Why Texting is the New Email in the Hiring Process

Why Texting is the New Email in the Hiring Process
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Ben has been trying to fill a position at his company for almost a month. His biggest frustration is that it takes him an entire day to schedule an interview because he keeps playing phone-tag. It seems like every time he calls to schedule a job interview, his call goes straight to voicemail.

Based on a study conducted by Jobvite last November, of the 2,084 adults surveyed, 51 percent of people actively seeking a new job are currently employed. Unfortunately, answering a phone call to talk about an interview for new job while at the applicant’s current job is not always possible.

Has society reached a point where potential employers can start using text messages as a way of getting in contact with applicants? Yes, says a January report from Software Advice, which found that 43 percent of job seekers younger than 45 years old considered recruiters who use text messaging as professional.

Related: 5 Rules for Texting Anyone You Do Business With

The hiring process has changed. Not too long ago, online applications were not widely used. Now, with more adults using their phones throughout their job search, adding text messaging, when appropriate, is the next logical step. Here are five reasons implementing text messaging into the hiring process is not a waste of time:

1. Mobile phones are becoming invaluable assets in the job search.

Jobvite also found 47 percent of Millennials surveyed use mobile devices in their job search because it allows them to search for jobs almost anywhere.  

More apps are being developed specifically for the job search. Users typically can send push notifications to themselves when there are new job leads. Text messages are essentially a business’s way of sending a push notification alerting the candidate that they are being considered for the next step in the hiring process.

Sending a text message to confirm the time and any directions the applicant may need when arriving for the interview can help eliminate confusion when they get to the office.

2. Nearly all adults have a cell phone.

Most cell phone plans now feature unlimited text messaging. The fear that a candidate may not be able to text is almost nonexistent. In January 2014, the Pew Research Center reported that 90 percent of adults have a cell phone.

Ben had reached out to April by email to request a sample of her writing. When she responded with her samples late on a Thursday, she mentioned she would be willing to give Ben additional samples should he need them but couldn’t check her personal email again until late Friday night.

Ben was impressed with her writing but felt the pieces were too similar. Instead of sending an email asking for a different writing sample, he sent April a text letting her know he was interested in seeing more of her work. She responded quickly and was able to send it during her lunch hour.

Had Ben sent an email instead of a text, he wouldn’t have been able to schedule an interview with April the same day and would have had to wait for her response the following week.

Related: The Jury Is Still Out on Texting for Professional Communication

3. The number of connected devices is expected to grow.

As people become more dependent on their mobile devices, the likelihood of getting rid of a cell phone becomes highly unlikely. For now, the trend shows that people are only going to increase the number of mobile devices they own.

A study conducted by ABI Research on behalf of Verizon in February found that by 2020, the number of connected devices is expected to increase to 5.4 billion from 1.2 billion in 2015.

Many tablets now include texting capabilities. With the latest updates from Apple, iPad users are able to send and receive messages from their tablet. Android phone users can also download an app to their tablet that lets them send and receive texts from their regular phone number.

4. 1.3 billion smartphones were sold last year.

Top cell phone manufacturers release at least one new phone model every year. As brand loyalty grows, consumers have proven they will upgrade to the latest phone, even if the phone they use still works.

The International Data Corporation reported in February that 1.3 billion smartphones were sold worldwide in 2014. While some technology is here one minute and gone the next, smartphones are not likely to be a passing fad.

Something Ben should keep in mind throughout his hiring process is the access to Internet each candidate may have. Released in April, the Pew Research Center that 15 percent of people who own smartphones have limited access to the Internet outside of their phone.

If the main way applicants are in contact with Ben is by email, communication will move slowly. While making a phone call is usually effective, for a quick conversation, texting can be useful.

5. Software to safely text candidates is available.

Using software like TextRecruit, potential employers can text job candidates throughout the application process. TextRecruit tracks the average open and response rate so recruiters know when a candidate receives the text. This eliminates confusion during the waiting period from the time a recruiter attempts to contact a candidate to when they hear back.  

TextRecruit allows people like Ben to not only schedule interviews and communicate individually with candidates, but also send mass texts about new openings within the company. If recruits are only looking for jobs when they have free time, Ben could sit and wait for candidates to eventually find his job posting. Instead, sending a text informs them there is an opening, and they can decide to proceed with the application process in a timely manner.

As always, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome with adopting any new technology is determining the risks associated with it. TextRecruit sets up a number that the text messages are sent from. Candidates will not be able to call the number back and will only be allowed to communicate via text. This will stop the over-eager applicants from following up on the application they submitted.

Related: The Rules of Business Texting