The Pros, Cons, and Etiquette of Texting Candidates

It’s becoming more common to text candidates during the hiring process. A poll of recruiters in Top Echelon’s Network found that 49% of recruiters send text messages to both candidates and hiring managers. And, 24% of recruiters send texts to candidates only.

If you’re thinking about adding hiring text messages to your recruiting strategy, you need to do it right. Check out the pros and cons of texting candidates below. Then, learn professional text message etiquette.

Pros and cons of hiring text messages

Is texting candidates a good idea to begin with? Check out these hiring text message pros and cons.

Pros

Texting candidates might increase your engagement. Candidates might be more likely to respond to your text messages over other communication methods.

Texting might help you reach candidates while they are at work. People might not be willing to answer a recruiter’s call while at their current job, but they may be able to send a quick text.

Texting is also a good way to send notifications to candidates. You can easily confirm an interview, send directions, or let the candidate know you received a document.

Cons

Texting is not ideal for lengthy communication. Long messages might get broken up into multiple texts, which can get rearranged upon delivery. Long text messages can also be difficult and annoying to read on small screens. If you need to give the candidate a lot of information, it’s best to use email, make a phone call, or have an in-person conversation.

If you send text messages, you need to keep up with them. You need to respond to the messages candidates send you. Preferably, you will respond quickly.

Texting etiquette for recruiters

If you’re going to text candidates, you need to know some professional text message etiquette. Check out the etiquette tips below.

Get permission

Before you send a text to a candidate, you need to get their permission. Candidates might consider unsolicited texts as invasive. When you get a candidate’s communication preferences, record them in your recruiting software. This will help you remember and respect their preferences.

While more candidates are becoming open to text during the hiring process, not everyone wants to see a recruiter among their text messages. Some people only use text for personal reasons, not professional ones.

Identify yourself

You should always identify yourself when sending a text message. Include your name, company, and position. You might include a reminder of how you and the candidate know each other. For example, you might say, “Hi, this is Mark Baker from Amazing Job Search. I spoke to you yesterday about a sales position.”

Do not assume candidates will save your contact information in their phones. And, do not assume candidates will save the text string that includes a previous introduction.

Keep messages short

Be concise in your text messages. Do not send novels to your candidates.

Use text messages as a notification system. Send updates and short blurbs of information. Don’t try to sell the candidate through text message.

Treat texting like email

If you struggle with sending texts to candidates, try thinking of it like email. You should have the same introduction, body, and closing.

Of course, your texts should be shorter than your emails. If you need to send a large amount of information, consider reverting to email.

Limit when you text

It matters when you send texts to your candidates. According to a Software Advice study, candidates don’t like to receive texts outside of business hours. And, 58% of candidates prefer to receive messages between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Don’t get personal

You are texting the candidate for professional reasons. It’s best to keep all text conversation that way.

Do not get personal or send texts unrelated to the job. You shouldn’t talk about kids, spouses, weekend plans, or any other personal topics. You should also refrain from inviting the candidate to personal events, such as dinners or parties. Remember, you are not the candidate’s friend.

Give results through another medium

You should never reject a candidate over text. Likewise, you should never offer a position over text. The candidate might view you as unprofessional. And, the candidate will likely have questions for you, resulting in a back-and-forth over text.

When you reject a candidate or make an offer, it’s best to make an offer call or send a job rejection email. You might be able to use text for verification after these conversations. For example, you offer a position to a candidate, and you tell them that you’ll email an offer letter. You might text the candidate later to verify that they received the offer letter.

Take a hint

Some candidates aren’t keen on texting you back. If you notice that a candidate responds to your emails and phone calls but not your texts, take that as a hint.

If candidates don’t respond to your texts, stop texting them. Go with another communication method. If you keep texting candidates despite their lack of response, the candidate might view this as harassment.

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