Five Ways to Leverage SMS for Effective Recruitment Processes

by Alexa Lemzy | Last updated 25th July 2016

Recruitment Processes

Texting is an incredible resource for recruiters. There are lots of reasons why texting is recruiters’ best option for reaching prospective candidates.

First of all, it’s discreet. Considering that approximately half of all people seeking a new job are currently employed, that’s an essential quality when reaching out to a candidate. Before texting, recruiters would call candidates to offer interviews. That’s obviously a hindrance when the candidate is already working for another company and can’t talk to a recruiter during business hours. But a candidate could easily respond to a text without harming their standing at their current job.

Texting also wins out against email. Emails have very low open rates compared to texting, which has almost a 100 per cent open rate.

At Cataphract, an HR and Recruiting Service, texting was introduced for time-sensitive issues such as processing criminal record checks in order to ensure the candidates were cleared for their new jobs. Texting has streamlined their application process and enabled qualified candidates to fill positions in a timely manner.

Here are some guidelines to help you get the most out of texting as a part of your company’s recruitment process:

1. Grow your candidate database

The first thing you’ll need is to create a database of candidates. Just as with any other type of business SMS, your candidates will need to opt in to your texting campaign in order to receive messages. Publicize your recruitment agency or business by running ads across your other marketing media such as social media, website, emails, billboards, fliers and television and radio ads.

Putting ads up on college campuses and at recruitment events is also a great way to gain new opt-ins. Let people know that they can use texting to have access to job postings with your company. Give them clear instructions on how to opt in. And, of course, once they’ve opted in, it’s important to offer them clear instructions on how to opt out in order to avoid coming across as spam.

Also, make sure that you offer candidates an easy way to access job postings. One of the best ways to do this is to create an auto-responder that allows them access to a short code for job information. Once they’ve texted the short code, they’ll receive a link to the listing.

2. Create groups

Your company may have many different types of positions to fill: from accounting to IT to marketing and so on. Keep segmented lists of candidates, so you can send targeted messages to the right people as new job opportunities come up.

You may think that, by sending a text to the entire list, you have a better chance of filling a position because candidates on the list will share the job opening with people they know who are qualified, generating interest through word-of-mouth. However, that’s not a good practice. Sending targeted posts ensures that you’re spending your texting budget wisely and also decreases opt-outs (I mean, really, who wants to receive constant messages for jobs they’re not interested in or qualified for?).

A better way to spread the word about positions is to send texts to your targeted candidates and ask them to share with others. That way, they can choose to share rather than be bombarded with texts on positions that aren’t relevant to them. Also, it’s best if you let them know how many messages they can expect from you each month.

3. Be professional

Many professionals make the mistake of thinking that texting is a casual form of communication and, therefore, they can communicate more informally. It’s important to always represent your company in a professional manner. Sending messages that contain slang, emoticons, exclamation points and abbreviations may turn off the right candidates and attract the wrong ones.

Also, keep in mind that texting should obey the same rules as phone calls. A text message draws attention to itself and is usually more difficult to ignore than an email. Therefore, be considerate and send texts during business hours (8 a.m. to 6p.m.). Sending text messages outside these hours may be seen as intrusive and may make the candidate feel that you don’t respect their privacy and their personal time.

4. Nurture candidates with texts

Even if you don’t have the right job opportunity for the candidate at the moment, maintain contact by sending relevant links about your company, recruitment events your company is participating in and company blog post links about the area the candidate specializes in.

When you keep in touch by sharing helpful and relevant information, you’re likely to increase your company’s standing with the candidate. When a position that’s right for them comes up, you’ll have a better chance of filling it quickly with the candidates you’ve nurtured through texting.

Man reading SMS

5. Use texting to complement other communication methods

Though texting is a great way to reach out to a potential candidate and maintain contact, once the candidate has responded and the process of scheduling an interview has begun, it’s time to use other forms of contact. Best practice with recruiting texting is to follow up a candidate’s positive response to an interview offer with a phone call.

Also, you’ll want to give them more information about the position and the company, and SMS, with its limited character allotment (160 characters), just isn’t the best way to do that. Better to drop them an email providing all the details they’ll need.

A post-interview text thanking them for attending is appropriate: “Ms. Johnson – It was a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to attend the interview. I will be in touch shortly with our decision. Best Regards, Ms. Smith”.

Follow these texting guidelines and you’ll be sure to bring in the right candidates!

Alexa Lemzytwitter

Customer support person. Interested in customer success, growth, marketing and technology. Passionate about content, reading and travel.