Americans are glued to their mobile devices, and
not just for playing Pokemon Go: A survey last year from the Pew Research
Center found that 41 percent of adult smartphone users have used their device
to research new jobs. Perhaps not surprisingly, the survey finds that younger
adults are especially likely to use their smartphones for job-hunting, but so
are older users, with 37 percent of 30 to 49-year olds using their devices for
Now recruiters are getting into the act: As many
as 60 percent of recruiters use text messaging to communicate with job
candidates as part of the hiring process, according to Austin, TX based
Software Advice, a consulting firm that compares different recruiting software.
of Texting say it's the most convenient way to reach jobseekers, many of whom
already have jobs and so would obviously find it difficult to take a call from
a recruiter during work hours. Given that many people tend to have their mobile
phones with them throughout the day, texting offers the chance for a quick
response to see whether someone's interested in a job opening, says Schawbel.
proceed with caution and understand the legal implications.
you send someone an email about a job, you might hear back from them in a few
hours," he says. "But if you send them a text, you'll know instantly
if they're interested, because everyone is constantly checking their
of vendors have sprung up designed to help companies run coordinated
text-recruiting campaigns and measure results. The vendors include Cambridge,
Mass.-based HeyWire and Boulder, Colo.-based TextUs and San Jose, Calif.-based
TextRecruit. Other vendors, such as Arlington, Va.-based Brazen, offer services
that facilitate real-time "chats" between recruiters and candidates.
Texting and Privacy
companies can put themselves
at risk if they fail to properly safeguard job candidates' personal information,
and texting can be a particularly risky area in this regard, warns employment
attorney John Bosco, a partner at Leon Cosgrove in Dallas.
with, recruiters can unwittingly expose a candidate's private information to
hackers when they put in a wrong number when texting to an applicant or to a
number that's been transferred to someone else, says Bosco. "It opens up
the potential for identity theft, which is the most common risk," he says.
reason, recruiters need to verify who they're communicating with before
beginning a text conversation, says Bosco. "Confirm addresses, ask what is
it about this position that interests them -- just some initial dialogue before
you get into anything that might be sensitive, such as Social Security numbers."
impact is another area of potential concern, says Bosco.
don't want to generalize, but younger people tend to want to text while older
people are getting more comfortable with it but still tend to prefer discussing
matters such as these verbally, via phone or in person," he says.
that require applicants to text them if they're interested in a job opening,
for example, could be opening themselves up to potential liability if an
investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finds that a clear
majority of respondents were below a certain age, says Bosco.
lawyers have told me the EEOC has begun expanding their discover requests when
they're looking into localized claims, requesting information on who companies
are getting responses back from and then running comparisons between the ages
of respondents and the method of communication used by the company," he
reason, it's important to give candidates options other than texting to learn
more about a job, says Bosco.
Healy, founder and president of Brazen, says disparate impact is less of a
concern than it once was because people of all ages are communicating via text
and chat. "The folks who chat with our clients' recruiters are often
people with decades of experience who have no problem using this interface.
It's not just for kids anymore."
uses text these days, says Adler, "young and old."
vendors say their services can alleviate any potential legal concerns about
texting, with built-in safeguards such as opt-out provisions to ensure
recipients aren't receiving unwanted texts and templates for recruiters to
follow to ensure they're staying within legal guidelines when interacting with
jobseekers. The services also let companies monitor and record text
conversations between recruiters and candidates.
you don't do this, you're at risk of not being able to control the
conversations that are going on or the types of messages recruiters are sending
out," says Erik Kostelnik, cofounder and CEO of TextRecruit.
says he started his company to give clients better control over their
recruiters' text outreach.
had a conversation with the head of staffing at the company that ended up being
one of our first clients who said 'All my recruiters are texting candidates and
I have no idea who or what they're texting, and if they leave, I lose all the
data that's captured in their phones and the relationships they have with
candidates,' " he says.
ended up building a centralized platform integrated with the company's
applicant tracking system that records and stores the recruiters' texts to
candidates. Clients can use the platform to run reports that measure the
effectiveness of text campaigns.
TextRecruit's clients are large companies with 5,000 or more employees, he
platform lets companies schedule online chats between recruiters, hiring
managers and candidates to answer the candidates' questions about jobs and the
company, says Healy. Many firms use Brazen for hard-to-fill positions or to
"re-engage" candidates who'd dropped out of the application process
for one reason or another, he says.
candidates say job-search is a deeply dehumanizing experience, and we're trying
to address that," says Healy.
of whether or not they use a vendor supplied system, recruiters will need to do
their research on candidates first in order for text to be an effective form of
outreach, says Adler.
response rate to your texts will be to the degree that you personalize them to
the recipient's interests and intrinsic motivations, rather than simply trying
to sell the job itself," he says. "Take the pressure off the
recipient by selling a conversation about the job. If you're targeted and
compelling, you'll increase your response rate."