My Candidates Don’t Want Me to Text Message Them!

Tim Sackett candidate experience, Communication, Email, Mobile, Mobile Recruiting, Recruiting, Tim Sackett 2 Comments

I was speaking to a group of HR pros and leaders recently and this 50-ish-year-old guy says this to me, “Tim, I hear you telling everyone we should be texting candidates, but my candidates don’t want me to text them!”

Really!?!

What I really say: “If you are in talent acquisition today and you are not texting candidates, you should be fired!” I actually do say that and believe it!

Here are the candidates who would prefer you text them about a job:

  • Women
  • Men
  • Non-binary people
  • White folks
  • Black folks
  • Every color of folks
  • Democrats
  • Republicans
  • Socialists
  • Communists
  • Libertarians
  • Heterosexuals
  • LGBTTQQIAAP individuals
  • Metrosexuals
  • Americans
  • Non-Americans
  • Russians
  • Chinese (but use WhatsApp)
  • Young people
  • Old people
  • Middle-aged people
  • Extroverts
  • Introverts
  • All kinds of verts
  • People who want a job.

Here are the people who don’t want you to text them about a job:

  • People who put tin foil on their head because they think the government is reading their minds
  • People who want to be ‘off the grid’ and don’t own a cell phone.

So, I said come sit next to me you fine fellow and tell me who are these candidates you speak of that don’t want to be sent a text message about those awesome jobs you have?!

He said, he works with “professionals” –white collar folks–and his candidates expect a “high-touch” experience. They would find it impersonal if I were to text them. They expect (again) “professionalism” from me, and text messaging isn’t professional.

No, but wasting their time is completely “professional” (I just thought this, I didn’t say it out loud–I wanted to help)!

Here’s the thing that the data is really clear on…most people in the job market, who are willing to listen to your job pitch, are fine with you reaching out via text message. You will have some who don’t prefer it, but you can’t classify those who don’t want you to send them a text message by age, sex, or profession. It’s a very specific thing and a very rare thing in today’s age.

You’ll find that the same number of people who hate when you send them text messages hate your phone calls, or hate your emails, or hate your InMails, or hate your Facebook messaging, etc.

I don’t believe that there’s one type of candidate that doesn’t want you to text message them. All of my own testing has shown that every type of candidate on a percentage basis actually prefers text messages. But, test it out on your own, measure your response rates and then tell me I’m wrong!


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.

Comments 2

  1. Can’t say I love sponsored blogs, Tim. But running a sponsored TV show, I know it is possible to keep them at arm’s length and still do good work. But you do listen to their suggestions just a little bit more than if you were weren’t cashing their checks, right.

    As for recruiters texting candidates, I remember at least 10 years go Taleo announcing that it would be a new feature in the next release. “Brilliant,” I thought, “at least for the cohort I was then told never answered their cell phones!” And in fact, were a little puzzled by the noise it made sometimes. Like the people in Silicon Valley, who think that black plastic thing on their desk is only for conference calls, which they can mute, and return e-mail.

    Naturally, Taleo never did it. But I’ve been asking every ATS vendor ever since if they offer it — right from the application. Seems like table stakes in 2019.

  2. I have been a recruiter for over 20 years….and I am not saying how many years over. I hate to text. But I do it because it is easier for someone to answer from work and they don’t have to call their voice mail to do it. Once you have made the connection, then ASK them how they want to communicate. Then you only have to use text to say “Hey I sent you an email.”

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