While it’s a given that the coronavirus pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, some of the most noteworthy (and newsworthy) data involves how it has affected business operations and how many of us work. One of the key business areas that have been impacted is in how companies recruit new hires. With the requirements for social distancing, avoiding unnecessary contact with others, millions of workers rapidly transitioning into telework and the like, organizations have been motivated toward stepping up their existing recruiting methods and devising novel strategies.
Over the last few months, the increased engagement of social media and how recruitment landing pages can be best utilized to attract quality candidates. There are also other factors that are impacting recruiting on an ongoing basis, such as changing demographics, retirement, more veterans entering the workforce and shifting modes of communication due to both social forces and the influence of technology.
As companies are all aware, smartphones and cellphones have become ubiquitous in our society. According to the Pew Research Center, 97% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind, with 85% of these owning smartphones. Add to this the fact that 73% of US millennials and Gen Z’ers interact with each other digitally more than they do in real life (breezy.hr), and it’s easy to see how this has the potential to impact the recruitment market.
Obviously, the scope of digital technology and its widespread accessibility have been a boom to both businesses and job seekers in the age of the pandemic. Recently, texting in recruitment has risen in popularity for these very reasons, and many companies are using it to their advantage to connect with candidates and offer them a positive experience throughout this process.
As with many of the new recruitment strategies being implemented, while there are many benefits, there are also sound methods and best practices that companies should follow to make sure hiring professionals are on the right track. It’s also important for companies to ensure they are optimizing all of their efforts in this area.
This article will detail statistics relating to the growth in popularity of texting for recruitment in the pandemic, best practices for utilizing texting for recruitment, mistakes companies should avoid, and advice on how to prepare a texting strategy.
Data shared from our partners at Nexxt, an HR technology company specializing in finding candidates through the use of multichannel marketing, found that in 2020, half of all job seekers texted with a recruiter during the course of their job search. This increased into 2021, no doubt due to the ongoing pandemic. Based on a study conducted by the company, some recent statistics relative to texting in recruiting reflect:
Job seekers even preferred text-based campaigns to LinkedIn, at 36% vs. 23%, respectively. And they weren’t the only ones: when it came to communicating with candidates, recruiters also prefer texting (53%) to LinkedIn (38%).
The industries with the top text opt-in candidate respondents were:
To further break this down, the top performing industries included Military & Government (9.6%), Healthcare & Medical (7.2%), and Travel, Hospitality & Restaurant (5.9%). The majority of conversation campaigns sent were for Healthcare & Medical positions, which had a 5.7% response rate.
And it’s not just the pandemic that’s driving these preferences. Due to the aforementioned demographic, cultural and social dynamics that play into communication, it’s become more important for recruiters to meet candidates where they are, both literally (on their phones) and as regards their preferred communication methods.
Largely, this means enhancing the user experience as much as possible, speaking their language (literally and metaphorically) and taking their lifestyles into account. For example: According to Nexxt, in 2021, 96% of job seekers searched for jobs on their phones one or more times a day, and most are on their phones all day long. This means that they are extremely unlikely to miss any message relating to a potential job!
Companies have already begun to see the benefits of texting as a strategy for recruitment. Texting can help quickly connect with candidates who are already in the pipeline, and allows recruiters to engage with candidates in real time. It can be used as an opportunity for lead generation to bring new candidates into the funnel. It also works well to promote immediate needs and developments, such as promoting hiring events or special offerings like sign on bonuses. Texting is an extremely affordable candidate acquisition channel that pairs nicely as a follow up to an email or other marketing tactic.
Texting is also highly useful in nurturing passive candidates in that it keeps a company’s brand top of mind and gives candidates an easy way to connect with recruiters if they want to have a conversation. Finally, texting offers and excellent medium for directly and quickly scheduling interviews with candidates.
Before getting started however, there are a few basics that employers and recruiters should know as they consider moving forward with this medium. The first of these is the difference between two-way texting and one-way texting, each of which have different uses and advantages.
One-way texting is the one-time sending of a text where candidates don’t have the opportunity to text back, as in a conversation. Companies use this sort of text all the time for different reasons; often the text will also contain a line advising the recipient not to attempt to reply to the message. With one-way texts to candidates, recruiters need to use limited character count wisely in order to sell them on what to do.
One-way texts work well if a company isn’t operationally ready to work any leads that respond in a timely manner (e.g., there’s relatively little information on the respondent). When using one-way texts, recruiters should have a place to send the candidates, such as a landing page with a short form. It’s also prudent to place tracking on the URL in the text, so that it’s possible to measure how many recipients responded.
Some common mistakes that companies often make when employing one-way texting have included:
Operationally, two-way texts are more like the back-and-forth conversations people have with family or friends. Here, recruiters have the opportunity to have an actual conversation with a candidate. It’s a quicker way to connect with candidates to learn more and expedite them through the hiring process. Two-way texting offers more flexibility than one-way texting, and therefore more potential benefits.
In the current hiring landscape, the utility of two-way texting lies in the necessity for making a quick connection with candidates virtually. With the large numbers of job seekers on mobile devices, two-way works well for candidates who may not be at a computer all day, or candidates who don’t have the time or inclination to fill out a job application without being sold on doing so first.
According to Nexxt, 5 main benefits of using two-way texting for recruitment include:
Two-way works well when a company has someone who can respond to the texts. It’s a great way to engage new candidates more quickly and even expedite the hiring process if recruiters can get them on the phone faster. It tends to work best with candidates who are actively looking or applying for jobs, since they are the ones who are going to be more likely to respond.
Some downsides to texting in general—or cautionary notes—include:
Job seekers sign up to receive texts at various junctures during their job searches, even if they’re not entirely aware of it. Active job seekers typically fill out many applications and subscribe to various job boards where there are disclaimers and opt-ins through which they provide implicit permission to receive email and text communications.
Thus, in the interest of actually engaging with job seekers instead of driving them away, it’s in interest to stick to best practices when crafting a texting recruitment strategy. Listed below are some of these, as well as processes that need to be in place before reaching out to candidates:
So, if a company that’s interested in texting for recruitment, there's a good framework for planning above. The next big step will be for recruiters to pick a vendor they trust, who has permission to send text messages and also who also has good quality leads. The next major steps are as follows:
Texting for recruitment has grown in popularity as of late, and many companies are using it to their advantage to meet candidates where they are and offer an excellent candidate experience. Since it’s a fairly novel paradigm, there are sure to be developments and ongoing improvements in the process that will serve both businesses and job seekers.
As companies review their recruitment strategy for the upcoming year, it might be beneficial to include texting into recruitment plans. If your company is interested in getting started with texting for recruitment, feel free to reach out to Recruitics!