If You’re Not Texting, You’re Not Recruiting

So, the other day I was in Home Depot picking up a few items when I noticed something that confirmed a trend.

By texting a short code to a certain phone number, job seekers can opt in to receive information on opportunities at Home Depot. I have been seeing this strategy in practice for some time now and fully expect it to become standard in the very near future. To date, I have noticed in action with various retail opportunities and fast food restaurants.

WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE ABOUT SHORT CODES?

What I admire about this process is that once someone has opted in to receive job alerts, presumably the system can customize the alerts to a candidate’s location. I imagine that if I opted in to learn of Home Depot opportunities, I would only get information related to the Home Depot I was presently in and/or within a few miles of my present location. I also imagine that I would engage with a chatbot and release my zip code information which would allow their system to pitch me jobs that are near my home address; something I would appreciate and applaud. Why? Let me count the ways.

  • Posting a job in Atlanta would result in resumes from people all over the city. While it is possible that someone would be willing to travel from one end of the city to the other for an opportunity, after awhile retention may be an issue as they would likely seek a job closer to home.
  • Some resumes do not list their zip codes. More than likely, a recruiter would want to target candidates closest to the retail outlets they are recruiting for. Without that knowledge, a recruiter’s work increases exponentially as they try to qualify as many candidates as they can.

Oh! While I’m thinking about it, short codes are an option with Emissary.ai. Well worth a peek if you are not already engaged with them.

AND HAVE I MENTIONED COMPLIANCE ISSUES?

A recent study found a “a striking persistence of racial discrimination in U.S. labor markets.” White applicants receive 36% more callbacks than black applicants and 24% more than Hispanic applicants. The reason behind this is often unintentional and/or unconscious biases. Consider this quote from the study I am citing.

“Many scholars have argued that discrimination in American society has decreased over time, while others point to persisting race and ethnic gaps and subtle forms of prejudice. The question has remained unsettled due to the indirect methods often used to assess levels of discrimination. We assess trends in hiring discrimination against African Americans and Latinos over time by analyzing callback rates from all available field experiments of hiring, capitalizing on the direct measure of discrimination and strong causal validity of these studies. We find no change in the levels of discrimination against African Americans since 1989, although we do find some indication of declining discrimination against Latinos. The results document a striking persistence of racial discrimination in US labor markets.”

When engaging candidates via text, biases are assuaged to non-existence. Recruiters can’t hear or see applicants via text and make wrong assumptions based on assumed demographics.

TEXTING IS TOO CONVENIENT TO IGNORE

We are currently in a great economy with unemployment at historic lows. It is an employer’s best interests to make opportunities as attractive and as seamless as possible to apply to. According to a 2018 study by Indeed.com, the majority of people currently employed are considering a job change. Consider these stats:

    • 71% of workers admit to active job searching or at least openness to a new opportunity
    • Among all employed adults, 65% look at new opportunities within 3 months of starting their new job
    • 58% of workers look at other jobs at least every month
    • 72% of adults keep track of other open jobs in the market, regardless of their current status

As encouraging as these stats may be for recruiters seeking talent, most likely they are not in a position to respond to a recruiter’s call at work; especially in light of the trend of open offices. However, texting allows for a quick and unobtrusive way for recruiters to connect that a candidate can appreciate.

OTHER STATS TO CONSIDER

According to multiple sources:

  • 90% of SMS messages are read in the first 3 minutes
  • 82% of people say they open every text message they receive
  • 19% of links in text messages are clicked
  • 45% is the average response rate for SMS

According to MarketingProfs:

  • The response rate of SMS text message marketing is 45% vs email response rates at 6%

According to GSMA:

  • It takes the average person 90 seconds to respond to a text message

According to eWeek:

  • 80% of people use texting for business purposes.

I think texting should be the industry standard for the least of all reasons, it is effective in location based recruiting, reduces bias and is extremely popular with the general population. Honestly, it is difficult to find a reason why a company should not already be experimenting with texting to some extent. But, I am open to debate. Send me a text and we can discuss it.

Killer Robots are Real and They’re Coming to Get You!

