Pros and Cons to Using Text Messages in Your Recruiting Process

The hiring and recruiting process can often seem to drag on for employers and potential employees. Businesses often look for ways to speed up the process, both to improve time-to-hire and also to create a favorable impression among candidates, which will increase the chances of the offer being accepted.

One way employers are improving the speed of their hiring process is by including multiple forms of communication to reach candidates quickly and easily. One example is using text messages to communicate with candidates. Text messages are instant and often elicit faster responses than other forms of communication. They’re a way to reach the candidates quickly and keep them apprised of their status in the hiring process.

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons to adding text messaging to your recruiting process.

Benefits of Using Text Messages in Your Recruiting Process

Here are some of the possible benefits of using text messages as part of your recruiting process. Text messages:

  • Allow you to stay in contact with candidates easily because messages can be sent to multiple recipients simultaneously.
  • May be a better way to reach out to some candidates. Some people may be better able to reply via text than take a phone call at any given moment, especially those who are currently employed somewhere else.
  • Provide a form of written documentation, unlike a phone conversation.
  • May speed up the recruiting process, allowing you to get answers faster and communicate better.
  • May improve the impression candidates have of the process, since you’ll be better able to stay in contact more often.
  • Are a form of communication the younger generation may be more comfortable with. It’s often said that Millennials (and even some in Generation X) prefer texting to calling. This could mean the company will be viewed more favorably for using a preferred form of communication.
  • Can be a way to reach out to passive candidates, and could be seen as much more personal than a cold e-mail. Text messages also have higher response rates than e-mails for this type of communication.
  • Can make the organization appear to be more approachable and communicative, which can be a positive characteristic in the eyes of potential new employees.
  • Can even be used to send short screening questions to candidates, thus making it easier to create a short list, and perhaps even shortening the interview process. It could be used in lieu of phone screen and, if done well, can be more efficient because multiple conversations can occur at the same time. Some aspects of this process can even be automated to maximize efficiency.
  • Are a means to get information to candidates faster, as some people check text messages immediately but may be away from e-mail for longer periods of time.
  • Are a natural way to connect for those who are always on their mobile device—which includes many jobseekers.
  • Are a way around scheduling issues. Text messages can be answered whenever the recipient has time and remove the need to worry about whether both parties are available at the same moment—unlike a phone call.
  • Are brief, by default.
  • Are an easy way to send reminders.

Drawbacks of Using Text Messages in Your Recruiting Process

Here are some of the possible drawbacks of using text messages as part of your recruiting process. Text messages:

  • Could inadvertently ignore some candidates who do not utilize text messaging features. It’s a risk to assume that everyone texts.
  • Could be costly for candidates who do not have unlimited text messages. This may be a frustration or may even cause a candidate to drop out of the process.
  • May mean you have to manage multiple communication streams, since not all candidates will be reachable via text. You’ll also need to be able to record the messages in whatever applicant tracking system you use, so your system will need to integrate the information from the texts. If not integrated into the existing system, businesses will lose valuable information about the hiring process.
  • Could cause inadvertent discrimination if you’re not careful. You certainly don’t want to disqualify someone over not utilizing text messages, as that could be easily construed as disqualifying someone based on economic status—which would likely appear to be discriminatory as it could have a disparate impact on some protected groups. (That said, it’s more likely that someone with a low income will have a phone than a computer, so this could still be a net benefit if used properly.) It could also appear to be discriminatory based on age, since older individuals are less likely to text frequently. Be careful not to exclude and not to require texting.
  • May create a situation where employees are working extra hours. If nonexempt team members are texting with candidates, it may mean they’re more likely to be working from home—which may open up liabilities to pay for additional work hours or overtime.
  • May create additional liabilities. For example, it may not be wise to send unsecured links via text message if those links connect to an application that may include personal details. Don’t do anything that could jeopardize the individual’s personally identifiable information if the text ends up being sent to the wrong number. Another concern is ensuring that candidate data is secure and not easily hacked. It’s a good practice to use secure platforms when sending text messages to reduce such risks. (Check to see if your Human Resources Information System can send encrypted messages).
  • May be viewed as less professional to some.

In short, be careful with how you text, and ensure that you’re not excluding anyone—even inadvertently—as a result of adding texting to the process. Ensure that the texts are being recorded just like any other written communication would be.

What other tips have you found when integrating text messaging into your recruiting process?