We recently had a chance to sit down with Erik Kostelnik, Founder and CEO of TextRecruit, and Susan Vitale, Chief Marketing Officer of iCIMS, to discuss text and app-based recruiting and communication. Our conversation comes in light of iCIMS’s recent acquisition of TextRecruit.
HR Daily Advisor: In your experience, how do candidates prefer to communicate?
Erik: Today’s candidates are looking for speed and convenience when communicating with recruiters. People spend more time on their phones than on their computers, so recruiters are realizing that if they want to win the war for talent, most of their candidate conversations need to be over text messaging.
Susan: The use of mobile technology has been a game changer in talent acquisition and has permanently changed the way that employers and jobseekers communicate. Job seekers want the option to complete every part of the application and hiring process from anywhere, on the convenience of their phone. A couple years ago, having a mobile-optimized and mobile friendly career site was enough, but now jobseekers are looking for more. With research indicating that more than 90 percent of people read a text message within the first 3 minutes of receiving it, text messaging is becoming the preferred method to communicate with not only your friends, family, and colleagues, but also with your job candidates.
HR Daily Advisor: Do candidates want to use text messages and mobile apps instead of more common methods of communication like telephone and e-mail, or in addition to them?
Erik: Candidates want to use text messages and mobile apps in addition to common methods of communication like telephone and e-mail. Text messages are great for basic screening, scheduling times for phone interviews, and reminding new hires to check their e-mail for important paperwork.
Susan: The most progressive companies are changing their processes and adapting to the increased use of mobile devices, including our customers Banner Health, Aramark, Enterprise Holdings, and Sodexo. Many of our customers are seeing response rates of texting outperform open rates via e-mail and response rates over the phone. Although I don’t see traditional methods of communication completely being dissolved in the near future, I anticipate the use of text messaging in the recruitment process will continue to grow, especially for quick tasks and reminders.
HR Daily Advisor: What are the advantages of recruiting via text message and mobile apps?
Erik: Text messages have significantly better open rates and response times than e-mail. If a candidate receives a text message and an e-mail at the same time, they are almost always going to respond to the text first. A faster hiring process is a win-win situation for both recruiter and candidate.
Susan:TextRecruit provides a unique solution to connecting job candidates with companies by offering communication in a much quicker and more effective way. Candidates often feel like their résumé is entering a “black hole” when they apply online and go weeks without hearing back from the employer. This is a terrible experience for the candidate and could leave a bad impression on not just your employment brand, but also on your overall company brand. By integrating your ATS to a texting solution like TextRecruit, employers can quickly and easily update candidates. We are finding that recruiters and jobseekers both value the immediacy and convenience of connecting through texting.
One of our customers Sodexo, a global leader in the food services and facilities management industry, has seen a lot of success in integrating our talent acquisition platform with TextRecruit. They started a TextRecruit pilot with the intention of just using it for sourcing, but it become a communication tool that was integrated into the recruiters’ entire workflow at Sodexo. They received very positive responses from their candidates, so they expanded their use of TextRecruit from 10 to 40 recruiters.
OHL, an international construction and concessions company, has noted that the integration between iCIMS and TextRecruit has taken their candidate screening and interview scheduling process to the next level, and this has proven to be a real game changer for the recruiting team. The majority of positions that OHL recruits for are project managers, superintendents, and engineers who spend a lot of their working days out on construction sites, so they aren’t sitting at a desk on e-mail all day and are often not able to step away from a project site to answer a call from an unknown number. Utilizing texting has helped to significantly increase response rates because it has allowed OHL recruiters to quickly identify themselves and offer a convenient way for candidates to text back and schedule an interview, if they are interested.
HR Daily Advisor: Are there downsides? If so, how can companies mitigate them?
Erik: There are risks if recruiters text candidates from their personal phones. An inability to track candidate opt-outs, having to share recruiters’ phone numbers, and having candidate data on a personal device, are just a few of the problems that might come up. Recruiting teams need to be protective of candidate data, which is why we built a centralized candidate engagement solution.
HR Daily Advisor: Does it take a lot of special software and training to get up to speed when it comes to recruiting over text and through mobile apps?
Erik: TextRecruit was built to be easy to use and also integrates with more than 30 popular applicant tracking systems, HCMs, and CRMs. We don’t believe that a recruiter should have to completely change workflow to start texting candidates. Additionally, we provide all necessary training and onboarding to all of our customers, so recruiting teams can create winning campaigns right out of the gate.
HR Daily Advisor: Simplifying a recruiting process requires foregoing some aspects of traditional recruiting practices. Which practices, questions, and procedures are expendable in the interest of simplification?
Erik: It’s time for recruiters to say goodbye to lengthy and redundant job applications that cause people to drop off and reduce the size of candidate pipelines. We helped the Gap let people apply via text message from directly inside their stores, and they experienced a huge influx of new applicants. Employers should be making it as easy as possible for candidates to apply and communicate with their recruiters.
Susan: The world of recruitment has changed tremendously to create a richer candidate and user experience, but it can be stressful and time-consuming for recruiters to research, integrate, and report on multiple solutions. To solve that issue and simplify the recruiting process, employers are leveraging talent acquisition platforms that have the ability to operate seamlessly with other systems. Employers often purchase several solutions for their HR needs, including sourcing candidates, conducting background checks, performing assessments, collecting references, etc., so without a system of record to provide strong integrations between these solutions, it can be a disjointed experience. An iCIMS survey confirms that nearly 70 percent of recruiters believe that a fully integrated talent acquisition suite is the ideal solution to make best-fit hires quicker and easier. Having one centralized location for all HR data and solutions is essential to effectively manage every part of the hiring process and achieve an efficient recruiting and hiring experience.
Next, we’ll finish this Q&A with Erik and Susan, with a focus on how artificial intelligence and bots work with text and app recruiting.