Here’s How to Text For Success

Mar 25, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

There’s no doubt that texting is the way to recruit today. A full 60% of recruiters use texts to reach out to potential candidates.

And there’s a good reason for that. Texts have a 98% open rate compared to emails which have maybe a 22% open rate. This remarkable difference makes texting the communication of choice for recruiters.

But, just because a candidate opened your text doesn’t mean they’ll respond. Texting is a tool, and as a recruiter, you need to learn how to use it to your advantage. There are certain business text etiquettes to follow when texting a potential candidate.

Here are some tips on how to use texting as a successful recruiting tool:

Millennials vs. Baby-Boomers

There’s a definite generation gap when it comes to texting and recruiting. According to a study by Software Advice, 47% of candidates age 18 to 24 consider a text to be a professional means of recruiting. As the ages go up, this percentage goes down. Way down. Only 17% of candidates over 55 consider it to be professional. Therefore, it’s important to know who you’re sending the text to in order to avoid making a bad impression. For age groups over 45, you run a risk of alienating your candidate with a recruiting text.

Best Time to Send a Text

Candidates can choose when they look at an email, but a text will usually sound an alert and show up on their cell screen. Therefore, it’s important not to send it at an inappropriate time such as early in the morning or late at night. This may seem invasive and unprofessional, not to mention annoying. The  Software Advice study revealed that 24% of candidates prefer not to receive recruiting texts outside of regular business hours.

The best times to send texts is at the start of the work day and before lunch with 26% of candidates preferring to receive a text between 8-10 am and 29% preferring 12-2 pm. Only 7% preferred a text between 4-6 pm.

Helpful hint: Be aware of time zone differences when sending texts to recruiters in other cities or countries.

Recruiting Text Dos and Don’ts

DO send a short message (140 characters). Anything much longer warrants an email. To save precious space, you can use a URL shortener when including a link to your company’s site.

DO use professional yet simple language that makes your meaning clear (Dear X, are you free for an interview next week at X company?)

DO use spell check and be aware of mistakes caused by autocorrect.

DO leave your name, company, title and email.

DON’T use all caps, emoticons, shorthand or exclamation points. They look unprofessional, spammy and can also be confusing. Use a case converter tool to make it easier for you to send a professional looking text.

DON’T sound like an auto-generated message that was copied and sent to thousands of candidates. Instead, be conversational and address the candidate by name.

DON’T be pushy. (We request your presence for an interview next week at X time.) Nobody likes a recruiting bully.

Takeaway hint: Short, friendly and professional messages are winners.

What Exactly Should You Say, Exactly?

To make a general interview offer:

  • Dear X, Are you interested in X position with X company?
  • Dear X, Are you available to interview with us next week at X company?
  • Dear X, I’d like to invite you to interview with us at X company at X time on X day.

To get a referral:

  • Dear X, Do you have any colleagues who would be interested in X position with X company? Our company can offer you a referral bonus.

Helpful Hint: Don’t forget to leave your name, company, title and email.

How to Follow-Up

If you’ve followed the above advice and gotten a positive response from a candidate, congratulations! But, you haven’t filled your position just yet. At this point, you should consider that texting may not be appropriate for your next communication with them. There are several reasons for that:

  • You’ll probably need to send them more information about the company, the job offer, details of the interview, etc. It’s simply too much information to include in a text. Send an email with this information instead.
  • 31% of job seekers feel that recruiters should use another form of communication after the first text. 39% felt that two texts is an appropriate number before switching to email or phone calls. From there, the numbers drop drastically. Only 5% of job seekers feel it’s acceptable for a recruiter to send more than four texts.

Being aware of this will help you successfully retain the interest of your candidate after they respond to your initial recruiting text.

Texting is a recruiting agent’s new best friend. Use these tips to leverage texting to your advantage and avoid making rookie recruiting mistakes.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.