Text Messaging Job Applicants to Increase Response-Rate

Text messaging job application
Cellphones have become universal – whether old or young, in an urban or a rural area, and independent of educational background, nearly everyone has a cell phone. According to research by Pew, for those under 50, cell phone adoption rates are rapidly moving towards 100%. For employers of hourly workers, this means that how you recruit and communicate with job applicants has a huge opportunity to be more effective by reaching applicants where they are.

Today, we’re excited to launch text-messaging embedded in The Hiring Engine. From any applicants’ profile in The Hiring Engine, you can quickly send a text (sent from a local number specific to each job) and then receive their responses.

Why send text messages to applicants?

Studies show that a majority of applicants 18-45 prefer communication about jobs via texts. Furthermore, texts have a much higher response rate, create a personal connection with applicants, and are much more likely to happen than having your team playing phone tag with candidates.

You probably didn’t hire your managers based on how good they are on the phone, so texting provides an easier, more reliable way to reach out.

An Overview of Texting in The Hiring Engine

Whenever a job is created in The Hiring Engine, we create a unique local phone number for the job. This means that within The Hiring Engine, you can text a candidate straight from their profile by clicking on the texting tab:

Hiring Engine SMS
Once you send a text, you’ll see all the applicant’s replies right in The Hiring Engine, and receive an email update every time an applicant text messages.

When candidates first apply, we ask them if they are willing to receive texts about a job, so you can feel confident they want you to be texting with them. We’ll also send them short instructions on how to unsubscribe from text messages.

How We Use Text Messaging to Engage with Job Applicants

Text messages have a 90%+ chance of being read, so we know that candidates are going to read them. So what should you say?

Texting to Schedule Interviews

Once you decide to pursue a candidate, texting is a great way to quickly let them know what the next steps are (and show your excitement), engage with them to answer any questions they have or resolve any concerns, and increase the chances they move forward.

We’ve seen success with a straightforward, personal text that states who you are and why you’re texting, outlines the next step, and then asks for either a confirmation or any questions. For example:

Hi William – This is Ed from Meyer’s Construction. We’re excited about your application and we’d love to interview you. How does next Tuesday afternoon work for you? 

By providing this direct, personal outreach to a candidate shortly after they apply, you immediately move your company from just another place they applied to a real human connection.

Texting Interview Reminders

Everyone who hires hourly employees has dealt with a significant number of interview “no-shows” – applicants who just don’t show up for the interview they’ve previously scheduled. Once you’ve engaged with a candidate initially by text, we strongly recommend texting them the day before with a reminder, details on the office location, and a final opportunity to answer any questions they have. In short, something like this:

Hi Alice – We’re excited to see you tomorrow at 10am! Our office is at 1 Main st. Ask for Ron when you arrive. Let me know if anything comes up in the meantime and you can’t make it. 

These texts work well because they give the applicant a chance to resolve any questions they have (rather than just not showing up), while also encouraging them to let you know so you have a more accurate view of who’s coming.

Texting to Ask for more information

Finally, for applicants who only provide partial information and who would otherwise be rejected on the basis of just not knowing whether they are a fit or how interested they are, texting is a great way to give them one last chance if they are interested. As an example:

Hi Miguel – Thanks for applying! As a next step before an interview, could you tell us a bit more about your last 1-2 jobs? Thanks! {link to application}

Because many applicants may initially find your job when they’re in the midst of something else, at work, etc, you want to give them a second chance to give you more details.

Hiring Business Owner Portal
Next Up

At The Hiring Engine, our goal is to take the guesswork (and the work for that matter) out of the recruiting process. Over the next few months, you’ll see templated responses and automated text messages built into the product so you can provide personal and timely outreach to applicants day in and day out (all without increasing anyone’s workload).

Our goal is to make your recruiting more automated and more effective, and it’s no surprise that reaching out to applicants where and how they prefer makes a big difference.