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Texting for Recruitment: SMS or SOS?

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We're phone-obsessed. A recent study show that the average user 'touches' their phone a crazy 2,617 times every day!

We'll give you a second to digest that:

With these 'touches' equating to an average of 145 minutes of direct use every day, the word "addiction" certainly springs to mind.

In light of this data, it's safe to assume that the average candidate has their phone safely glued to their hand at all times!

Companies are prepared to deal with incoming mobile interactions. With 66% of candidates happy to apply to jobs on their mobile, any careers site worth its salt is mobile optimized nowadays to reduce applicant drop-off.

There's a pretty huge opportunity that most are missing though. Phones are clearly glued to every candidate's hand, yet few recruiters are leveraging texting for recruitment.

Why use Texting for Recruitment?

The data is pretty compelling.

97.5% of all SMS messages are read within seconds. This blows even the best email deliverability out of the water.

Texting for Recruitment - Stats

For recruiters interested in having their messages seen, clicked and replied to, (which should be all recruiters), SMS is a no-brainer.

There's only one common objection to using texting for recruitment:

Companies often feel that SMS is a personal channel and that their texts will be seen as annoying or invasive by candidates...

Well, the data suggests that this is unlikely to be the case. Not only do many recruiters use SMS effectively, but there's also precedent for the commercial use of texting in other industries.

Research shows that as early as 2013, 54% of US consumers were receiving at least one branded SMS message daily. You might think that this volume would have a negative effect but in fact 50% of those people that received branded texts converted into actual buyers.

With texting even more prevalent as a marketing practice today, the time is ripe for recruiters to start using SMS to engage candidates and get a competitive edge as hiring gets increasingly competitive.

Where to find phone numbers

If you want to start using texting for recruitment today, your first question is likely to be: where am I going to find a candidate's phone number? It's the obstacle to all of this running smoothly.

This might be easier than you think:

Every candidate in your ATS or CRM should have a phone number. Every CV in your system should have a contact number. This gives you thousands of candidates that you can contact immediately about roles that you're trying to fill.

[tweetery]Every candidate in your CRM or ATS has a phone number. It's the perfect lead list...[tweetery-end]

You have a pre-existing relationship with these candidates, (most have applied in the past), so they're likely to open, read and reply to your messages.

Bear in mind that when candidates are usually told that their "CV will be kept on file" after they apply unsuccessfully, they're met with silence. If you actually follow through and contact them about relevant opportunities, you immediately separate yourself from the competition.

If you're looking for contact numbers for additional candidates, tools like ZoomInfo, Lusha or Spokeo often have the answer. A subscription to one of these tools can be worth its weight in gold if you're trying to build a lead list.

How to use Texting for Recruitment

You're probably already thinking of different ways that you could add texting to your process. If not, here are a few different ways that you can start using SMS for recruitment:

i) Improving efficiency for volume hiring

"Post and pray" is still the way that most companies approach hiring at volume. Job ads work to the extent that they result in applications, but they're neither cost effective nor efficient.

Job ads work to the extent that they result in applications, but they're neither cost effective nor efficient.

The ads that companies post are usually targeted at roughly the same candidates every time.This means that they're spending money to attract people who already know about their brand and have applied in the past.

The applicant to hire ratio for most of these roles is between 25:1 and 100:1, which means that there could be as many as 99 unsuccessful applicants that you have on file for each role.

Instead of paying for ads to attract these people again, why not re-engage them via text (or email) to tell them about relevant new roles. "Post and pray" becomes "blast and pray".

This is not only a huge cost saver, but it will impact your time to hire - you don't have to wait for people to apply.

ii) Contacting "hard to reach" candidates

No matter how high the numbers LinkedIn might boast that it has 467 million members, but every recruiter knows that there's plenty of talent lurking outside of the world's largest professional network.

While some people have left Linkedin to make a statement, the majority were never there in the first place. Many people who aren't working in "office jobs" don't see the need to maintain an online professional presence - this makes them hard to find.

This leaves companies recruiting in industries like Construction and Logistics dreaming up creative ways to get candidate's attention. Instead of LinkedIn InMail, we're talking anything from radio ads to bumper stickers! (As you might imagine, they have varying degrees of success here).

The one thing all these candidates have in common? Mobile phones.

Texting is by far the most effective way to communicate with hard to reach candidates, share job opportunities and set up interviews.

iii) Setting up interviews and assessments

Interview and assessment no-shows can lead to huge delays and hiring inefficiencies.

You're wasting recruiter and hiring manager time, not just with the interview itself, but also the time spent rescheduling, and you're extending time to hire.

Sending every candidate a simple text reminder on the day of their interview might not sound significant, but it can lead to significant improvements in attendance.

Hospitals, hairdressers, and dentists all use SMS appointment reminders to avoid no-shows - why shouldn't you?

A word of warning - don't be creepy

While texting is becoming more mainstream as a commercial tool, bear in mind that it's still a platform that's usually used for personal conversations.

This means that you have to be respectful. Keep it simple, don't be spammy and only message candidates relevant opportunities.

(If you end up on "Texts from Last Night" then you know you've got it wrong!)

If you're looking for other tactics and tools to improve your team's recruiting results, take a look at the Beamery Academy. It's stuffed full of actionable ebooks, courses and whitepapers that will help you take your team to the next level.

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