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Why texting should be an important part of your recruiting process

August 21, 2021
iCIMS Staff
7 min read

The current job market can feel ever-changing and unpredictable. Job openings have increased. Job applications have not. So when qualified candidates express interest in an open role, it’s important to have tools in place that can keep candidates engaged and moving through your pipeline.

Text recruiting software is a candidate communication tool with the potential to change the way recruiters work. The number of employers that say they implemented mobile text-messaging campaigns increased 56% in 2019. What is all the hype about? Continue reading to learn how text recruiting software can help fill jobs faster, improve the candidate experience, and enable compliance.

Why you should text candidates

Poor communication is not fun for anyone involved in the recruiting process. When recruiters have to play phone tag, it can create bottlenecks in the process and negatively affect KPIs. Candidates can also feel alienated from the hiring process and become disinterested in your company. Companies can look for new solutions that streamline communication methods and enhance the candidate experience to combat this problem.

Learn more about engaging with talent through text here. Download the iCIMS Guide to Engaging Talent.

The benefits of texting with candidates

Texting is convenient

Text recruiting software can be more convenient for recruiters than other forms of communication when it integrates with your existing applicant tracking software or candidate relationship management software.

Through a central platform, recruiters can send and manage one-to-one and one-to-many text campaigns. Deliver campaigns through SMS, WhatsApp, or even Facebook messenger to meet candidates where they are without using multiple tools. Responses are automatically associated with the candidate’s profile in your ATS, so recruiters can respond from the central platform even if they sent the campaign through multiple channels.

Beyond ease of use, text recruiting software can benefit recruiters by reducing manual tasks. Automated workflows enable candidates to self-schedule or re-schedule interviews through text. Plus, automated text reminders can prevent ghosting and keep candidates engaged. There are even self-managed calendars that work with recruiting chatbots and text recruiting. Read more about flexible self-scheduling here.

Finally, recruiters can access convenient real-time analytics dashboards to measure engagement and conversions.

Faster time to fill

Direct channels like text messaging can help to speed up communication and reduce the amount of time required to move candidates through the hiring process.

RPM Pizza, the largest Domino’s franchisee in the U.S., used text message campaigns to boost applications and reduce time to hire. They needed a faster way to attract and engage applicants to fill more than 4,000 open roles. So, they co-created a solution with iCIMS Text Engagement and an AI-powered recruiting chatbot they named Dottie.

Candidates can text the word “Dottie” to a unique shortcode (i.e., phone number) which activates the recruiting chatbot. The digital assistant answers FAQs, pre-screens candidates by asking questions about age and driving status, and even allows applicants to set up their initial interview. Overall, their campaigns increased applications by 66% and reduced time to hire by 80%.

But is text messaging the right tool for your company? To answer that, let’s look at some statistics.

  • The average SMS open rate is 98% compared to the average email open rate of 20%.
  • 95% of text messages are read within 3 minutes.
  • It takes the average person 90 seconds to respond to a text vs. 90 minutes to respond to an email.

In short, the average person opens and responds to text messages significantly faster than more traditional communication channels. For candidates who are on their feet all day and not in front of computer, as in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics, text messaging may be the most practical way for recruiters to reach them during their shift. Recruiters who need quick answers from candidates to move them through the hiring process can more confidently rely on text messaging to get the job done.

Better candidate experience

For many candidates, chat technologies like WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat, and Slack are their everyday channels of communication. Answering a quick message on the fly can be more convenient than carving out time to speak to a recruiter via the phone – especially when top talent is likely already employed. Plus, this less formal medium may provide a low-pressure way to communicate with job seekers in the early stages of their search.

A 2019 research study found that “candidates who received mobile text notifications during the research process rated their candidate experience 50% higher than those who did not.”

Texts also provide quick, personalized responses, which is important to candidates looking for a transparent view of the hiring process. Companies that use text messaging can appear to be more approachable and communicative, which can be a positive characteristic in the eyes of potential new employees.

Stronger compliance

All communications between candidates and hiring organizations should be trackable for compliance purposes. Unlike a phone conversation, text messages provide a form of written documentation. Centralizing text conversations into your recruitment platform offers stronger compliance to employers who may have recruiters and hiring managers texting candidates from their own devices today.

AI, chatbots, and the future of candidate communications

According to a study by mobile engagement firm OpenMarket, 75 percent of millennials would prefer text over a phone call if given a choice, citing texts as more convenient and less disruptive. 89% of Gen Z college seniors are comfortable texting with potential employers as part of the job interview process, according to iCIMS’ Class of 2021 report.

As each generation continues to saturate the workforce and text messaging becomes the norm in talent acquisition, we expect to see an even wider range of candidate communication methods become available via messaging apps like Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat.

Candidates want 24/7 help navigating career sites, notifications for new openings, and guidance toward the right roles. But they aren’t always eager to jump into interview mode. Texting and chatting are less formal than the typical phone screen and don’t put candidates on the spot to provide structured responses right away. This takes the pressure off job seekers who may have time constraints or are still exploring their options.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots can now support the hiring process to best serve job seekers who prefer convenient, written communication before speaking directly to a recruiter. With advanced natural language processing, chatbots can learn to ask the right questions, provide the right answers, and avoid alienating candidates at any step by responding immediately.

Automating repetitive communication tasks with text and chat tools allows recruiters to focus on the high-touch and strategic aspects of talent acquisition, like making the final hiring decision – and can drive greater value to the business. Job seekers can gain a more transparent view into the hiring process, so feel more supported and informed while avoiding the stress that typically comes with early recruiter interactions.

How texting can fit into your recruiting process

The application process: Candidates are consumers who want a fast and easy job search and application process. Technology like text recruiting software enables organizations to more easily source candidates via an initial “text to apply” capability and quickly communicate with candidates who prefer text over email.

Here is an example of how a text message-based application process works:

  • A company generates a custom keyword and a short number.
  • The company shares the keyword and number via billboards, fliers, and other highly visible methods of advertising, along with instructions for job seekers to text the keyword to the number to apply for a job (e.g., “Text ‘Jobs’ to 123456 to apply today!”).
  • Candidates who text the number are greeted with all the information they need to apply, including links to mobile-optimized application forms or questions they need to answer.
  • The company collects information from the candidate and moves on to review the candidate’s application and schedule the initial interview, which can also be done via text.

The interview process: Does this scenario sound familiar? You’ve been trying to fill an open position for over a month. One of your biggest frustrations is that you keep playing phone tag with candidates, which delays the interview scheduling process.

Answering a phone call to schedule an interview or communicate next steps isn’t always possible for job seekers during the workday. People may go for hours without checking their email. But if their phone is near them, text messaging can be a much better way to connect.

iCIMS text recruiting software

Recruiting is complex and dynamic. Today’s candidates want easy and direct ways to engage with employers and apply for jobs, while recruiters want sophisticated ways to engage with talent at scale. Integrating iCIMS Text Engagement software into your recruiting platform can help manage this complexity by consolidating all hiring-related communication activities into one system of record, simplifying the process for both recruiters and candidates.

Learn more about engaging with talent through text here. Download the iCIMS Guide to Engaging Talent.

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