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6 Tips and Tricks for Screening and Engaging Candidates via Text Message

This article was originally posted on Techpoint. 

With Forbes declaring 2018 “The Year of Employee Experience,” organizations that invested most heavily in EX were:

  • included 11.5 times as often in Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work
  • listed 4.4 times as often in LinkedIn’s list of North America’s Most In-Demand Employers
  • 28 times more often listed among Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies
  • listed 2.1 times as often on the Forbes list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies
  • twice as often found in the American Customer Satisfaction Index

Most importantly, “experiential organizations had more than 4 times the average profit and more than 2 times the average revenue. They were also almost 25 percent smaller, which suggests higher levels of productivity and innovation.”

With regard to employee experience, the more recent consideration in recruitment is the moment in which that relationship with employment branding starts. Recruiters are consciously reinforcing that the conception of employee experience is at the first touchpoint. Enter, the candidate experience.

As the first text-based interviewing platform, Canvas equips recruiters with tools to engage candidates from first contact all the way to first day of employment. (And, beyond, but that’s an entirely different blog post.)

We are confident that meeting your candidates where they are and screening them via text message is certainly the future of the Talent Acquisition Industry. And the transformation is happening fast. According to a Gallup poll as mentioned by CNBC, sending and receiving text messages is the most common form of communication for many Americans under 50, and still very attractive to those over 50.

At Canvas, not only are we excited to share our platform with recruiters to help them streamline their day-to-day activities, but we are also here to train on effective candidate engagement. This includes onboarding our customers with strategies and best practices to make sure they get a text back.

Transforming your screening practices takes time and effort. These tips and tricks for screening candidates via text message will get you started. (Emojis included.) 

1. Set a clear premise

Why are you reaching out? 🤔Clearly explain to your candidate why you are reaching out and how you’ve made the connection with them. Just as you would begin a phone screen or email with, “Hi, I’m Recruiter A from XYZ company, we met at the job fair in April…” a text-screen is navigated quite similarly. 

Creating relevance for the candidate is the perfect place to start the chat. Begin with some context and follow up with a question. It’s the business-casual portion of the interview that allows recruiters to form a relationship with their candidate and build some rapport.  

2. Speed and consistency are your friends

Use your question library to navigate through the most important screening questions before sharing your chat with the hiring manager. This also allows you to standardize the screening process and dive right in—fast. 

Your text-chats will help you gauge which candidates are the most interested. Immediately proceed to focusing on highly engaged applicants. Pass GO! and collect two-hundred dollars. 💸

As you evaluate your candidate pool, you’ll save yourself energy as you move more of the right candidates along your recruitment process faster.

3. Everybody, calm down. Your candidates are just thinking (or busy!)

One of the most frequent questions we get from process-oriented Talent teams is, “How quickly should our candidates be responding? If they don’t respond right away, should I assume they aren’t interested?” 

We would argue that immediate response time does not equal “most-qualified candidate” or even “best-answer.” Not to mention, people are busy! Text messaging is so handy because you can reply on your own time. Think of all the contacts, personal and professional, that you text in a given day…would you be able to communicate with as many people if you had to schedule a phone call with each person? Likely not. 🙅🏻‍♀️   

One of the biggest advantages of a text interview is that candidates have time to think of a rich response to each question. The asynchronous nature of the chat greatly benefits the candidate. They can take a deep breath and formulate a well-thought-out, succinct response to screening questions, and recruiters can relax knowing that thoughtful responses are much more valuable than the best off-the-cuff answer.

Taking the time to compose a well-written and convincing argument for why a recruiter should hire you is not only in the interviewee’s best interest but makes the decision process easier for the interviewer. 

4. Create a better candidate experience with text messaging

 To engage target job applicants, recruiters should promote positions as a product they’re trying to sell to the workforce.

Show candidates from their very first interaction with a recruiter what it’s like to work within the organization and how they might fit into the overall work environment. 👨🏽‍💻 Some great employment branding materials to send off to your candidates during the screening process include:

  • Job descriptions
  • A list of fun office perks
  • Photos of team off-sites and outings
  • Quick video tours of the workspace
  • Benefits packages
  • Maps for on-site visits

Strong employment brands can make a huge impact on a business by building the talent pipeline, improving the overall quality of the hire, and reducing cost per hire.

5. Use texting to connect with candidates before the in-person interview

 The time between scheduling an interview with a candidate and the actual interview is a crucial engagement period. You’ve already sent off the preliminary employment branding information to get them interested in your company, now is your chance to hook them even more before they come in for the interview.

Send them, “Meet the team” videos introducing the leadership team or the department of their interest for a personal touch. Fire off your favorite Bitmoji or GIF to cheer them on and wish them luck. Use Canvas’ scheduling feature to send them a Google Map pin of their interview location an hour or two before their interview. One click and they’re on their way, fully equipped with directions! 🎉

6. Don’t forget to stay engaged after the in-person interview as well!

Recruiting top-talent is not only an ongoing mission and a lot of hard work but is tied to some extreme pressure from employers. That’s why a recruiter’s job is so important, especially when an offer is on the table.

Try sending one of these post-interview texts:

After the interview:

“Hi awesome candidate, how did you feel about the interview? Let me know if you have any questions!”

After their offer is pending:

“I wanted to remind you that a response to your offer is due in a couple days. We would love to have you on the team and are excited to hear back!”

Before the first day:

“Good luck on your first day tomorrow! Text me if you need any help at all or some key tips, such as where the café is. 🍽😃”

Periodic check-ins with candidates reinforce the expert candidate experience you provided from the very beginning that magically transforms into the employee experience as their tenure at the company matures.

Retaining top talent isn’t an easy feat. CNN Money tells us that millennials will change jobs an average of four times by the time they’re 32. This is the new normal when it comes to recruiting the next generation of talent, which, according to Jobvite, is going to produce the most complex job-search tendencies than any prior generation. This is why Talent Acquisition professionals must take the leap and Text at the speed of Talent.  

That means there is no time to waste. Get to more of the right job candidates, faster, by realizing that candidates are just like us—on their tiny little computers that never leave their side. Their phones. 

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