Can You Text Me Now? How To Leverage Text Messaging for Recruiting

Texting. It’s something we all do countless times a day now. We text our friends, family, and bosses. We receive text messages giving us our security codes, receipts from credit card transactions, and reminding us of our doctor’s appointments. But, how many of us can say we’ve been texted about a specific, legitimate job opportunity? As it gets harder and harder to stand out among of the sea of bad recruiter emails and boring voicemails, our company Kinetix thought there had to be another way to cut through all the noise to reach candidates. That’s why we turned to text messaging.

Until recently, Kinetix was also guilty of not utilizing this ubiquitous technology that we’re already using in all other areas of our lives. After having a little trouble reaching candidates in a hard-to-recruit-for position, we turned to a texting platform and tried a couple of different campaigns. On our first go-around, we went through a resume provider and used one of their candidate self-selection lists. We texted roughly 1,000 candidates with a message that included a link to a mobile-friendly application. We received a 20% response rate and roughly 5 applications from those efforts. Most of the responses we received were people telling us they weren’t actually in that occupation and therefore weren’t qualified for our opportunity. While better results than a typical email campaign, we were disappointed with the quality of candidates and responses we received.

As we evaluated the platform and the previous campaign results, we decided a different path was needed if we wanted to be successful at text recruiting. For the next try, we built a list ourselves and adjusted some parameters around the campaign. We received a 45% response rate and will end up with multiple hires from these efforts. The responses we received were engaging and inquisitive and helped us achieve a winning campaign. The question is, what did we do differently the second time?

  1. Data Quality Matters. After having little success with another provider’s list, we took some time to build a quality list of known individuals in that particular occupation. Having a quality list can go a long way in ensuring a high response rate and ultimately a successful effort. Taking the extra step of sourcing a list of candidates was key.
  2. Craft a Winning Message. On our first try, we went with a simple 2-sentence intro message that invited candidates to apply to our job posting right away if they were interested. Few took us up on that and either requested more information or ignored us. We adjusted and let the 2nd campaign play out more like a two-way conversation. We invited candidates to ask us questions and offered up more details on the positions we had available. We didn’t immediately jump to the application process and really engaged the people who responded.
  3. Nail the Details. Texting is a more intimate form of communication and may feel uncomfortable or intrusive at first. To help alleviate those concerns, nail the details beforehand to set yourself up for success. Think about the right time of day to text someone. Texting early in the morning or late at night isn’t the same as emailing someone during those hours and may turn them off from your message. Remember to identify yourself and your company and the exact position you’re recruiting for.

After adjusting some of the details and building a better list, we were able to have great success and fill our pipeline with quality candidates. Candidate behavior is evolving and our recruiting industry has to evolve with them to stay relevant and find great people for our roles. If you’re ready to take the leap into text recruiting and need some advice, hit us up at Kinetix and we’ll be happy to share our text recruiting knowledge with you.

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Patrick is the Marketing Communications Lead at Kinetix, specializing in marketing campaign delivery and analysis. As a data junkie, he can be found in the lab looking at charts, spreadsheets, and campaign results while blasting Radiohead on his headphones. Want to chat? You can find Patrick on Twitter or LinkedIn or via email at pward@kinetixhr.com

6 Comments

  1. Birch Faber says:

    Hi Patrick, thanks for sharing those excellent tips. Each of those three points has proven true for the HR teams using TextRecruit to communicate with candidates. I’d also add that personalizing messages using candidate’s first names and allowing people to opt out from receiving text messages will increase that response rate and improve the overall candidate experience even more. Happy text recruiting!

  2. Justin says:

    Very interesting article. In my organization we’ve tried this on the small scale, texting 60-70 leads for a single position, and had some success. I’d be interested in knowing what technology you used to text 1,000 people. I would assume you didn’t individually text them.

    • Patrick says:

      Hi Justin, the platform we used is the one referenced above by Birch, TextRecruit.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’m curious about the technology as well. I’m doing some recruiting for positions and I believe the target audience will respond to this medium well.

    • Patrick says:

      Hi Jennifer, the platform we used was TextRecruit. Thanks for reading!

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