A few years ago, I went to the SourceCon conference. During the event, one of the speakers asked the crowd how many people texted candidates and quite a few people raised their hand. More than I would have suspected at that time. Since then, I continue to hear more and more people talk about texting candidates. If you’re not texting candidates, you might be behind the curve in today’s competitive talent market.
Human Resource Executive published an article recently titled “Recruiting Gets Smarter with Targeted Texting”. It’s a good read about how talent acquisition professionals can use texting to target candidates. But as I was reading the article, I couldn’t help but think that HR and talent acquisition pros need to step back and think strategically about how they will use text messaging in the hiring process. Here are a few things to consider:
- Create guidelines that everyone on the recruiting team will use. For example, what types of messages are appropriate to send via text? When are acceptable times to text? Texting should be considered a form of company communication. Texting messages can enhance the organization’s employment brand and candidate experience if they’re done the right way.
- Let candidates opt-in. While many recruiters are using texting as a way to contact candidates, I still can’t help but think that texting is considered a very personal way to connect. And it still needs a level of permission. Ask candidates before cold-texting them. It can be perceived as a sign of respect.
- Identify yourself in messages. This should go without saying, but I’m amazed at the number of people who text me and I have no idea who they are. Because their phone number doesn’t identify who they are. So, err on the side of caution and identify yourself and your organization. That way a candidate doesn’t ignore you or write back a “Who the heck is this?” response.
- Be brief! Just because more people are open to texting, doesn’t mean messages should be longer. The beauty of text messaging is its brevity. Recruiters will want to learn how to send succinct messages. And if the message needs to be longer, maybe find a way to refer a candidate to a medium that’s better suited for longer messages. For example, “Can I send you an email with details?”
- Use acronyms, slang, and emojis sparingly. Speaking of brevity, texting does lend itself to acronyms, emojis, etc. But we have to remember that we’re representing a company (and the company’s brand). Think about how the slang we use in our personal lives would be interpreted by candidates. In some cases, a smiley face or an LOL could be perfectly acceptable. The poop emoji…well, maybe not.
- Let candidates opt-out. If we’re going to give candidates the ability to opt-in, then they should have the ability to opt-out. Maybe they’ve decided they don’t want to apply for an opening. Or that they no longer want to be considered. Organizations have to respect that and stop their communications.
Oh, and one more thing. Once the recruiting team has finalized their texting strategy, run your ideas by legal. I’m sure they would appreciate being looped in and they can make sure that nothing is left out.
I don’t have to tell anyone that the benefit of using texting in the recruiting process is people read their texts. Before they read emails. Or listen to voicemails (if people actually do that anymore…) If organizations want to reach candidates, text messaging is a very effective medium. But it has to be done properly. And in a respectful way. The company’s brand is on the line.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the Wynwood Wall Art District in Miami, FL