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February 13, 2023

To Text or Not to Text — The Dos and Don'ts of SMS Recruiting

a red message bubble with a blue face next to it

Tired of phone tag and dead-end email chains? As the instant-communication generation moves to the forefront of hiring, lightning-fast response time and seamless contact are absolute musts

Today nearly 74% of US millennials and Gen Z'ers interact with each other digitally more than they do in real life. To capture their attention, modern hiring managers need to master the subtle art of SMS recruiting.

But how can you keep your recruiting current without invading a candidate’s personal digital space?

Digital boundaries are a necessity with SMS recruiting and today we’ll share everything you need to know about opting in and reaching out. We asked a panel of real employers and hiring managers for their biggest dos and don'ts when reaching out to candidates via text message. Here’s what they had to say.

Tips for SMS recruiting:

  • Make a connection, not a sales pitch
  • Respect your candidate’s boundaries
  • Use SMS to keep candidates in the pipeline
  • Don’t use text recruiting to replace phone or email
  • Triple-check your grammar and spelling
  • Never reject a candidate via text

Ready to connect with the right candidates faster? These 12 Recruitment Text Message Templates will make it easy to get started!

Why use SMS for recruiting?

As job openings increase, you need to make the most of every qualified candidate. 

To snag the hire of your dreams before your competitors do, text recruiting is a great tool for the job.

Text messages are extremely accessible

These days, we all keep in contact via SMS. 

Even if the generations sometimes do things a little… differently, everyone from millennials to baby boomers is constantly plugged in and monitoring their texts. 

In fact, according to Pew Research Center, 97% of Americans text at least once per day

A text message is way harder to miss than an email in your work-only inbox. So instead of sending emails bound for the spam folder, why not use text recruiting to meet candidates where they work, chat, and socialize?

SMS recruiting is bottleneck-free

Nobody likes a slow responder, especially when they’re looking for work. 

From soul-sucking phone tag to never-ending email chains, subpar communication creates major bottlenecks in your recruitment pipeline and leaves a bad impression on job seekers. 

SMS text recruiting software is here to help increase your response times and streamline your candidate communication.

On average, people view and reply to text messages much faster than any other channel. While email marketing has an average open rate of about 17%, texts have a whopping 98% open rate. But it’s not just about the open rate — it’s also about responsiveness. 

According to the same report, 90% of people reply to their texts within half an hour. And 70% of people view a new SMS in five minutes or less.

This makes SMS recruiting the perfect fit for fast responses and instant communication. Communication bottlenecks begone!

SMS recruiting is fast and easy

Speed matters. In a competitive talent market, your success hinges on how quickly you can secure the talent you need to keep the recruitment process moving.

If you want a fast answer, text is the language to learn. And with the advent of dictation tools and mass-text features to reach multiple candidates, SMS recruiting is faster than ever.

Meeting candidates where they are is as easy as dictating a few lines to Google Voice, selecting the candidates you want to contact, and pressing send. Done intentionally, this type of outreach can reduce unnecessary steps in your hiring process and increase response rates, saving you time while helping you reach the best candidates before anyone else.

6 practical SMS recruiting tips straight from the pros

People today are busier than ever . That’s  especially true for passive millennial candidates and their already-burnt-out Gen Z counterparts.

If top candidates are ignoring your emails and InMail messages, and you’re sure it’s not due to a lack of creativity, it probably has something to do with the other 120 emails that hit their inbox the same day.

Let’s take a closer look at practical ways employers are using SMS recruiting to break through the noise and build a real connection with candidates.

Tip #1. Make a connection, not a sales pitch

As the Editor in Chief of Made in CA and a former content manager, Annie Morris has extensive experience interacting with business owners in a wide range of industries. When it comes to SMS recruiting, Annie's advice is to keep your tone in mind.

“A recruiter's job is to find the right candidate for the job, and they have to do that by asking questions and getting to know that person,” Annie explains. 

“If your tone sounds like you're just trying to sell them on the company or convince them of how great it would be to work there, then they'll feel like they're being pressured into joining.”

To keep your candidates engaged, you need to keep it human. “Be honest about what the job entails and why it would be a good fit for them,” Annie advises. 

“You can even end your message by asking if they have any questions or concerns about working at this company. This way, you're not just trying to sell them on joining but actually listening to what their needs are as well as helping them see why working for your company will satisfy those needs.”

💡HR Pro Tip: Ask candidates for a callback. 

It can be hard to find the time and place for a private phone conversation — especially if your candidate is already busy working 9 to 5. Send a text to ask your candidate for a callback at a time that’s convenient for them.

Tip #2. Respect your candidate’s boundaries

Adrienne Couch of LLC.Services is a human resources analyst that has done the hiring rounds many a time before. When it comes to texting candidates, Adrienne knows boundaries are everything.

