Using Text Messaging for Recruiting: Do’s and Don’ts


As technology becomes more ingrained in the workplace, it makes sense that it would start to be used in new ways. A few years ago, the idea of using text messaging for recruiting may have sounded far-fetched, but today, it’s becoming more and more acceptable. 


Of course, it’s still a relatively new practice, and it’s tricky to translate traditional recruiting methods into a text message format. Here’s a quick guide to some do’s and don’ts when it comes to using text messaging for recruiting.


DO start strong.

One of the great things about text messages is that they’re almost always opened (as opposed to, say, emails, which get relegated to junk folders more often than not). That means that your candidate is extremely likely to see whatever it is you choose to write. Take advantage of this by starting strong. Be clear, concise, and professional (no emojis), while also selling the job. Take time to craft the perfect message; it will be worth it.


DO be personal and human.

No one likes getting a text message from a robot or auto-responder, or to feel like they’re one of a thousand people getting the exact same message. Use language that is personalized (that is, introduce yourself, call them by name, and demonstrate that you’ve noticed their skills and potential). Be conversational; avoid sounding salesy or over-generalized. Your text should sound like something you would say in person at a networking event, rather than something you would say on an infomercial. 


DO respond quickly and follow up.

Texting can allow you to communicate very quickly, but it can be frustrating if the communication feels one-sided. After you receive a reply, do your best to respond promptly. Answer their questions quickly, and direct them to where they can find more information (bonus: make sure the site or form you direct them to is optimized for mobile, since they’ll likely want to visit it right away from their phone). 


DON’T text for every job opening.

Texting is perfectly acceptable within some demographics—and completely unacceptable within others. Before you hit “send” in your messaging app, stop to think: is this position usually filled by the kind of person who will see texting as a professional recruiting tool? If not, you’re better off using more traditional methods to recruit them. 


DON’T text outside business hours.

One of the problems people have with texting is that it feels incredibly personal. A text to your personal cell phone number is something you would expect from a friend, not necessarily from a stranger who is trying to recruit you. One way to mitigate this, so that it feels less like an invasion of privacy, is to make sure to only send recruiting texts during business hours. Show the candidate that you respect their time, and that your text message is a professional communication, not a personal intrusion.


DON’T text repeatedly if you don’t get a response.

Again, this comes down to respecting privacy. If the candidate responds, that’s great—keep the conversation going. If not, cut your losses and move on. Don’t send repeated texts trying to elicit a response; it will only make you seem desperate, needy, or insensitive to the candidate. 


Using text messaging for recruiting is new territory for many recruiters, but by knowing and following these simple best practices, you’ll be able to learn a skill that will benefit you and your company for years to come. Happy texting!

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