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8 min read

12 Do’s and Don’ts for Text Recruitment

By Connor Zazzo on Jul 10, 2020 12:18:03 PM

Topics: recruitment
text-message-recruitment

How you define success may be different for every step in your recruitment process, but one metric that stands out most is getting a response from a driver. You are already familiar with picking up the phone to call, or sending an email, but have you looked for an even more successful channel? Getting responses when reaching out to recent applicants can be an uphill battle. Your first thought probably isn’t what method of communication will be the most successful in getting a response. That’s where text recruitment comes in.

Text messaging is becoming the most important engagement channel in any successful recruiter’s process. The stats speak for themselves. For starters, 90% of texts are opened within 3 minutes of being received. Overall, only 21% of all emails sent are opened, versus 98% of text messages. Knowing that, what do you think is the better way to connect? Reaching candidates on the device they probably applied from (84% of FATj candidates apply from a mobile device) is going to help increase your conversion rates.

We know that texting candidates can seem unconventional, but the proof is in the pudding. Text messages have a 209% higher response rate than phone calls or emails. If you follow these best practices, you will start enjoying the benefits of adopting text messaging into your recruitment process. Here are the 12 do’s and don’ts for text recruitment to jumpstart your best recruitment channel.

10 Do’s

1. Introduce yourself

Tell the applicant who you are! In addition to basic professionalism, you should provide context about who you are, what your position is, and what company you are from. Do this to start each SMS conversation. Remember, candidates likely have several applications in progress.

What’s just as important as introducing yourself, is identifying exactly why you are reaching out to a candidate. This should be in every introductory message you send out. This requires a conscious effort because we don’t do this in our personal texting with our friends and family.

2. Keep it short

Whenever you see a long text message come through, are you ever excited to read it? For a lot of people, long messages can be hard to read on a mobile screen. As a rule of thumb, try to keep your text messages to the same length as you would a tweet. 140-characters should be the length limit you follow to ensure your messages are brief.

When you are asking a question, try to keep it simple. If you are asking a candidate a question over text message, think to yourself first, “Is this something I should be asking over a phone call instead?” Candidates should be able to answer any questions you send them over text message with a simple yes or no.

3. Create some templates

Do yourself a favor and create some templates. There is no need to reinvent the wheel every time you want to send out a text message to a new candidate. If you find yourself sending the same, or similar, messages often, ready-to-use SMS templates will save you some time.

Want to get a jump start on writing some SMS templates? Click the link here to check out 8 templates we guarantee will make your first text message campaign a success.

4. Always be professional

When it comes to maintaining professionalism, a little bit of extra effort can go a long way. Correct grammar is the smallest and simplest thing you can do to make a good first impression with your new candidates.

Even though texting can seem like a more casual way of communicating with just about anybody, it should not seem casual with candidates. Keep it professional, and remember that you are representing your business with every message. Emojis, abbreviations, and slang should be avoided unless it's part of your company culture.

Texts shouldn’t be any less professional in your tone and messaging. Limit the number of text messages you send, avoid the use of abbreviations and emojis, and make sure you are only reaching out during business hours unless the candidate has told you otherwise.

5. Pay attention to timing

Speaking of business hours, you must pay attention to the time you are sending your messages if you want the highest engagement rate. The best time to send a text message is between 9:00 AM and noon. The next preferable time is in the afternoon during business hours. Absolutely never text candidates outside of business hours unless initiated by the candidate.

Luckily, an employer texting study featured on ERE discovered that the best time to start sending text messages is at the start of the working day and before lunch. The study showed that:

  • 26% of candidates preferred to receive a text between 8:00 and 10:00 AM
  • 29% of candidates preferred to receive a text between 12:00 and 2:00 PM
  • Candidates tended to view texts sent after working hours unfavorably, so make sure not to schedule any campaigns after 5:00 PM

Sending recruiting text messages with a candidate in the evenings or on the weekends sends a dual negative message. First, you probably are working overtime, which isn’t exactly a perk to attract potential hires. Second, you aren’t respecting the candidate’s personal time. Stick to regular working days and hours for all kinds of communication.

