Recruitment Texting: How To Ride The New Wave

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up and get out of bed every day?

Look at your phone, right?

How many notifications or text messages do you wake up to in the morning?

It’s safe to say that, every morning, most people are rolling over and checking their phones even before they brush their teeth. In fact, 61% of people look at their phones within 5 minutes of waking up, and almost everyone does within an hour. When you toss in the fact that over 90% of all text messages are opened and responded to within 90 seconds, doesn’t that sound like a map to a recruiting goldmine?

What does that mean for you as a recruiter?

Simply put, your phone, the thing that is normally glued to your hand, is the most modern and effective way to communicate with candidates in real time. Texting an applicant provides the 3 E’s — ease, efficiency, and engagement. Texting is a fast and easy way to talk with talent. It allows your outreach efforts to be more efficient than the standard InMail, and because text messages are 7.5x more likely to get responses, it encourages quicker engagement from the recipient (AKA, your next placement).

Normal texting and recrui tment texting may seem like they’re the same, but they are worlds apart in actual practice. With that in mind, there are always dos and don’ts for when you’re texting talent.

Golden Rule: Ask Permission

Just because you have an applicant’s number doesn’t mean you can just use it. Unless they’ve agreed to be contacted via text message, you’ll want to ensure that this method is both preferred and welcomed. Although texting can be a great way to reach a candidate, this shouldn’t be the first point of contact; depending on your applicant, this could be seen as intrusive and unprofessional. It’s best to always err on the side of caution, so try an email or phone call first to build your relationship.

Be Catchy but not Corny

Your first step for incorporating texting in your strategy is crafting a catchy, informative message. Your message should include your name (just in case you come up as the dreaded “Unknown”), a quick line about why you’re reaching out (whether you’re confirming an interview or reaching out about a new position), and a call to action for a follow up at the end. Avoid long messages: anything longer than 200 characters loses value and urgency and it could make you seem aggressive. Being straightforward and to the point–but not sounding like a robot or automatic system–is a balance you’ll need to figure out.

Use Your Professional Words

A text is typically a short-handed message filled with slang and acronyms, but as a recruiter, your messages to talent should never be shortened. While sending emojis, GIFs, and abbreviated words are normal when texting friends and family, leave those habits behind when incorporating texting in your recruiting strategy. Just like an email, your message should always ring with a tone of professionalism and acumen that reassures talent of your very real opportunity for them. Double-checking spelling and grammar, ensuring you’re using simple but engaging language, and following your company’s cell phone communication policy are still absolute musts! Having a base template enables you to move quickly while customizing your message for each candidate and can safeguard you from any professional faux pas that may happen.

As candidate experiences remain the focus in recruiting, it’s safe to say that texting, despite being around 25+ years, is still in its infancy in the recruiting world. Doing it right, using it for legitimate and professional reasons, and ensuring that you’re making the most out of this resource is going to be the determining factor should, one day, recruitment texting replace emailing. Just like apples in a barrel, a couple of bad experiences can ruin it for all and make it hard for texting to become the main point of communication in the future.

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