The Art of Texting Job Candidates

Kevin Ko Staffing, Tips & Tricks

Communication methods change frequently, and recruiters need to keep up or risk losing out on the best candidates. First, it was email instead of the phone, then it was social platforms instead of email. Now recruiters have another channel to work with: texting. The force behind this change, of course, is millennials.

Texting and millennials

As millennials continue to take over the workforce, they are changing the way people communicate in the corporate world. It’s not just true of millennials, however. In 2014, Gallup found texting was the dominant method of communication for most Americans under 50. Almost 70 percent of those between 18 to 29 sent or received text messages “a lot” the previous day. About half of Americans between 30 and 49 said the same. Both age groups reported texting more often than making phone calls or using email. It’s clear millennials and Gen X-ers text frequently, but are they open to interacting with recruiters this way?

Recruiters texting

The number of people willing to receive texts from recruiters dips slightly compared to the number of text-enthusiasts overall. Older job seekers may not be comfortable with it. Once again, millennials are more open. A survey from Software Advice revealed candidates under 45 are more likely to view texting as professional than not. The younger candidates are, the more open they are to texting with a recruiter. Nearly half of job seekers between 18 and 24 believed texting to be professional. At the moment, it’s important to consider your audience carefully when considering text messaging.

In the future, though, texting could be the norm of corporate communications. This would be great for recruiters. When you need to develop a relationship with a candidate, you should use the most intimate medium available to you, and that’s texting.

When to text
You might text your BFF after work hours, but you probably shouldn’t text a potential candidate before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Twenty-four percent of respondents to Software Advice’s survey indicated it was inappropriate for recruiters to text them during non-business hours.

Respondents were also open to texting to alert them of a job opening (17 percent), schedule an interview (12 percent) or confirm an interview time (21 percent). Scheduling an interview is an ideal time for texting because it often requires significant back and forth between recruiters and candidates. In this case, texting can be much faster than email and more comfortable for job seekers than the phone.

Given that many job seekers are still new to texting with recruiters, it’s always a good idea to ask them before reaching out this way. Send a preliminary email or InMail before texting.

“Ask candidates for permission before texting them.”

Technology
Another thing holding recruiters back from texting candidates is limitations in applicant tracking software. While you can send a mass email to a group of candidates, it’s time-consuming to text them individually. In the end, it’s far easier for most recruiters to send an email than deal with a list of phone numbers. To streamline this process, Jobscience provides a feature that allows recruiters to send SMS messages to candidates on your Shortlist. The feature allows you to send a formulated message to everyone on the list, saving time and putting you immediately in touch with the candidates.

Millennials recently surpassed Gen X-ers as the biggest generation in the workforce today, according to Pew Research. When members of Generation Z begin job seeking, texting will likely continue to be a popular communications medium in the corporate world. Even if recruiters don’t spend a lot of time texting now, companies need to think ahead and prepare for a time when this will be one of the primary ways to stay in touch with candidates. That means investing in the right applicant tracking tools to facilitate the process.