We like to text. A lot. For Americans under the age of 50, texting is the dominant form of nonpersonal communication, with more than 6 billion texts sent a day (that’s 45 percent of the world’s texts!). Recruiters are no exception and why would they be? Compared to emailing candidates, text messaging yields better read rates, open rates, response times, and (as a product of better communication) a better experience for candidates.
Timely and professional communication is crucial when creating an awesome candidate experience, because to many candidates, it is a reflection of what it would be like to work in your organization. With the workforce and the nature of our work changing almost daily, we must communicate with candidates the way they themselves communicate: in a way that’s timely, professional, and personable.
Here are four things you need to know about text messaging candidates.
Tip #1: Don’t Forget the Phone Call
While some of my millennial friends might disagree, text messaging is supplemental to—not a replacement for—a good old-fashioned phone call. “Don’t let text messaging replace the connection you can make with a candidate over the phone,” says Vanessa Brulotte, Talent Acquisition Partner at BambooHR. “Not only does your authenticity not always come through via text, but it’s also so much harder to gauge how authentic their interest is in you.”
Tip #2: Don’t Get Too Casual
It’s easy to get a little more casual when using text messages to communicate with candidates. It’s imperative that you maintain the same level of professionalism with texts as you would in an email, in tone, grammar, and spelling. According to Morgan Lyman, Talent Acquisition Partner at BambooHR, “Text messages can easily be misinterpreted, and while I wouldn’t necessarily knock a candidate for replying in a casual manner, it can definitely make the wrong kind of impression on a candidate when recruiters act anything less than professional when using text.”
Tip #3: Don’t Assume Everybody Texts
You know what they say about making assumptions (i.e., don’t do it). While it might be easy to assume everybody sends text messages, according to the Pew Research Center, 27 percent of adult cell phone users don’t text. Simply asking candidates upfront about their preferred communication methods can go a long way towards ensuring you give them the candidate experience they prefer (not to mention it can help avoid inadvertent discrimination).
Tip #4: Set the Right Expectations
Letting candidates know what channels you may use to communicate will help them know what to expect, which is important to creating a great candidate experience. For example, since scheduling interviews is one of the things that delays a hiring process the most, letting candidates know you might text in addition to emailing interview times can drastically reduce the time it takes to schedule. A text message is also one of the best ways to let candidates know when something comes up last minute.
So, remember, when it comes to text messaging candidates, don’t get too casual, don’t assume everybody texts, set the right expectations upfront, and don’t let text messages replace the connection you make with someone over the phone or in person.
And if you’re a BambooHR customer, you can increase your communication effectiveness even further with our brand-new ATS mobile app, BambooHR Hiring. Not only can you review candidate resumes and answers to application questions the instant they’re received, but you can also communicate internally with other hiring team members and directly with candidates via phone, email, and of course, text message. BambooHR is available now for iOS and Android mobile devices.