Stop Playing Cat & Mouse with Your Candidates

Raise your hand if you’ve ever sent an email and then been ghosted.

🙋‍♀️ 🙋‍♂️ 🙋

As you can imagine, you’re not alone.

Inboxes and social media have become black holes full of distractions. Sure, a lot of us aspire for inbox 0, but when it comes down to it, very few of us manage that.

In order to stay close to your candidates in the hiring process many people organizations are exploring text as a communication tool to better engage their audiences.

Even if you live under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that email responses are few and far between, which creates really drastic hold-ups in your process. Now, what if I told you that texting could cut your time-to-fill in half?


Why does SMS appeal to potential hires?

Texting is often the preferred method of communication for hourly employees. If they are currently employed and looking for a new opportunity, most candidates aren’t in a position to be able to take an unscheduled phone call to answer questions or chat about a job.


Candidates have a higher chance of being able to check their phone and respond to a text message quickly.

Not only is texting convenient for them, but it also allows candidates to get fast, real-time updates on their journey through the application process.

When the recruiting team starts texting with candidates, it provides candidates with a low stake channel to keep the lines of communication open. Applicants can easily ask and respond to questions without feeling the pressure of sending off a more formal means of communication such as an email.


How does SMS benefit the process as a whole?

Let’s face it. We’re all addicted to our phones. Our dopamine-addicted brains are conditioned to feel compelled to respond to the immediate notifications we receive on our phones.

Most of us are actively screening our notifications as they come in and we respond to the more important messages first. From there, even if we don’t respond right away, many of us will get back to the sender in 24 hours or less.

Due to the texting habits we see in the world today, the recipient of a text is left with a sense of urgency that isn’t there with an email. This push helps to engage candidates by promoting quick response times.

With the low barrier to entry, and the ease of use, shooting off a quick text early in your recruiting process can help you reach a candidate before another organization has the chance to.

As we mentioned earlier, having a less formal communication channel is great for candidate engagement because they can easily ask questions, rescheduled if needed, and have a quick response line if they are struggling to find an interview link, entering the building for onboarding, and finding the room for orientation.

The big win for most teams is that texts are incredibly easy to personalize. That extra intentional step helps create a better experience for the candidate making them more likely to respond and accept a role.


How do you create an SMS-based process?

Well, the good news is that there really isn’t a right or a wrong way to develop a process that drives results and works for your team.

When it comes to finding a couple of places to start, we suggest taking a step back, and refreshing everyone’s favorite sales phrase.

The old -> ABC: Always be closing
The new -> ABT: Always be texting


A few questions to help you figure out where SMS may be a good fit include:

  • How can a text be used as the first point of contact
  • How can a text be used to supplement contact that has to be sent via email
  • How can a text be used to drive candidate engagement along the funnel
  • How can a text be used to enhance other areas outside of engaging active candidates?


As you think about ways to implement texting in other areas of your talent recruitment we suggest using texting to:

  • Follow up with candidates after a hiring event
  • Re-engage with stale candidates or your silver medalists when another opportunity comes around
  • Help with your prospecting and sourcing of candidates in your funnel
  • Create a quick, efficient onboarding process that new hires can fly through


Where should your recruiters be texting in the process?

We encourage teams to experiment with how comfortable they are with a text-heavy communication system based on their organization’s company culture, recruiting process, and what the team as a whole is comfortable with.

One way to help your team get in the habit of texting is by making a new team catchphrase…

”Does this have to be an email? Or can I send a text?”

If you’re open to replacing all nonessential emails with texts, maybe you can take a proactive approach with your communications by building early connections, directing them to important emails, and setting timeline expectations for things like a background check or a drug test.


Leveraging text is a great way to naturally increase your candidate experience and engagement, but if you’re looking for really tactical ways to do that, we recommend adding text to these places in your funnel:

  • Application – Shoot a candidate a text thanking them for applying, establish a timeline for when they will hear back from you, and let them know they can reach out to you directly with any questions!
  • Phone Screen with Recruiter – If texting is their preferred method of communication, text them the link to schedule their phone screen, or get creative in ways to facilitate a texting screen.
  • Scheduling Reminders – Shoot a quick text over the morning of as a reminder and include any logistical information that would be helpful, ie: the building address or where they can find the link to join.
  • Offer Stage – Send them a congrats message and prompt them to go check their email to sign their offer letter!
  • Background Check / Drug Screen – You can use text to send reminders and create urgency, and then let them know when they can expect their results.
  • First Day – Send reminders, well wishes, and logistical details that would be helpful.


Outside of your normal hiring process, a few ways to use texting to increase your candidate experience include:

  • Sending surveys – These could include specific things to your company or a more broad survey like an NPS Survey.
  • Sending modern-day ‘thank you’ notes – A great example could include a recruiter sending a candidate a text like this, “it’s been a pleasure working with you, wishing you all the best in your new role with XX company.”
  • Sending check-in messages as they onboard – these can look like something as simple as, “hope your first day was a great one!”


Does texting actually impact your time-to-fill?

It can sound really daunting to think about recreating your whole recruiting process to enable and rely on texting but the numbers don’t lie…

With engagement rates like this, candidates will fly through your process. You may end up hiring at double, or triple your usual speed.