You probably text every day, but have you ever sent text messages to a job candidate? Get ready, because you will.
Texting isn’t new, but it is new for recruiting technology. It’s how the up-and-coming generations prefer to communicate, especially with unsolicited messages or with people who aren’t close friends. If a call comes in from a strange number, post-Millennials are more likely to look at the screen and hit “decline” than they are to take the call.
It’s not that they don’t want to hear from you. It’s not that they aren’t interested in a new job. It’s just that casual communication is evolving once again. If you want a new recruiting strategy that connects with the youngest job candidates, here’s what all the cool kids are doing.
Generation Z Isn’t the Only One That Hates Phone Calls
Beginning with the advent of texting when Generation X was settling into adulthood, this technology was probably embraced because it was new and different. Texting was a chore, though. It was also expensive with character and message limits, which are now largely a think of the past. GenX was the first widespread texting generation. Then when Millennials hit their pre-teen years, it was everywhere.
Post-Millennials were the first generation to nearly always have text messaging. Qwerty keyboards made it easier, telecom companies began including texting in their standard plans and widespread adoption had arrived.
Now, texting is as common as picking up the phone. And the younger the person, the more likely they’ll be to prefer text over voice.
According to the 2016 Kleiner-Perkins-Caufield-Byers Internet Trends report, just under 30 percent of GenX prefers phone calls for business communication. Their Baby Boomer and Silent Generation parents must be appalled.
Here are two more stats from Pew Research Center to think about:
- 43 percent of all adults use a smartphone for a job search
- 18 percent have submitted a job application using their phone
The tolerance of phone calls shrinks in younger generations. With Millennials, only 12 percent prefer to take a call. The numbers are even lower for post-Millennials or GenZ. The reasoning is the same no matter who prefers texts. Phone calls equal pressure. They’re interruptions that require an immediate response. With texts, you can get the message anytime and reply when (or if) you want to. The interesting thing is that text responses tend to happen faster.
Texting Works Best at the Top of the Recruiting Funnel
Used effectively, texts make great early-screening devices that help drive more people into the top of the recruiting funnel. Recruiter.com says texts are conversation starters. If you want a response to an email, the best place to start is with a text.
Send a candidate screening questions that they can respond to at their convenience. If you like what you learn, you can follow up with the next step, which might be an email or a phone call. If you don’t, there’s no commitment and no great time investment.
The same applies from the candidate’s point of view. While you’re screening them, they’re probably screening you.
What might surprise you is response time. According to ABC News, the average response time for an email is about two minutes. But that doesn’t reveal the big picture. Response time on unsolicited emails can take much longer. With texting, however, the response time goes down. Way down.
Here are some impressive stats:
- 98 percent of texts are read. — Mobile Marketing Watch
- 90 percent of texts are read within three minutes. — ConnectMogul
- Texts have an average 45 percent response rate compared to email, which is closer to 6 percent. — Velocify
- Average text response time is about 90 seconds. — ConnectMogul
- Fewer than half of smartphone users use the device to make calls; 70 percent use it for texting. — ConnectMogul
If you just can’t embrace texting as a replacement for phone calls, never fear. Texts aren’t supposed to replace all verbal communication.
You Can Learn a Lot from a Text
Texting for recruiters doesn’t have to be tedious or boring. It doesn’t even have to look like a typical conversation.
If you use SMS software, you can automate a lot of what you do through your computer at work. It’s not much different from sending an email. These are just a few things that you can do with it.
- Send and receive texts without picking up your phone
- Send group messages
- Mail merge
- Store and file messages the same way you use your email inbox
- Keep track of contacts
- Schedule texts for different delivery times
- Program automated responses based on the recipient’s replies
- Personalize everything you to and grow your recruiter brand
- Try out new recruitment strategies and turn the ones that work into templates
Using SMS software, you can develop templates for questionnaires and mini-interviews and that’s just with standard software. If you dig into custom SMS software for recruiters, you’ll find more relevant features, such as automated reply suggestions and prompts.
Texting has changed a lot since the clumsy, data-conserving “How R U?” messages. Now, they’re just another everyday way that people communicate. More and more businesses use texting for candidate conversion in sales. And what is recruiting if not one more type of selling?
Get people into the funnel with text. From there, you can branch out in whatever way resonates most with you and all of those great candidates you find.