Text Message Recruiting: A Why and How Guide

By Elana Goodwin on July 15, 2017

Text messaging is becoming an increasingly important tool when it comes to successful recruiting practices. In fact, text message recruiting is yielding positive results for over 90 percent of the businesses that try it — which means that if you are not using it already, you should be.

Here is why you need to be utilizing text message recruiting and how to go about doing so.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

Efficiency. Compared to the response rate of emails, which is usually around 23 percent, text messages have a 98 percent open rate and more than half of all responses produced come in 15 minutes or less. As opposed to email, a response to a text will be sent that much sooner than an email, especially since the text alert on a phone is pervasive and instantaneous. To that, 90 percent of recruiters who have reported using texts say that using text messaging has impressively helped in speeding up their recruiting practices.

2016 statistic actually found that the average response time for a text is only a minute and a half — so it makes sense to put some effort into text message recruiting. Since many of your recruiting will be aimed at Millennials and Gen Y, using text messages is a way to ensure two-way communication quickly. Roughly 80 percent of smartphone users have their device with them 22 hours a day, and people are quick to open their texts and do so reliably — and this definitely holds true for Millennials and Gen Y.

Keep it simple. Remember, with a text message you only get 160 characters to say what you need to say. More than 160 characters will result in your text being split into two separate texts and that can affect the effectiveness of your recruiting. You will obviously want to start with a short intro of who you are since you will show up as an unknown number in their phone but keep it brief as you don’t want to spend all of your 160 characters on yourself.

Once you’ve quickly established who you are, tell them why you’re contacting them and make them feel good, saying something like “I have a great opportunity for you based on your past experiences” which will also show them that you know a bit about them and their qualifications. Also, make it simple for them to respond to your initial outreach with either a “yes” or “no” reply as far as whether they’re interested in learning more about the position.

Remember etiquette. Even though text messaging may seem more casual and personal, you still need to be professional when you are engaging in text message recruiting. That means texting potential candidates during normal business hours as 24 percent of candidates think it is unprofessional to text them outside of those standard hours. The best time to send a text is probably either between 8 and 10 a.m. or 12 and 2 p.m. to maximize replies and to be professional and appropriate.

Additionally, while it may be tempting to use abbreviations to really maximize your 160 characters, refrain from doing so as it’s unprofessional and may turn off a candidate from the onset. Instead, keep your first text short so you can get all the information you need to in without exceeding the character limit and invite the candidate to engage with you further.

Similar to how you would use an email to recruit a candidate, a text message can be used the same way. You will want to personalize the text with the recipient’s name so it does not seem so generic as if you are sending it to multiple candidates at once. Also, once initial contact has been made, make sure to offer to change your method of communication to something else if it will be more convenient for the candidate. Just because your text message recruiting was successful in connecting you with the candidate doesn’t mean it will be the best way for the two of you to contact each other going forward.

Think of your audience. If the job you’re recruiting for is more advanced and the candidates you’re looking to connect with are older, you may want to lay off the texting. Most candidates over 45 think text message recruiting is too aggressive and less professional so keep that in mind when you are recruiting.

Also, if you are going to include an application or website link through text messaging, you will want to be sure that the site is optimized for phones so the candidate will be able to easily navigate and engage with the website from their mobile device.

Using text message recruiting can really benefit your recruiting efforts and be a worthwhile and successful endeavor if you go about it the right way. Use these tips to help guide you as you consider text message recruiting and begin practicing that recruitment method for the best results!

By Elana Goodwin

Uloop Writer
Ohio State
I am currently serving as the Director/Managing Editor for Uloop News. I've been part of the Uloop family since 2013 and in my current role, I recruit writers, edit articles, manage interns, and lead our National Team, among other duties. When I'm not writing or editing, I love being outside, reading, and photography! I have a Bachelor's degree in English with a double-minor in Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice from The Ohio State University. If you have questions or just want to chat, don't hesitate to reach out! Email me at elana@uloop.com.

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