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For decades now, we have developed countless channels for communicating. As a result, we associate different channels with different levels of appropriateness or relevancy. Email and phone calls, therefor, have become widely as the main channels for professional communication. Text messaging, on the other hand, grew into popularity as a form of quick and informal communication. When you think of SMS messages, things that come to mind are messages you send your friends, family or significant others. They may event contain an emoji or two … or ten. SMS messaging is seen as personal and intimate.
For some, the idea of a hiring manager communicating with a candidate through text may seem creepy. The truth is, however, that the rise of mobile usage has made SMS messaging an increasingly accepted mode of communication between job seekers and employers. For hourly workers this even more paramount since the nature of their work means they are not able to check emails regularly or make time for phone calls.
For employers looking to fill positions quickly, this has equally important implications. If they are not able to reach applicants quickly and effortlessly, more days pass with unfilled positions. It also means that every day that they are unable to engage these qualified applicants, the more likely they are to take other hourly positions at other companies. Candidates are online for the most of their waking hours and may not be able to see application instructions or updates quickly. As a result, your recruitment process becomes lengthier than it should be. Therefore, being the first to reach these candidates is the key driver in meeting your hiring needs - this is where the efficiency and personalization of SMS messaging becomes your best friend in hiring.
Whether you are a new businesses or established, tech-savvy or tech shy, the advantages of using SMS messaging to recruit far outweighs any awkwardness you should feel about using this as a means for communication with your candidates.
Tech-savvy business: If you’re one of the growing companies that have embraced SMS messaging into your hiring process, well-done! You are leading the way in the future of recruiting and view technology as a way to give you a huge competitive edge especially when it comes to hiring. You clearly care about getting top talent before others do and use this as a great way to set yourself apart from larger companies that may have a larger recruiting and sourcing budget. We have outlined some best practices for using SMS messaging so keep reading for the full list.
Tech-shy businesses: According to a new survey by AT&T, 75 percent of small business owners are eager to embrace new technology, but 30 percent find it hard to adopt. You may be one of these small businesses. It’s understandable especially with so many tools now available. Historically, companies have used Applicant Tracking Systems or ATSs to manage their recruiting efforts. Unfortunately, this usually involves a lot of training and investment. Additionally, if companies want to incorporate other tools, they have to worry about whether it integrates with their current ATS or not. Companies in this category are often held back by the very tools that are supposed to be helping them with efficiency. If you fall into this category, using SMS messaging is a great addition for you. You can use this in conjunction with your existing investment. You will also see that it greatly reduces the time and cost associated with recruiting by eliminating all the manual emails, calls and back and forth it takes to reach applicants and schedule time with them.
Small businesses - These are usually mom and pop shops where budgets are tight especially for hiring and recruiting. Most small businesses are under 25 employees, and that means that business owners are having to do all the hiring which is critical to the success of the business. This also means they are wearing multiple hats including that of operations manager and hiring manager. Therefore, the cost of hiring is even more prevalent. According to Entrepreneur, business owners can spend up to 40 percent of their precious day engaged in these necessary but time-sucking tasks. Every hour that an operations manager spends hiring is an hour of lost productivity and profit-earning activities. Operation managers and business owners don’t have time to waste sending emails and scheduling interviews. If you fall under this category, you should consider free tools that can replace some of the manual work.
Large enterprise - These are more established businesses that have proved themselves in the market and are in a higher growth phase due to their growing operational needs. For this reason, when administrative processes begin slowing down the productivity of the firm, incorporating hiring technology becomes essential to business success. This also means that growth and scaling your workforce is top of mind. It also means that the time spent on emails and phone calls is even costlier with the average cost of hiring around $4,425 according to SHRM.
Here’s a look at how these business personalities stack up:
Before we go into SMS messaging best practices, let’s revisit what a typical interaction looks like between a hiring manager and an applicant from the point at which an application is completed to when the first phone screening is completed. If you are still thinking about introducing SMS into your hiring and recruiting, you’ll definitely want to keep reading and see how SMS is the biggest game-changer for your hiring operations.
So if you are a small business, just starting out, our a little apprehensive about using technology and SMS messages in your hiring, this is what you may typically experience in the beginning of the recruiting phase:
This entire process, while typical, can take 1 - 2 weeks if everything goes smoothly. According to Indeed, applicants receive a range of experiences depending on the urgency of the position needing to be filled:
Now let’s compare this to companies like Lime and Wag who use SMS messaging to hire their workforce and use online recruiting as their single channel for hiring:
With this method, the entire process from Application to initial phone screening takes an average of 1-2 days due to the elimination of all the manual tasks and engagement through SMS. The other major benefit is the huge cost in time spent recruiting. We estimate anywhere from $800 - $3,500 in the reduction in cost per hire.
So whether you fall into tech-savvy or tech-shy, we have outlines some fundamental best practices you can implement today.
1. Use personalization whenever possible
When you’re using push notifications or sending out SMS messages to hundreds of applicants, it’s tempting to use general messages but we recommend against it. This is your chance to make your company stand out from the crowd. Remember, this applicants are applying to more that 10 - 15 jobs per week so making the best first impression is crucial to your own success.
2. Keep it short - and then shorten it more
Based on our own internal findings, we find that keeping your SMS messages under 160 characters is the sweet spot. Any longer and you run into a higher chance of getting ignored or skipped over. Opt for short sentences that get right to the point.
3. Use time sensitive language
It’s important to give your candidates gentle reminders. They’re busy too and may need some prompting to get to the next phase in the hiring process. Using verbiage that gives a sense of urgency is a great way to push things along is a way that engages candidates, especially the ones that are truly interested in working for you. One of our customers, for example, saw a 10% increase in response when using the words “final chance”.
4. Ask for a response and make it simple
A great example of this is by sending a simple message to candidates who have been unresponsive like “still interested?”. It’s an easy way for them to let you know if they’ve changes their mind or moved on and it helps you weed out these candidates from your own list.
5. Value added
If you find that you are competing with lots of other companies for the same talent, you may want to consider offering incentives for them to work for you. One example is how Uber and Lyft offer special sign-up bonuses as a way to incentivize hires to drive right away, because new hires having cold feet is a big problem for on-demand companies and the longer they wait, the less likely these new drivers will start.
It’s pretty clear that SMS messaging is the future of hiring and recruiting. In fact, a study has shown that SMS has eight times the response rate of email! While finding new talent may seem like a numbers game or pure luck, SMS messaging offers a major competitive edge for employers both large and small.
SMS messaging, however, doesn’t mean you have to spend all day texting. You can take your recruiting and hiring efforts up a notch by simply automating your SMS responses. This is what will truly elevate your hiring.
If you’re a small business, we highly recommend you take advantage of Fountain Lite and start experiencing all the benefits having an automation hiring software that does all the heavy lifting for you. It’s perfect for small, brick and mortar businesses and it’s free!
If you are a larger business or enterprise, our solution allows you to communicate with all your applicants across all your locations all from one dashboard. Reach out to the Fountain team and we can show you the SMS messaging feature in action!