If you call me and get my voicemail, it tells you the fastest way to reach me is to hang up and text.
I’m not alone in my hatred of phone calls–messaging is the number one usage of smartphones. People love messaging apps of all sorts and hate phone calls. So, it makes sense that texting should start to take over recruiting.
It’s not the solution to hiring Millennials and Gen Z (as if there is any one-size-fit-all solution to any generation), but it does have a certain appeal to those who grew up with a phone in their hands and yet never talk on one.
Well, you say, we don’t need to text– that’s what email is for. And that is also true–but email isn’t the preferred communication method of today. Some businesses have even gotten rid of email in favor of other tools. For a good reason–text responses come 60 times faster than email responses.
But, texting can also be informal, and the language you may use with your friends is probably not the language you want to use in business communications with someone you’re trying to impress. (Remember, recruiters need to impress candidates just as much as candidates need to impress recruiters.) So, here are some guidelines for using texting for recruiting.
Write like a grownup
By grownup, I don’t mean someone who is 18. I mean, like your high school English teacher. Or your mother, if she were a high school English teacher. Sentences start with a capital letter and end with a period, a question mark, or (very rarely) an exclamation point. When referring to oneself, it is a capital I. Words do not have letters in them. Every word gets a vowel. Am I making myself clear?
Texting may be convenient, but it shouldn’t be sloppy. You want clear communication, and you’re often speaking to people from different backgrounds. Use standard English, even if it comes via text.
Allow people time to respond
Just because texting is fast doesn’t mean you should expect an instant answer. People are busy, or they may want to think about their answers. A read message doesn’t mean a response needs to come in the next 30 seconds. Unless you made an appointment for texting time, allow 24 hours to respond–especially if it’s an in-depth question.
Give people options
While my teenagers can use their thumbs faster than I can type (or so it seems), a lot of people are better with a keyboard. Use a texting function that can also be used on a computer if you’re going to do more than schedule meetings via text. If someone says they prefer email or “can we just jump on a call,” consider doing that. Remember, recruiting is a two-way street, and sometimes the old fashioned ways are better and more efficient.
This is not the place for an in-depth interview
I’m a writer and would love to do a whole job interview in written form. I can think and edit before I hit send. (But I’ll still miss the autocorrect–my phone believes I want to say “gave” instead of “have” every time.) Not everyone is like me. (Thankfully!)
Texting can be a part of your recruiting process, but it shouldn’t be your entire process. It’s just like the phone screen, the background check, or the formal interview–a piece of the process. It can be a handy piece but don’t rely on it entirely.
This post is sponsored by Emissary, an app that helps with text-based recruiting.