One of my favorite sci-fi films of all time is The Terminator. In case you have not seen these or the other Terminator films, the movies are about killer robots making war against the human race. I remember watching the film and being terrified, eventhough I knew it was just a movie. Now, I am just as nervous as I was then because the possibility of killer robots is more real than its ever been. Wait until you hear what I have to share on this episode of Jim Stroud podcast.

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How To Turn Job Descriptions into Marketing Pieces

In this episode of “Its All Recruiting” (IAR), I discuss job descriptions as marketing pieces with Rob Kelly, Chief Ongiggitizer at Ongig.com. During our conversation we brainstormed a variety of ideas with one in particular being sure to cause a shudder throughout the HR world. Tune in the find out what it is and to do it yourself, before anyone else.

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ABOUT ONGIG

Check out Ongig’s job description software. Ongig helps employers create awesome job descriptions that attract, engage, and convert candidates.

ABOUT OUR GUEST

Rob Kelly is a 4-time CEO, author and proud father of Maverick! Rob is now CEO of Ongig, a software business whose mission is to transform job descriptions to boost quality candidates and diversity.

Rob was previously CEO for companies in the fields of dating advice, healthcare and live music.

Rob began his love of business early, attending his first shareholder & board meetings when he was 16 years old. He began his career as a journalist and has interviewed such business titans as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Andy Grove.

Rob is the author of the book An Enlightened Entrepreneur: 57 Meditations On Kicking @$$ In Business & Life and still loves to write.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance & Economics from the University of Bridgeport and has completed programs at Stanford University, Harvard Law School , The Syracuse University International Business Program in London and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

A Good Manners Guide For Recruiters Texting Candidates

Would you talk to your boss the same way you talk to your best friend? Probably not. However, with so much time spent on texting in general, it’s easy to make a misstep. Using a funny gif or character emoji to explain your feelings on a sporting event with friends is perfectly acceptable whereas a similar expression to a business colleague is not. 

A recent Pew research study cited that 97% of Smartphone users text regularly. Such being the case, it is highly likely that the texting habits you develop in your personal life may bleed over into your professional text communications. To prevent that from happening, please consider the following strategies. 

BRAND YOUR CONTACTS DIFFERENTLY:

When adding a work contact into your phone, use a company logo for their picture. This will remind you that it is a work acquaintance. 

Have different ringtones for different purposes. For example, the default ringtone could be for contacts you are unfamiliar with. “Working 9 to 5” could be a ringtone for people you work with, “We are Family” for relatives and the theme from “Friends” for your friends. Likewise, do the same for the text tones for your various contacts as well. 

The hope is that if you get in the habit of receiving visual and audible cues, you would have trained yourself to be in business mode vs personal mode before you begin texting. 

WHEN NOT TO TEXT

My iPhone has a “do not disturb” function that automatically activates every night at bedtime and deactivates in the morning. During those hours I receive no calls, texts or notifications with the exception of the contacts I have added to my favorites. In this way, only a select few have access to me at all times. 

A variation of this practice could be applied during office hours so that only a select few can interrupt you during the work day. You would still receive texts from all others but the text tone would be silent. You may still have the urge to check for new texts every so often but it would not be due to a distracting notification. You may want to condition yourself to check for texts at specific points in the day; lunchtime or coffee breaks for example. Admittedly, I know it is a difficult habit for most Americans to adopt. 

I think this is a good practice if you are easily distracted and prone to do the following:

  • Texting while in a business meeting.
  • Texting when interacting with a customer in person.
  • Texting while offering customer service over the phone.
  • Texting during a business meal with clients.
  • Texting when engaged in a conference call.

TEXTING IS GOOD FOR SELLING 

All that being said, for some workers, texting is a key communication tool between them and their clients. Gabe Larsen, VP of Marketing and Sales Development for InsideSales.com is a strong proponent of using texting in B2B sales. In a recent post on LinkedIn, he said this:

I’ve been calling you out for not texting and finally someone listened. Kudos Kyle Willis and Directive for stepping up. Kyle just texted me out of [the] blue and I’m going to listen to his his pitch

– Yes, he texted me cold

– No, I’m not going to sue him

– Yes, it could have turned out bad

– No, I have no clue how he got my number

– Yes, I’m glad he did it

– No, I’ve not looked at my email inbox today

– Yes, I believe he was probably nervous to do it 

EVERYBODY HAS A SMARTPHONE, SO WHY NOT?

