More and more recruiters are now turning to text messaging as a means to engage with potential job candidates.
By Ray Bixler
Everyone texts. Your friends, your parents and even your grandparents probably text. Businesses text you when they’re having deals and Uber drivers text you when they have arrived at your address.
Texting has come a long way since T9, or text on nine keys, technology. It is now one of the most common ways humans communicate and has become an essential part of life. According to a Pew Research Center study, more than three-quarters of Americans now have a smartphone and texting is the most widely and frequently used app.
That’s why it should come as no surprise that texting has finally made its way into the hiring process. More and more recruiters are now turning to text messaging as a means to engage with potential job candidates. But it can be confusing as a job candidate to take a form of communication traditionally reserved for friends and family and begin using it in a professional manner.
So before you hit send on that text, there are couple of things you should consider:
Be aware of your options. A recent survey from recruitment media company Nexxt found that 73 percent of job seekers say they want to receive targeted jobs via text messaging. However, if texting with a recruiter makes you uncomfortable or texting is just not your preferred method of communicating, you should feel empowered to simply opt out of communicating in this fashion. Do not feel an obligation to text with a recruiter. Just explain you would prefer to be reached over email and provide your email address. Recruiters understand that texting is not the traditional way to speak with job candidates and most are more than willing to accommodate.
Be professional. Although recruiters are there to help you find a new job, they are not your friends – this is a professional interaction. You should be thinking about texting with a recruiter as just a more efficient way of communicating – all the same rules and etiquette of any traditional job interaction still apply.
And being professional means no emojis and no abbreviations. If you think it’s “gr8” that you have an interview scheduled, consider spelling out the word great. And that fun emoji? Don’t send it. Your Bitmoji? Definitely do not send that to a recruiter.
Being professional also means texting during traditional work hours. While you may have a recruiter’s cellphone number, that does not mean they want to hear from you at 10 p.m. on a Friday – or at 10 on any night for that matter. This is a working relationship, so communication should remain within traditional working hours.
Use your best judgment when texting with recruiters and think twice before you send that 1 a.m. text about how you’re “unavail b4 noon tmrw.”
Be prepared. Recruiters are not the only members of the hiring process that have begun texting. Some companies have begun using cloud-based reference checking solutions that allow job candidates and their references to communicate and facilitate reference check requests via text messaging. References who use a mobile device submit their feedback 18 percent faster than references who use a PC and there are even faster responses now that texting has been introduced, according to data from SkillSurvey.
If you’re asked to provide references and they may be contacted by a prospective employer via text, make sure your references are comfortable with this in advance. Let them know what may be coming their way – in the same way you should if you anticipate they will get a phone call about you.
There are real, tangible benefits to using texting in the recruiting and hiring process, and companies are just beginning to tap into this means of communicating. Some organizations have even begun conducting interviews over text.
As we move into an increasingly digitalized workplace environment, be prepared for texting to become a mainstream means of communicating – whether it’s with your colleagues, your boss or a recruiter.