Mobile recruiting can easily feel like the new popular flavor of the same old drink. Can it be all that different from the other recruiting strategies that were proclaimed “game changers” over the last few years?

“Texting candidates is the new emailing!”

But emailing was the new calling, which was probably heralded in some not-too-distant past for replacing another “outdated” form of contacting candidates. Here’s the thing though, text messages really can change the way you communicate with your candidates.

For Americans under the age of 50, texting is the top form of non-personal communication, according to Gallup. It may not hit every candidate age group and demographic equally, but there’s still a great incentive to incorporate a planned, efficient text messaging strategy into your existing recruiting process. If you’re already texting your candidates, that’s great! Use this article as a guide to improve your existing practices.

Text messaging is how the future communicates

Nine-in-ten Americans currently own a cellphone and two-thirds of American adults also own a smartphone. These device owners check their phones 45 times a day, spending roughly five hours a day looking, listening and paying attention to their smartphones. When it comes down to the actual communication with these devices, most Americans prefer texting to other forms, such as voice calls. In fact, the average American spends roughly 30 minutes texting each day and only six minutes on phone calls.

The quick power of a simple text message can’t be ignored. Many recruiters have already adopted texting as their primary form of communication in their recruiting. In fact, 90% of surveyed recruiters admit that text messaging helps to speed up recruiter-to-candidate communication.

But speed isn’t valuable if it’s not effective (or is in some other way harmful to the business). You might be concerned that texting could be deemed unprofessional by those who receive your brief texts, but most candidates wouldn’t substantiate that fear.

According to one survey by Software Advice:
1. 43 percent of job seekers viewed recruiters who text as “professional”
2. 32 percent viewed texting as unprofessional

Those candidates who didn’t approve of texting were 45 or older. So a pretty obvious age distinction can be seen in candidate opinions to text messages. Comfort levels and preferences can and do vary greatly for generations in the workforce and how they like to communicate. For you, it’s incredibly important to see your texting as a specific language as much as it is a tool. Many candidates won’t speak it fluently, just like you probably won’t speak it as fluently as others.

Americans between the ages of 18 to 24 send or receive roughly 109.5 texts a day, and in comparison, Americans aged 45 to 54 only send 14. Those numbers give you a sense of the importance that can be placed on a text and how “personal” they will appear to the receiver.

Your introductory text with some basic job details can be one of 110 texts that someone receives in a day, or one of just 14.

Should you incorporate text messaging into a strategy that already works?

Strategically, yes. For instance, older candidates—especially those over 45 years of age—would most likely respond more positively to a phone call instead of a text message. But with younger candidates, the opposite is true. Additionally, when it comes to initial outreach, 67% of candidates—both young and old—prefer to be contacted via email first.

When it comes to texting, most candidates prefer to receive a text in order to schedule and confirm an interview.

Candidates also prefer to receive texts during the day (especially during the morning) and 24% of candidates dislike receiving texts outside of business hours. Since most candidates are already employed while searching for a new job, many simply can’t take a personal call while working, which makes a simple text or email much easier to respond to during the workday.

Don’t barrage candidates with texts either. Most candidates note that a recruiter should send no more than two texts in a row. If the candidate doesn’t respond, then try another means of communication.

Texting is a great recruiting tool when it’s used for contacting certain candidates for very specific reasons—in other words, it works well for:
1. following-up
2. setting up interviews
3. serving as a backup resource when other forms of communication have failed

Use these text messaging best practices

Sending a text should be an exercise in brevity. Regarding timing and frequency, aim to only send one or two texts at a time—possibly texting only once or twice during an entire day. This will increase the likelihood of the candidate opening and responding to the text. Aim to text a candidate during the workday and specifically during the morning. You should avoid texting a candidate after 5 p.m. if it’s possible.

If you’re unsure if the candidate will respond to the text—say, for instance, you have the candidate’s number, but you’re not clear if it’s a mobile or office LAN number—then don’t send a text. Email the candidate first,and then send a text if it’s welcome.

Though texting is often perceived as a casual form of communication, be careful to not lapse into “jargon-speak” when talking with a candidate. All text messages, while remaining short, should be written in a clear, professional tone. For instance, when sending a text, avoid:
1. excessive abbreviations
2. emojis
3. informal lingo

Much of your formatting and language should be determined by your familiarity with the candidate. Do they know who you are already? Can they trust that you’re not some spam bot or something worse?

Try our recruiting templates for sending text messages

When contacting unfamiliar candidates for a position:

Hello____ [Candidate’s first name], my name is ____ [Your full name] and I’m a recruiter with ____ [Firm name] I found your profile on ____ [LinkedIn? Monster? Name your source] and think you may be a great fit for a role I’m looking to fill. Are you interested in the ____ [Position] with ____ [Company name]?

Thank you,
____ [Your name]

When contacting familiar candidates for a position:

Hello ____ [Candidate’s first name], I have an open position that might make for a great fit for you. Are you interested in the ____ [Position] with ____ [Company name]?

Thank you,
____ [Your name] with ____ [Your firm name]

NOTE: Greater familiarity allows greater permission and an easier way with shorthand communications. Texts may be fast and frequent for people, but remember that they are still a very “close” form of communication. If you’re sending a message early in your relationship, make sure you’re clear and upfront with who you are and why an unknown number just appeared in your candididate’s phone.

When following-up with a candidate:

Hello ____ [Candidate’s first name], just wanted to confirm your interview at ____ [Date and time] at ____ [Location of interview].

____ [Insert Google Map link]

Please double check the directions in the link above with the address provided above and take a look at the directions to give yourself enough time to arrive on time for the interview.

Good luck!
____ [Your name]

Thank you,
____ [Your name]

NOTE: When providing directions, include in your text a link to a Google Map with a pin dropped on the location of their interview in addition to the address of the location included in the body of the text. A Google pin is a simple way of providing directions, and your candidate’s smart phone will automatically know to open it in the appropriate app. Just let the candidate know to double check both addresses (the one in the text body and the one in the Google Map) to ensure accuracy. Here’s a quick tutorial on sharing Google Maps if you’ve never done it before.

Circling back with the candidates:

Thank you ____ [Candidate’s first name] for speaking with us today. If you have any feedback, please check this resource ____ [URL of your survey if you have one].

NOTE: Also, don’t be afraid to answer quick candidate questions via text by saying something like, “Yes, ____ [Candidate’s first name], the position is on-site and full-time.”

Always be clear when text messaging clients

While texting is a top communication resource, it won’t completely replace your other tried and trusted resources. Your phone calls are still more personal. For instance, if the candidate does (or doesn’t) receive the job, a text probably isn’t the best way to tell your candidate. A call or an email can still convey this information in a better way that can also allow you to articulate that the fit wasn’t right, but that the candidate will still be kept on file for future positions that might be better for them. Long-winded texts can be easily misconstrued or frustrating. If your message is too long, that’s probably a good sign it should go in an email or call.

Good luck incorporating these recruiting templates into your own recruiting strategy. New forms of communication can be stressful at times, but don’t worry too much. Texting is simply another tool that will help you do what you do best.