I found this encouraging as it puts me in mind of recruiting. If texting can be used successfully for business development, I imagine it would be compelling for recruiting. In a very real way, it only makes sense when you consider data from Pew Research which says 95% of adults own a cell phone and 77% own a smartphone. In the 18-49 age group, 89% own a smartphone. And according to the same research, 1 in 5 adults use a smartphone only and do not have home broadband internet access. About a quarter of US adults say they are “constantly online.”

What is even more encouraging is the penetration of the practice of searching for jobs on mobile phones.  According to recent data from Indeed.com:

“While Millennials may be the most active on mobile — 78% used mobile devices to find jobs as of  2016 — Gen Xers aren’t far behind, with around 73% searching for work on mobile devices. In recent years, Baby Boomers have seen the highest increase in mobile job search among the three generations, with around 57.2% of Boomers active in 2016, up from just 51.2% in 2014.”

BUT, DO JOB SEEKERS APPROVE? SOME DO, SOME DON’T. SOME DON’T CARE

If candidates are searching for jobs on mobile phones and are psychologically tethered to their mobile phones, it is a reasonable assumption that they may wish to connect with potential employers via text as well. An educated guess is at best, still a guess and I wanted some data to validate my suspicions. After some time online, I found some interesting research from Software Advice. They surveyed jobseekers and detail their findings in the blog post – How Do Job Seekers Feel About Recruiting Via Text? [Survey]  and this was a key finding:.

‘According to job seekers, inappropriate texting scenarios with recruiters include texting during non-business hours (14 percent), texts unrelated to job hunting (12 percent) and texting the results of an interview (10 percent).”

By the way, I spoke with Emissary.ai concerning this stat and they corroborated it having seen similar findings with their product.  

In light of these survey findings, I have more best practices to suggest when texting candidates. 

  • Get permission to text someone before engaging them. Not everyone has unlimited data for texting and unless they are notified beforehand, they might regard your outreach as spam. Towards that aim, give them an option to receive text messages when applying online for a job. Moreover, use email and/or phone calls for initial contact and mention that you are available for text follow-up. 
  • Once you have obtained permission from candidates, be sure to limit texts to traditional business hours and those to be restricted to the candidate’s job hunting progress. 
  • I would also stress that information related to interview results should be over the phone and/or in-person and not via text as that is regarded as too impersonal. 

“SPEXT” AND A FEW MORE CONSIDERATIONS

  • Do not send a mass unsolicited text to multiple candidates as it would likely be considered “spext” (spam + text = spext). As I said previously, send texts to those candidates who have opted in to receive your messaging. 
  • When a candidate reaches out to you, respond in a prompt fashion. If you are unable to, make an effort to reply as quickly as possible as a delay might be interpreted as a lack of caring. 
  • Re-read your texts before sending in order to double check for spelling errors, proper grammar and to insure that you are addressing the intended party.
  • Be brief. Text messaging should be for short, informative messages. If you need to go into detail or offer an extensive explanation, pick up the phone instead or meet in person.
  • Make it easy for candidates to unsubscribe from future messages. 

I think texting is an efficient and perfectly acceptable way to engage candidates, once permission is acquired. I also think that texting in general is so widely accepted that it is foolish to not employ it in your recruitment process to one degree or another. Like every other successful enterprise, the advantage of texting candidates will go to the early adopters not afraid to experiment, fail quickly and adapt to what works. On behalf of the HR departments daring to be innovative, please competitors continue what you are doing. We appreciate the advantage. 

Tattoos in the Workplace

A decade ago, I co-hosted a popular podcast – The Recruiters Lounge [TRL] with Karen Mattonen. In October, I will begin posting these classic episodes and taking note of how things have changed, how I may have evolved or whether or not all things are the same. This 2009 episode focuses on Tattoos in the Workplace and a great conversation with Mitchell Chasin, MD. Tune in on all the fun and please do share your thoughts wherever you listen to this podcast.

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