June 14, 2024

Why You Should Add Text Messages to Your Recruiting Mix

Emily Swartz

Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Bullhorn‍

You call, but it’s screened. You email, but it’s either snatched by the junk mail folder or lost among the unopened messages in the candidate’s inbox. You send a message on LinkedIn, but the candidate hardly ever checks the platform. What’s left? In reality, you’re down to snail mail, carrier pigeon, or text messaging.

“Texting? Isn’t that a bit invasive? Won’t that get on people’s nerves?”

This is a common thought for the modern-day recruiter. For many, texting is seen as far too personal and intrusive a form of communication for a recruiter to use to contact candidates.

But it’s time to rethink text messaging as a recruiting and staffing tool. The numbers are in, making a particularly compelling case for using texting in your recruitment communication mix.

The problem with traditional candidate communication

Calls and emails form the backbone of most firms’ candidate communication and engagement efforts. But there’s a problem.

Be it a generational difference or simply today’s ready access to alternate forms of communication, many candidates aren’t that fond of phone calls. They can be inconvenient or can result in back-and-forth voicemails and missed calls. 

Another inconvenient truth is that the majority of candidates will be sitting behind the desk of their current job when you call. Candidates may not be open and honest with  recruiters when their current managers are within earshot. Phone calls have their place. But sometimes there’s a better way.

Texting is the perfect medium to share logistical details with a candidate – confirming interview times, giving directions, and acknowledging the receipt of important documents, to name a few examples.

For the longest time, that better way was email. It gave candidates a level of convenience and discretion that calls simply lacked. But over the years, email has fallen prey to its own popularity.

Everyone wants to use email, so people get a lot of it. Between business emails and personal email accounts, you’ve got a veritable avalanche of dispatches cascading into a candidate’s inboxes every day. Once again, email has its place – mainly if it’s done well – but for certain types of communication, text messaging is a better option.

Benefits of using text messaging during the recruiting process

For those who have grown up with it – millennials and the generations that have followed – texting is the most popular form of communication, far above phone calls, emails, and even social media. In a recent survey of 2,000 workers of all types, 90% of talent wished they had more communication from firms throughout the placement process, and 14% cited text messaging as their preferred form of communication

Candidates are already on their phones more than their computers, with nearly half of candidates surveyed using their phones to apply for jobs and more than half citing the ability to apply from their phones as an essential offering when applying for jobs online.

So texting is a reliable form of communication for candidates,. But the actual value of texting is in its open rate. Imagine a world in which 82% of your outbound emails are read within three seconds. According to a study from Shift Communication, that’s exactly what texting offers.

This instant and all but guaranteed communication is perfect for candidates. Hourly and entry-level workers can be instantly asked whether they are available for work, and VIP candidates can be delivered the latest and greatest openings as soon as they crop up. It’s also perfect for current contractors – you can gather feedback and send reminders to nurses and other high-volume workers who are constantly short on time and non-desk workers who don’t have ready access to email.

Text etiquette

This isn’t to say that texting doesn’t have its limitations. Messages must be short and to the point, and overuse will make the medium ineffective. So to refine and polish your firm’s texting strategy, let’s take a look at a few of the dos and don’ts of candidate texting.

Gain permission: Generally, people don’t give out their mobile numbers as readily as their email. This is why texting is such a trusted medium – your phone number is for your real-life contacts, and your email address is for (almost) anyone else. Abuse that trust, and the effectiveness of texting starts to decline. You must gain a candidate’s permission to send texts – that way, you can be sure that candidates won’t ignore them.

Use it sparingly: Even after gaining a candidate’s permission, you should only send texts for certain types of communications. More personal messages like thanking a candidate for attending an interview or asking a contractor how they are finding their new position are also ideal for texts, provided they aren’t constant.

Be mindful of content: Succinct professionalism should be top of mind when crafting a text message. You want it to be to the point and written in a friendly, courteous, and respectful way. Read and reread your message before you hit send to avoid an “autocorrect” gaffe. And there are certain things you never text – job offers and rejections, for example.

Take a systematic approach: Continually engaging your candidates through text necessitates a systematic approach. You need to identify exactly which types of communication you will send and how often you’ll send them. You also need the ability to measure and analyze the performance of this outreach. Every candidate is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to what, when, and how often texts are sent. You need trial and error to find the right formula for your candidate base.

Ready to get started? Bullhorn Messaging enables recruiters to communicate faster and build stronger relationships with leads, candidates, and customers by reaching them where they are – on their mobile phones. Learn more about Bullhorn Messaging, and reach out to us today for a demo.