Smartphones have become a common fixture in our daily lives, as an estimated 78 percent of adults in the U.S. own one, according to a recent survey from PR agency Walker Sands. What’s more, the average person checks their phone nearly 3,000 times a day, which is roughly twice every minute. That kind of persistent monitoring highlights why texting can be a valuable and effective method for sourcing candidates.
Nearly 100 percent of the texts sent to candidates are opened within three minutes. Which is impressive—considering that email only has an open rate of 20 percent, according to SMS marketing firm Txtsignal. However, simply reading a text isn’t enough, as you need a candidate to respond to it as well. Fortunately, an average of 45 percent of candidates will respond, which is over five times the response rate for email, according to mobile messaging solutions provider SMSGlobal.
Even though the statistics are in its favor, texting is not always guaranteed to work. You still need to understand the common mistakes that can make text messages ineffective and best practices in using them to ensure that your text messages are successful in sourcing candidates.
Despite your familiarity with texting, there are still some common mistakes that you should be aware of, if you plan on texting candidates. These mistakes include the following:
Making initial contact with a candidate through a text: If you text a candidate without any other previous communication, they would most likely be curious as to how you got their number. Despite your intentions, that unsolicited text could negatively impact your and your employer’s reputation. Instead, you should only text candidates that you have communicated with previously and who have given you permission to text them.
Including links to candidate’s personal information: Text messages are not encrypted or protected, which means cybercriminals can access any information that you send. For that reason, you should avoid sending any links that include a candidate’s personal information. Instead, share that information through email, which can be encrypted and protected.
Spamming candidates: Bulk messages are impersonal and often ineffective. This can make it difficult to connect with a candidate later, as they may assume that all text messages from you are spam and choose to ignore them.
Texting after office hours: Contacting a candidate outside of office hours can lead them to make a few negative assumptions about you and your organization, including that they would be expected to work overtime and that you do not respect their personal time.
Using abbreviations and emojis: Even though text messages are often more informal than other types of communication, you should avoid using abbreviations (such as using “r” instead of “are” or “u” instead of “you”) and emojis, as it would be unprofessional and could negatively color the candidate’s opinion. That’s not to suggest that you cannot have a conversational tone in your text messages. You can. But, you still need to use professional language when you do so.
Sending a text message without spell-checking it: On average, a person will compose and send a text within 90 seconds, according to wireless communications trade association CTIA. That does not leave you much time to proofread your text message for grammatical and spelling errors. However, those types of errors could lead to a candidate losing interest in the opportunity. Instead, take a moment to read through your text message to ensure that there are no errors.
Before you begin texting candidates, review the following best practices:
Get a candidate’s permission to text them: During your first interaction with a candidate—whether it’s through email or over the phone—ask them about their preferred communication methods and if they would be okay with receiving updates by text.
Be professional in your text messages: Even though texts are less formal than email, you nevertheless need to be professional in your tone and messaging. This includes avoiding the use of abbreviations and emojis, limiting the number of text messages that you send, and reaching out only during business hours. In general, the most effective time to send a candidate a text message is between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Personalize your text messages: Just like with emails, your text messages to candidates should be written specifically for them. The simplest way to do this is by using their name.
Keep your text messages brief: Your text messages should be short, concise and focus only on the pertinent details. In general, this means that your text messages should be no more than three sentences.
Limit the number of text messages that you send to a candidate: The only time that you should text a candidate is when you need to send them an update about the hiring process or if you need a response from them. Any text messages outside of that would be unnecessary and could be considered spam.
Use text message templates: Most likely, you’ll be sending different candidates many of the same kinds of text messages. To save yourself time, create text message templates. Before you use your text message templates, proofread them to ensure that there are no grammatical or spelling errors.
Most likely, you've already sent at least one text message today and probably received just as many. In fact, the average adult spends 23 hours a week texting, making it the most common smartphone activity, according to USA Today. Even though you’re already familiar with texting, review the following templates to potentially streamline the process:
Initial text message with a candidate:
Hello, [CANDIDATE’S FIRST NAME]. This is [YOUR FIRST AND LAST NAME], we talked earlier about [POSITION TITLE]. If you would like to learn more, you can text me back at this number or call.
Schedule an interview with a candidate:
[CANDIDATE’S FIRST NAME], what is your availability on [MONTH/DAY] for an in-person interview?
Confirm an interview with a candidate:
[CANDIDATE’S FIRST NAME], I just wanted to confirm your interview on [MONTH/DAY] at our office with [NAME OF INTERVIEWER(S)].
Reschedule an interview with a candidate:
[CANDIDATE’S FIRST NAME], due to [REASON FOR RESCHEDULING], we have to reschedule the interview. Are you available on [MONTH/DAY AT TIME] instead? Let me know if that doesn’t work for you. I apologize for any inconvenience.
Day before the interview with a candidate:
[CANDIDATE’S FIRST NAME], here is a link to how you can get to our office for your interview tomorrow. Let me know if you have any questions and I look forward to meeting with you. [MAP URL]
Follow-up with a candidate after an interview:
[CANDIDATE’S FIRST NAME], thank you for coming in today. It was great to meet you. You should receive a follow-up email by [DAY OF THE WEEK]. If you have any questions, let me know.
Update for a candidate:
[CANDIDATE’S FIRST NAME], I just sent the [TYPE OF PAPERWORK] to your email. Please take a look, complete it and send it back. Let me know if you have any questions.
Designed to automate your recruiting process and dramatically reduce your time-to-hire, your applicant tracking system (ATS) should help facilitate quick and efficient communication between you and candidates. While most applicant tracking systems support email, less than 10 percent of candidates are likely to respond to any message you may send, according to software company Text Marketer. What’s more, given the option, the average person is twice as likely to communicate through a text message rather than a phone call. For that reason, your ATS needs to include a SMS messaging integration to ensure that you are able to have a conversation with candidates and begin building a rapport with them.
While all SMS messaging integrations will allow you to text candidates directly from your ATS, some provide other beneficial functions. When considering which SMS messaging integration works best with your recruiting process, make sure it has at least some of the following features:
Supports two-way communication with multiple candidates
Enables you to create custom text message templates
Notifies you of text messages from candidates, even if you are not in the ATS
However, some applicant tracking systems have SMS messaging already built into them, like CATS.
Smartphones have quickly become a common and invaluable tool for recruiters. With open rates at nearly 100 percent, text messages are a beneficial method to build rapport and source candidates. By following a few basic texting guidelines, you can enhance your recruiting process with quick and efficient communication.