How to Use Text Messages to Recruit Candidates - Glassdoor for Employers

3 Ways Texting Keeps Candidates Engaged

As with most other fields, technology has had a major impact on the HR and recruiting industry. With the adoption of online tools and communication platforms, finding, vetting and hiring candidates has become more streamlined and data-driven.

While technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality may be the new, shiny objects that dominate media headlines, recruiters must also keep up to date on how candidates prefer to be contacted and stay engaged once they are part of the consideration pool. In a competitive job market, like we are faced with today, even the most creative outreach and robust candidate-engagement strategies can fall on deaf ears if the message is delivered via the wrong channel.

Communication channels like email, phone, LinkedIn messaging and other social media profiles can be beneficial for a certain pool and type of candidate, but if you find good candidates becoming unresponsive or dropping out of the hiring process, you may want to add text messaging into the mix as part of your omnichannel communications strategy. With today’s passive millennials and an always-on culture, texting can provide the brief, immediate exchange of information that this type of job seeker needs to stay engaged and moving through the process. Depending on the size of your candidate pool, technology like text-automation software can assist in your outreach and organization strategy, as well as provide data to make better-informed decisions along the way.

Here are three ways to use text messaging to move candidates down the funnel and ultimately make better hires.

1. Schedule a call or interview

If you’re hoping to “catch” a candidate for a private phone conversation on the fly, expect to receive voicemail often. Why? It could be for several reasons. The first is the candidate may be at work and not in a position to take the call. Second, candidates want to prepare for an important call that pertains to his or her career vs. talking unexpectedly. Lastly, if you are calling from unrecognized number (one where the business name doesn’t appear), it will be regarded as spam - if you don’t leave a message and call again, well, you may be blocked by the recipient all together.

Use text messaging to bypass these barriers and ask for a scheduled time to talk on the phone. Identify yourself, keep it short and simple, and offer a few times that work on your end (vs. asking an open-ended “when are you available).

2. Send a reminder

Your expectation is that a candidate should have the capacity to show up for scheduled appointments or calls without hand holding. This is not an unrealistic expectation, as your time is valuable and tardiness or missing an appointment wastes that time.

However, a quick text-message reminder is worth the effort. We are all human and make human errors. Even the best candidate can enter a date, time or location wrong, and the missed appointment could take them out of the running for good...ultimately impacting who you hire. Sending a reminder text the day before the appointment or call with location, date, time and name of involved people ensures that all candidates have the right information and that human error doesn’t come into play as often.

3. Communicate the next steps

Many candidates enter no-man’s-land after completing a step in the interview process. Whether they are moving forward in the process or have been cut loose, candidates deserve to know where they stand and next steps. Even if the answer is no, texting to thank the candidate for their time and alerting him that you are moving in another direction will close the loop and prevent you from having a heap of follow-up messages from candidates looking for an answer.

On the flip side, texting candidates who are moving forward in the process is also a way to gain a competitive advantage in today’s healthy job market. Thanking candidates for their time, communicating any delays in the process and being clear on next steps will keep you top of mind and promote goodwill among the candidates.

The benefits of text messaging in the recruiting process are clear, but it shouldn’t stop there. Once a candidate is hired, use text to communicate a welcome message and set up a message to wish her luck on her first day. No matter the size of your candidate pool, executing an omnichannel communications approach is recommended, using a mix of channels that allow for both speed and creative recruiting strategies to help you hire the best candidates.


Darren Bounds is the CEO and Founder of Breezy HR, the applicant tracking system that keeps hiring human. As a passionate, design-minded technologist and serial entrepreneur, Darren has over a decade's experience building HR tech that puts people first. Darren is also the former VP of Technology at Taleo, the world's largest provider of HR software solutions. Darren believes great design can save the world and that HR should be human. When he's not building products, he’s probably thinking about building products.