Chances are you’ve heard a lot of buzz recently about texting. And with the recent hiring slowdown, texting is becoming even more of a necessity for talent acquisition teams.

Many talent acquisition leaders are taking this time to adjust their strategy and tech stacks to better align with their evolving business needs — prioritizing solutions that allow for real-time candidate and employee engagement, along with intelligent automation to eliminate friction throughout the process. Let’s be honest — for many, resources are tighter.

In this article, we’ll explore some simple, effective ways to leverage texting to keep your candidates and furloughed employees engaged during this slowdown, while preparing yourself for the likely hiring uptick in the months to come.


Why Texting Is a Must-Have in the Post COVID-19 World

There was a day in the not-too-distant past where texting candidates was off-limits for recruiters. Conventional wisdom said texting was a personal communication channel and too invasive to be leveraged by recruiters.

But that day has come and gone.

In today’s climate, recruiters are leveraging texting to engage candidates and furloughed employees in real-time, ensuring nothing and no one falls through the cracks.

Cell phone usage is up 53% from this time last year. We as a society aren’t living in email right now — we’re inside our homes, tethered to our phones and new forms for communication are able to cut through the noise. Texting engages people in a new way and enabling individuals to get all their critical information easily in this uncertain time.

Another benefit to texting? Candidates respond to emails only about 2% of the time, while text messages get, on average, a 37% response rate. That’s an 18x increase, which can make a huge difference when you’re dealing with critical communication.

At Grayscale, we’ve actually seen a spike in engagement across our customer base in recent weeks, with the average candidate response rate spiking to nearly 50%.

‍Breanne Ness, VP of Learning & Development at Transwest, who uses Grayscale in conjunction with Lever, describes the impact texting has had on her process this way:

“Response time for candidates is so much better when we can reach out via text message. If we emailed or left a voicemail, it would often take until the next day before we’d get a response. With texting, it’s within a few hours.”

Today Breanne’s team sees an average response time of less than 35 minutes for their messages.

Over time, these types of stats can have a huge impact on a business: Faster turnaround time, quicker interviewing, and real-time engagement to drive things forward.


The Benefits of Texting Candidates (And Employees) In the Current Climate

Texting is being utilized to solve many challenges recruiters are faced with currently. Below are some examples that may apply to your business.


Keep Top Candidates Warm and Ready to Go

Most companies are currently struggling to keep their top candidates warm and engaged while they wait for the “storm” to blow over.

It’s critical during this time to keep your best candidates, including candidates that were interviewing before things paused, as updated and engaged as you possibly can — otherwise, you’ll find yourself starting from scratch again when hiring begins again.

At Grayscale, we’ve seen the number of texts sent per company on the rise post COVID-19, mainly because recruiters are working hard to keep candidates updated and informed in real-time as they get new information. This can be a great opportunity to build relationships with critical talent.

Setting up a texting drip campaign can be a great way to scale this type of high touch experience for candidates. This is a good time to weave in content that highlights and reinforces your company culture as well, so look for creative ways to incorporate video clips, and links to relevant articles and press into your campaigns.


Engage Furloughed Employees to Keep Them up to Speed

Many of you have found yourself in the unfortunate position of needing to furlough employees. It’s a tough decision that many companies are faced with currently, and if you find yourself in this camp — we get how painful this move probably was.

You want to do right by these employees, and you want to get them back to work as soon as you possibly can.

Poor communication will send the exact wrong message to these employees — at best, it will look sloppy, and at worst, it will make employees feel expendable and unappreciated.

Some things to keep in mind while communicating with furloughed employees:

  • They are experiencing a lot of uncertainty, so make sure you communicate clearly what you know and what you don’t.
  • They want to be reassured, and not misled.
  • Make sure to properly set expectations and empathize with their situation.
  • Once things get cranking again, you want your furloughed employees to be ready to go — updated, engaged, and excited to start immediately. Texting is an ideal channel to keep in touch and quickly get the word out to employees with updates.


Automate Communication to Handle an Influx of Applications

When the pandemic subsides and life starts to get back to the “new normal”, 2 things will have changed: Unemployment is projected to be higher than we’ve seen thus far in our lifetimes (some estimates say as high as 20%), and most businesses will be forced to staff up quickly simply to service the basic needs of their customers. Talent acquisition teams will be forced to rely on either brute force or automation to help alleviate some of this hiring burden.

Leveraging a tool like Grayscale that can automate communication, while keeping the recruiter in the driver seat throughout, can help address this challenge head on.

For example, what if communicating with candidates was as simple as changing a candidate’s stage in Lever to trigger all relevant communication and to set up next steps?

If you moved a candidate to the “Phone Screen” stage in Lever, you could set it up to automatically send out a text to schedule an interview. For the “Offer” stage, you could trigger a text message notifying the candidate to expect an offer letter via email.

One Lever customer, McAdam Financial, automates communication throughout their hiring process, saving their team hours each week. Recruiting coordinator, Zoya Naseem, describes it this way:

“I leverage Grayscale’s automation functionality to trigger a text to go out when candidates are at various stages in our process — from interview setup, to offer, all the way through to their first day in the office. This cuts time spent manually communicating with candidates, and our response rate is between 80-85%, which is amazing!”

Another Lever customer, North Star Bluescope Steel, leverages scheduled text reminders to help reduce interview no-shows. Senior recruiter, Kristen Neubert, shares her experience:

“I used to send candidates a reminder email of their upcoming interview. Most times I never received a response back, either confirming or canceling their appointment. Now we send candidates a quick text reminding them of the appointment and we get an instant response back. Our no-show rate has significantly decreased as a result.”

If candidates can’t make the interview, they’ll simply text you back to reschedule. And if they found a job already, you’ll know it sooner so you’re not wasting anyone’s time.

These types of automated communication points ensure that no one falls through the cracks, while preventing your essential emails from going overlooked, guaranteeing you the fastest turnaround time possible.

It’s measures like these that will ensure you maintain the best possible candidate experience during this time, so you’re set up for success when things pick back up again.


Get Started Texting in Lever

These are unprecedented times, and recruiters need the right set of tools to effectively navigate them. Leveraging channels like texting will become increasingly important over the coming months, but don’t get overwhelmed feeling like you need to make sweeping changes to your process. Find the most value-add use cases for texting at this moment and start small.

For Lever customers being impacted by COVID-19, we’re offering a 20% discount on Grayscale’s texting and automation platform to help you keep your candidates warm and furloughed employees up to speed. We have helpful resources and templates ready to go when you sign up to help your team ramp up quickly.


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