Even though mobile phones and texting are pervasive, it’s important to realize that communication preferences vary from individual to individual. It’s also critical to recognize that the things that makes texting such a powerful recruiting tool – that’s it’s direct and highly personal – are the same things that make observing best practices so important.
Best Practices for Recruiting by Text Message
Get Permission from Applicants
Text messages are governed by different laws and standards than email. Employers will want to consider how the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) may apply to different types of recruitment texting activity. Recruiting leaders should consult their legal counsel and get comfortable with the ins and outs when formulating a text recruiting strategy and related policies. Creating sensible policies isn’t hard, but it is critical from a risk management and compliance standpoint.
In addition, you can use the process of getting consent to highlight text messaging as a benefit to applicants and prospects. After all, faster, easier communication is good for recruiters and job seekers alike!
Consider Compliance Requirements
Does your organization use texting to recruit? If your answer is no… are you sure? There’s a good chance that some recruiters within any given organization are using personal devices to communicate with candidates by text. That could be good for results, but bad for compliance because there is no centralized record of communications. Using personal devices, or even dedicated company devices, also makes it difficult to exercise effective oversight to ensure that company guidelines are followed.
Text messaging activity is increasingly likely to be included in compliance audits, so make sure your bases are covered. Follow all of the same protocols—business and legal—that you would in written, email or telephone conversations.
Define Messaging Standards for Recruiters
Texting should be professional and consistent with your employment brand, just like any other type of communication. So, it’s helpful to provide high level guidelines to your recruiting team to ensure that everyone is on the same page about internal practices.
Communicate Clearly with Candidates
The best text outreach messages get straight to the point. In any initial contact, you must answer three key questions in order to get the best possible response:
Who are you?
“Hi, this is Susan, I’m a recruiter at Acme Global…”
Why are you reaching out?
“I’m reaching out because you applied to an Account Director position with us…”
What do you want to happen next?
“Are you free sometime this week for a conversation?”
If you answer all three questions up front, there’s no room for confusion. As the conversation progresses and you develop a rapport, messages will naturally become more conversational and free flowing, but will rest on a solid foundation. Setting context and expectations up front maximizes engagement.
Adding text messaging to your recruiting process is will make your recruiting efforts faster and easier for years to come. That should make it easy to justify the modest time and energy required to put best practices firmly in place at the outset.