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Avoid Common Mistakes in Text-Based Interviews

Originally published on ERE Recruiting Intelligence.

Many recruiters and HR professionals are using text-based recruiting platforms for the first time, and it can be challenging to learn how to best use this new method of connecting with talent. Here are a few ways to stay ahead of the curve, keep candidates at ease, and attract the best talent.

Don’t Become Spam

Consider adding language on applications or the “careers” page of your website indicating that you may contact qualified candidates through text for an initial screening interview. This way, when a candidate receives a text message from an unrecognized number, they won’t be surprised. In the initial text, explain who you are, your organization, and why you’re reaching out. Be personable (don’t come across robotic) and leave your contact information at the end.

If your first text looks like spam, it will likely become just that. If candidates have a good explanation of why they are being contacted via text, they should ease into the interview process.

Don’t Text Outside Traditional Business Hours

As candidates grow more accustomed to being contacted via text, recruiters must concentrate on not coming across as invasive. One of the easiest ways to avoid intruding on the candidate is by only reaching out during typical business hours, keeping their time zone in mind. Twenty-four percent of job seekers do not want to receive texts during non-business hours. Expect some candidates to reply outside of work hours, but reach out between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Don’t Be Too Professional

Text recruiting is a great way to start a conversation and get to know the candidate before a face-to-face interview or phone call. Through text, you can easily break the ice and show the personality of your recruiting team as well as the organization. Consider using emojis or Bitmojis, as long as they adhere to your employment brand. Have a casual conversation. That’ll allow the candidate’s personality to shine through so you can catch a glimpse of how they interact in everyday life.

Don’t sweat it if they aren’t answering back immediately. Text-based interviewing gives the candidate an opportunity to think about their responses thoroughly as opposed to improvising.

Don’t Ask Ordinary Questions

Most job interviews start the same way: “Tell me about yourself.” “What are your strengths?” “What are your weaknesses?” One way HR professionals and recruiters can use their unique approach to interviewing with technology is by creating templates and a convenient questions library to text candidates. Recruiters can then focus on sharing initial questions that solicit substantive conversations with the candidate.

Don’t Forget to Follow up

Just because you have secured an in-person interview doesn’t mean your job is done. Use text to connect with the candidate about follow-up questions, directions to the interview site, or any last-minute reminders before the in-person interview. Periodic check-ins after an interview can be helpful as well, keeping the company and interview top of mind. Text can even be useful when the candidate has accepted an offer. Recruiters and HR professionals can keep the conversation going by texting them “good luck” before their big first day.


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