Text Messaging: Almost Dead or Alive and Kicking?

Tim Sackett Canvas, Recruiting, Tim Sackett

When you think about “text messaging” what comes to mind? Anything? It seems like we’ve taken text messaging for granted, which I believe is a good thing. We now text message each other across all generations. My mother is 72 years old and she would rather text “Happy Birthday” than call me!

I’ve got three kids who are GenZ, two in college one in Jr. High. They’ve never not (I know double negative) known a time when they couldn’t use text messaging. But, they also communicate via other messaging/chat apps with their friends. So, I wondered, is text messaging going to die and these other chat-type apps going to take over?

The thing is, text messaging isn’t shrinking in usage, it’s growing! More text messages are sent today than last year, and more will be sent next year than today.

My question will continue to be, why hasn’t text messaging become the single most used way of communication in recruiting? If we know that most people prefer this form of communication, why haven’t talent acquisition shops gone full text in their communication?

One reason is most technology in talent acquisition hasn’t caught up yet. Texting out of most ATSs is still clumsy as best, and we think add-on technologies that enable us to text easily are still too expensive. The reality is, the expense of adding into your stack this form of communication might be the largest ROI of any technology in your stack.

If you’re lucky, today you’re getting 5-10% reply via email. Getting 25-35% reply via text message reduces your cost three-to-four fold, if not more. And we know that 25-35% replies from text messages are low!

When I talk to the best recruiters, I know the pushback is all about the relationship. The best talent wants more high-touch communication when it comes to being recruited. I don’t deny this. What I deny is that same talent also doesn’t like to bothered for quick, easy communication (via text) once you have established a baseline relationship.

Text messaging doesn’t replace all of your communication, but it could replace the majority of email and phones calls you do now if used in a strategic manner. My strategy is to increase the use of text messaging for recruiting in three ways:

1. Hourly hiring, mass recruitment, first reach-out and screening. You need to start testing mass texting.

2. Check-ins and updates for the top talent you have in play. This used to be email messages, but it can now be a text message.

3. Mobile engagement with your talent pools. Again, we love using email for this, but we should be adding some text messages to engage our talent pools as well.

Hit me in the comments. I would love to know two things: 1) How are you finding success using text messaging in recruitment? 2) What is stopping you from using more text messaging in your recruitment?



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!