“The main thing to keep in mind when using SMS recruiting is to respect the preferences and boundaries of candidates,” Adrienne advises. 

“This means getting explicit consent to texting and respecting any requests to communicate through alternative channels.” 

Unsolicited texts feel invasive, and more than a little creepy. You only get one chance to make a first impression with top candidates, so make it a good one.

“Initial communication or detailed discussions about job duties or salary should generally be relegated to more formal channels of communication, such as email or phone calls,” Adrienne recommends. “It’s also important to keep confidential information on more formal channels. Texting is better for follow-ups and quick chats, not lengthy or private ones.”

💡HR Pro Tip: Use SMS to get interviews scheduled. 

Sending your candidate a quick interview scheduling link via text puts an end to group-email fatigue and gets the interview on the books in a matter of minutes.

Tip #3. Use SMS to keep candidates in the pipeline

Text messaging is a great way to stay in touch with the candidates in your pipeline, nurturing your network and keeping those relationships strong. And according to Ashley Garriton, a recruiter at InnovateMR, SMS is also an excellent way to stay in touch with diamond candidates from interviews past.

“If you already have a relationship with the candidate, you can text them to share a new open role, to schedule an interview or [to share] any other quick pertinent information,” she explains.

“Texting is also beneficial to share a quick update on the position that they applied for. It's a great way to let them know that they are still being considered for the role and that you hope to have feedback soon.”

Drawing from your existing talent pools is the easiest way to fill open roles fast, and SMS texting is the quickest way to cultivate lasting relationships with five-star candidates waiting in the wings.

💡HR Pro Tip: Send a quick pre-interview text reminder

A quick text message is a perfect way to give candidates a quick heads-up, an extra interview tip, or a simple pat on the back to send them in ready to win. 

Tip #4. Don’t use text recruiting to replace phone or email

According to James “J.R.” Lowry, founder of PathWise.io, one of the major mistakes SMS recruiters make is ditching phone convos or email entirely.

Don’t use texting as a substitute for a ‘live’ discussion by phone or video especially when it comes time for an in-depth interview.”

Interviews by text message are clunky, lengthy, and awkward. Keep text messages short and sweet. Text recruiting tools are best used for meeting confirmations, change notifications, and other quick reminders.

J.R. also warns against sending important documents over text. “Sending documents by text message isn’t necessarily a ‘never’ but it’s certainly risky, in that they’re more likely to be forgotten.” In most cases, it’s better to stick to email addresses than phone numbers for official, signature-required correspondence.

Tip #5. Triple-check your grammar and spelling

From fake Amazon orders begging you to “click here,” to phony links galore, it’s no wonder candidates are becoming more suspicious of potential job scams. 

According to Dr. Kyle Elliott, the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com, that’s why you need to double, triple, and quadruple-check your recruitment texts for spelling and grammatical errors.

“Applicants expect a certain level of decorum and professionalism when receiving inbound messages from prospective employers,” Kyle explains.

“Be mindful of your grammar and syntax to avoid coming off as unprofessional, or even worse, a potential scam.”

And because applicants are hyper-sensitive to the potential of being scammed, you’ll also want to watch what time you send your recruitment messages.

“Avoid sending text messages outside of normal business hours,” Kyle advises. “Not only is receiving an early morning or late night text inconvenient, but it can also lead a potential candidate to incorrectly assume you're attempting to scam them. If you have an important thought you want to relay to an applicant and it's outside business hours, consider drafting it, then hitting send once it hits 8 or 9 a.m.”

Pro Tip: You can schedule candidate messages right in Breezy – here’s how!

Tip #6. Never reject a candidate via text

Garrett Smith, the head of local SEO at GMB Gorilla, is a hiring manager with years of SMS know-how. According to Garrett, turning down a candidate via SMS is a major faux pas.

“Never reject a candidate through a text message,” Garrett warns. “It’s an impersonal way to communicate with someone who has taken the time and effort to proceed with their application.”

“Remember that they invested a lot of hope and energy in applying for the job, so they at least deserve some professionalism with how you’ll break the unfortunate news to them."

Even if the candidate isn’t a good fit for one position, they could be a useful contact in the future. So keep things courteous. You never know when you might need to reach back out for a future role.

Keep your SMS recruiting dialed in with Breezy 

Perhaps the best advice when it comes to SMS recruiting is to simply text candidates the way you want to be texted.

“The one thing recruiters should always keep in mind when reaching out via text is respect,” says Linda Shaffer, Chief People Operations Officer at Checkr. “Respect the applicant's time, their privacy, and their ability to communicate with you.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

A great SMS recruiting strategy can make hiring easier and more human. When used alongside other powerful recruitment tools, such as a friendly chatbot, self-scheduling interview links, and automated candidate emails — text messaging can also help you connect with the right candidates faster.

With Breezy, you can instantly send text messages to candidates and see your entire conversation history all in one place. See for yourself with a free 14-day trial!