Recruiting top talent isn’t for the faint of heart. And with the best candidates off the market within 10 days, there’s no doubt we’re in a candidate’s market. As a result, recruiters need to leverage new technologies to boost the candidate experience and improve communications. The following are ways that automated texting can help recruiters connect with candidates from first contact all the way to first day of employment.
1. Set a clear premise.
Why are you reaching out? Clearly explain to your candidate why you are reaching out and how you’ve made the connection with them. Just as you would begin a phone screen or email with, “Hi, I’m recruiter A from XYZ company, we met at the job fair in April…” a text-screen is navigated similarly.
Creating relevancy for the candidate is the perfect place to start the chat. Begin with some context and follow up with a question. It’s the business-casual portion of the interview that allows recruiters to form a relationship with their candidate and build rapport.
2. Make friends with speed and consistency.
Use your library of questions to navigate through the most important screening queries before sharing your chat with the hiring manager. This allows you to standardize the screening process and dive right in—fast. In addition, these initial texts will also help you gauge which candidates are the most interested, which means you can immediately proceed to focus on highly engaged applicants.
As you evaluate your candidate pool, you’ll save yourself time and energy as you move more of the right candidates through the recruitment process faster.
3. Keep calm. Your candidates are just thinking (or busy!).
One of the most frequent questions we get from talent teams is, “How quickly should our candidates be responding? If they don’t respond right away, should I assume they aren’t interested?”
We would argue that immediate response time does not equal “most-qualified candidate” or even “best answer.” People are busy! Text messaging is so handy because you can reply on your own time. Think of all the contacts, personal and professional, that you text in a given day. Would you be able to communicate with as many people if you had to schedule a phone call with each person? Likely not.
One of the biggest advantages of a text interview is that candidates have time to think of a rich response to each question. The asynchronous nature of the chat greatly enhances the candidate experience. Candidates can take a deep breath and formulate a well-thought, succinct response to screening questions, and recruiters can relax knowing that thoughtful responses are much more valuable than the best off-the-cuff answer.
Taking the time to compose a well-written and convincing argument for why a recruiter should hire you is not only in the interviewee’s best interest, but it makes the decision process easier for the interviewer.
4. Promote your employer branding with texting.
To engage job applicants, recruiters should promote job positions like a product or solution they’re trying to sell to the workforce. Sell candidates from their very first interaction with a recruiter by showing what it’s like to work within the organization and how they might fit into the overall work environment. Consider sending these great employment branding materials to candidates during the screening process:
- Job descriptions
- A list of fun office perks
- Photos of team off-sites and outings
- Employee spotlight videos
- Quick video tours of the workspace
- Benefits packages
- Maps for on-site visits
Strong employment brands make a huge impact on a business by building the talent pipeline, improving the overall quality of the hire, and reducing cost per hire.
5. Use text and automation to connect with candidates before the in-person interview.
Did you know approximately 1 out of 10 candidates aren’t showing up for interviews? This stat demonstrates that time between scheduling an interview with a candidate and the actual interview is a crucial engagement period. You’ve already sent off the preliminary employment branding information to get them interested in your company — now is your chance to hook candidates even more before they come in for the interview.
Before a candidate’s interview, send a “meet the team” video introducing the leadership team or use a scheduling feature to send a Google Map pin of the interview location an hour or two before it begins. A small gesture can fully equip a nervous candidate!
6. Don’t forget to stay engaged after the in-person interview.
Recruiting top talent is not only an ongoing mission and a lot of hard work, but it is tied to some extreme pressure from employers. That’s why a recruiter’s job is so important, especially when an offer is on the table. Try sending one of these texts to keep the candidate engaged:
- After The Interview: “Hi, awesome candidate! How did you feel about the interview? Let me know if you have any questions.”
- After Their Offer is Pending: “I wanted to remind you that a response to your offer is due in a couple of days. We would love to have you on the team and are excited to hear back!”
- Before The First Day: “Good luck on your first day tomorrow! Text me if you need any help at all or some key tips, such as where to find the café.”
Periodic check-ins with candidates reinforce a positive expert candidate experience. It also magically transforms the candidate journey into an amazing employee experience as their tenure at the company matures.
Like I stated earlier, retaining top talent isn’t an easy feat. But connecting with candidates via text and automation can help speed up the process and increase the quality of engagement. So, take the leap — text to meet candidates wherever they are.
About the author: Kelly Lavin, SPHR, is a human resources executive who excels at helping companies hire and retain talent through creative and impactful practices. With nearly 20 years of experience in HR, Kelly has worked with a variety of organizations and clients, helping them recruit and hire top talent and form better work environments.