10 best practices to use text messaging for recruiting top talent in 2021.
Texting is an essential tool for recruiters, enabling faster, more efficient communication that helps the recruitment process go quickly and smoothly. It takes the right approach to get the best results, however. These best practices will help you build an SMS recruitment strategy that attracts top talent in 2021.
Don’t use your personal phone
The average online job posting attracts more than 100 applications. While not all need a text conversation, this is still far too many to manage through your personal phone. You need tools to manage incoming texts, categorize contacts and schedule messages to stay on top of all these conversations.
A business texting app can enable you to automate texts to candidates, send and request further information, and build a detailed SMS mailing list of candidates for each position. A texting app makes all of these best practices much easier to follow.
Stick to the rules
It pays to abide by text messaging laws, which control when and how a business can text people. These apply when communicating with potential employees as well as customers. What does this mean for recruiters?
Ask permission to text a candidate. While most businesses will request a mobile number during the application process, if you didn’t ask candidates to opt into SMS messages you cannot contact them this way.
Make it easy for candidates to end your SMS messaging, usually by texting a keyword like STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE.
These rules also restrict when you can text. The times differ from region to region, but typically cover normal working hours such as 8am to 8pm.
Additionally, most regions require you to say who you are when sending business texts. The content and format of this information can differ from region to region. Providing your name, business and contact number make life easier for candidates, even where you don’t have to.
You’re probably not the only recruiter a candidate has contacted. If you don’t identify yourself at the beginning of your text conversation, potential employees might not tell which job you are texting them about. Applicants who are keen to work for your company could have applied to multiple roles within the business, so including your text’s job title is also a good idea.
Stay on point
There is nothing wrong with being friendly when texting candidates, but avoid small talk and off-topic conversation. Potential employees waiting to hear back about a job are waiting to hear if they have been successful or what the next steps are and prefer that you get straight to the point.
Besides not wasting candidates’ time, adding irrelevant information to a text makes it harder to absorb the key details at a glance. Keeping messages short and focused ensures applicants can take the information on board as soon as they open the text and easily check back on it later.
There is nothing wrong with taking a friendly tone when texting candidates, but avoid informal slang, acronyms and emoji. The same goes for texting in all capitals or using excessive punctuation. These could give the wrong impression, making potential employees feel they are not being treated professionally.
Similarly, stick to well-known text abbreviations that everyone understands. Throwing around terms and buzzwords that aren’t necessarily common outside of your business can put off otherwise talented candidates who are not familiar with them.
Make it personal
Texting can feel a little impersonal if you don’t make an effort, but it doesn’t take much to make your messages feel more specific. Personalized messages are one of the most important recruitment strategies. Creating custom fields in your SMS mailing list to record applicants’ professional experience makes it easy to add relevant, personalized details to your messages using mail-merge tags.
It is essential to show that you have considered each candidate individually, taking their skills and experience into account. You can do this by personalizing the SMS templates you send to potential employees. Including relevant qualifications and past roles in your text shows you are interested in the unique talents they can bring to your business.
Keep them in the loop
Keeping candidates waiting can communicate disinterest in their application and result in the best potential employees accepting positions elsewhere. Providing regular updates via text lets candidates know they are still being considered for the job and can help retain their interest in the position during a lengthy recruitment process.
Text messaging can also make your scheduling more reliable, which is vital to successful recruiting. Your automated SMS updates should include interview reminders as well as progress updates. These can reduce wasted time due to lateness and no-shows and can also remind candidates of anything else they need for the interview. Ensuring applicants have directions to your business or your Zoom meeting ID also helps the interview start on schedule.
Tell them no
Keeping candidates informed should also extend to letting applicants know when their application is rejected. This is partly just good manners as waiting indefinitely to hear back from recruiters can be frustrating, but it also benefits recruiters. Showing courtesy to unsuccessful candidates leaves them with a more positive impression of your business. As a result, they will be more likely to consider other positions in your company or to recommend you to other potential employees in their social network.
Responding quickly to queries and messages keeps the recruitment process moving forward and ensures candidates aren’t left waiting for important replies. It also makes a better impression on potential employees, with the majority of job seekers saying they trust companies more when they respond quickly.
You can’t be available to reply to their texts 24/7, but automatic text replies can fill the gap. Create keywords to automate simple requests such as checking the current status of an application and set up out-of-hours texts, so candidates know when to expect a reply when they get in touch.
SMS screening tips
Sending polls and questionnaires to candidates can be a great way to efficiently collect basic information about potential employees and learn more about their skills and experience. These enable recruiters to learn more than they can from just a resume, screen out unsuitable candidates without spending time on a call, and provide useful information to discuss further in interviews with screened candidates. Some recruiters are even conducting full interviews via text.
These best practices make SMS recruitment easier to manage by enabling the automation of simple interactions. They also provide a better experience to potential employees by keeping candidates in the loop with quick replies and regular updates.
A strong approach to recruitment texting sets the right first impression giving candidates a streamlined and helpful initial experience of your business.