi-formal tone when reaching out to candidates via text messages. This is dependent on the branding of your company, and while it is possible to maintain a friendly tone, it is still essential to convey professionalism. Abbreviations and shorthands should be avoided, especially in the first few text messages. 

    Pay attention to timing

    Take note that you should contact them within business hours, and never text outside of these hours except when it is initiated by the candidate. If you’re working with candidates across various time zones, you should also be aware of the timings to prevent instances of texting them when it’s 1am in the morning at their location.

    Reply promptly

    When you text a candidate, you expect them to reply as quickly as possible. The same goes for when a candidate reaches out to you. Ensure that you’re on track with replying messages and do not leave them hanging for a long time. After all, text messages are supposed to be efficient and should help in speeding up the job hiring process. 

    As you can’t be expected to reply to messages 24/7, automatic replies will also serve as a good substitute for when you’re unavailable. These include out of office texts, and when they can expect you to get back to them. 

    Summing Up

    Now that you’ve understood the importance of text recruiting and how it can elevate a candidate’s experience, incorporate it as a new feature in your next recruitment campaign. Be sure to keep in mind the best practices, and you’ll be one step closer to an optimized and more efficient recruitment process. 

    Looking for more ways to implement automation and artificial intelligence into your recruitment HR strategy? Schedule a call with us for personalized insights and recommendations to take your QSR to the next level!

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    Sng Kai Lin

    Kai Lin is a freelance writer and digital marketer well-versed in SEO. Apart from writing, she also seeks solace in traveling, photography and playing the piano.

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