Why are Organizations Still NOT Texting Candidates?

Tim Sackett ATS, Candidate Pool, HR Tech, Mobile, Networking, Recruiting, SHRM, Talent Acquisition, Talent Strategy, Tim Sackett

So, I spoke at an SHRM state conference last week. Great group of folks and I talked quite a bit about recruiting technology. It was a room of about 300 HR and talent pros/leaders who were struggling with hiring talent for their organization.

I asked them this question: “Raise your hand if you’re texting candidates to try and reach them.”

Less than 5% of the audience raised their hand!

“No, really, one more time, raise your hand if you use texting to reach candidates!”

Same result.

So, I had to ask “why,” when all the data tells us that candidates respond at a higher rate and faster to text messaging are we still not using it?

Here are some of the answers I was given:

  • We can’t text from our ATS.
  • Is it even legal to text candidates if they don’t give you permission?
  • We didn’t know candidates wanted to be connected with in this way.
  • We aren’t sure if our organizations will allow us to do this.
  • I won’t use my personal smartphone to text candidates.
  • We think candidates will be upset with us if we text them.
  • I wouldn’t want an employer to text me, so I’m not texting candidates.

These are all real! This is real-life corporate talent acquisition 2018, not 2008 or 1998! This is today!

SO, now I had to ask myself, why in an extreme-ultra-low unemployment environment would HR professionals think like this?

Because, for the most part, in most organizations, in most parts of the country, HR is still controlling talent acquisition. HR does not think like recruiters. HR, again, for the most part, tends to think like lawyers, not marketers.

It’s the reason why I still believe that talent acquisition in the corporate world should not report to HR, but should report to sales & marketing. I’ve run into new TA leaders in both large and small organizations recently that are also starting to see the reasons why this makes sense.

Here you have organizations that are feeling extreme pain around not being able to find talent, and for the most part, the people working in these functions aren’t looking to push the envelope, they’re looking for safe, conservative ways to fill their positions.

The best TA pros and leaders I know are asking for forgiveness right now, not for permission.

Our reality in talent acquisition in 2018 is that we need to be using every piece of technology available to us to connect with and contact candidates. Not knowing that using text messaging, or other technologies, will help your organization in a major way, is a failure of the profession – HR and talent acquisition.

How do we turn this around? I recommend one thing all the time – go demo recruiting technology! I also will add one more thing – go talk to your marketing and sales teams and ask them what they would do to get a hold of candidates if it was their job. I think you’ll be enlightened by how they would help you!


FOT Note:  We here at FOT like to think we get talent and HR at a different level. At the very least, we are probably going to have a different take than the norm. So it made perfect sense to ask Canvas to be an annual sponsor at FOT, where they’ll sponsor posts like this one, allowing FOT contributors to write, without restriction, on all things related to using new and innovative ideas in recruiting, like using text messaging to interview candidates. If you find yourself thinking, “Hey, I should really look into Canvas!” then go do it, I think you’ll love the technology! 

Tim Sackett

If you Google “Tim Sackett” you’ll find our Tim, and a truck driver chaplain. Our Tim is NOT the truck driver chaplain, although how awesome would that be if he was!? He is a prolific writer in the HR and TA space who just happens to also run an Engineering and IT contract staffing agency (HRU Technical Resources) out of Michigan. He also writes every day at his own blog, the Tim Sackett Project. Weirdly, he’s known as an expert in workplace hugging, which was kind of cool years ago, but now seems painfully creepy, but we still love him and he’s fairly harmless. Tim is also on the board of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), lifetime Michigan State Spartan fan, husband to a Hall of Fame wife, 3 sons, and his best friend Scout. He also wrote a book with SHRM called The Talent Fix, you can find it on Amazon.