One additional factor to keep in mind when deciding to text a candidate is the time zone you are both in. If you are texting across the country, or even just a time-zone over, be conscious of what hours both you and your candidate will be available.

6. Personalize your text messages

An easy way to engage your candidate from the very first message is to make sure the message is personal. Simple personalization such as including their name or the position they applied to, will help you stand out from the rest of their inbox. This little piece of customization will make the entire experience more personal for both you and the candidate.

7. End with a CTA

Adding a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of each message is the best way to ensure a successful conversation with a candidate via text message. This gives both you and the candidate a direction and next steps to take in your recruitment process. If your next steps are to schedule an interview or meeting, then include a link to your calendar at the end of the text message. If you have another application you’d like the candidate to fill out online as well, then include a link to where they can fill that out.

Sometimes a CTA doesn’t have to include a link. If you are just asking a simple question, let them know they can reply with just a yes or no. Or if you are letting the candidate know that you are sending an email, make it clear when you are sending it. Ending a message with a CTA drives your conversation forward.

8. Make it easy to unsubscribe from receiving messages

You want your communication with a candidate to feel effortless, but not everyone will be receptive to receiving messages from businesses. Giving candidates an easy way to opt-out of text messages is important to providing them a positive experience with your company. The text message provider you use to connect with candidates will always have guidelines on how to provide candidates a way to opt-out of text message communications

9. Integrate with your other channels

Just because text messaging is the best way to connect with a new applicant, doesn’t mean that it’s the only method you should be using. Omni-channel communication should be a vital part of your recruitment process. It doesn’t have to be a complicated plan either.

Think about what will provide the best candidate experience, from application to hire. The first contact should be with a text message, because the candidate likely applied from a mobile device, so you will want to reach them from where they started. Then move on to emailing the candidate, because that often a more accessible format for any long forms of communication such as longer applications or any paperwork that may be required in your process. Ultimately you will be conducting the final interviews over a video call, a phone call, or an in-person meeting.

Whatever your recruitment process entails, make sure you are using the best channel for the purpose of your message.

10. Get permission

You are probably excited to start texting candidates so you can start seeing the replies flooding your inbox, but not so fast. You need permission to text a candidate in order to not only get the highest engagement but to protect yourself and your company from any legal action. That’s why getting consent from an applicant is so important for the overall success of both your campaign and your relationship.

Text message recruitment requires businesses to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), along with other regulations to ensure the candidate is protected from any unwarranted messages. Have you ever received a spam text message from a random company? If so, you already know how annoying that can be.

The most important thing you can do to ensure your text messaging channel is effective and legal is to get consent from the candidate. Written consent is mandatory to opt-in a candidate to text message recruitment. You can achieve this through including opt-in in your terms and conditions on a website form, having a candidate text a keyword to a number, or having them sign up in-person at a physical location.

However, you decide to get consent, make sure you are clear and direct with your candidate base to receive the best engagement with them.

2 Don’ts

1. Don’t use a text message to reject a candidate

Absolutely never reject a candidate through text messaging. Rejections can be tough for both parties involved, so delivering that message is best left for more traditional channels, such as emails or phone calls. It’s common that rejection notices can include information about the reason why a candidate was not accepted for a position, so longer messages are best left to channels built for them.

2. Don’t include links to a candidate’s personal information.

While text messages are convenient, fast, and easy to use to communicate with candidates, they are not always the solution to your team needs. Text messages are not encrypted or protected, which means cybercriminals can access any information that you send. For that reason, you should avoid sending any links that include a candidate’s personal information. Instead, share that information through email, which can be encrypted and protected.

Text message recruitment is a new frontier for many in the transportation community. The data behind how texting is transforming other sectors of recruitment and marketing are promising, and that’s why you should invest in tools that can propel your company forward. Texting candidates is not the single solution you need to reach every type of candidate, but it is a way to prevent situations that make the life of a recruiter harder than it should be.

Moving into text message recruiting will revamp your current recruitment process. Whether it helps you reach with candidates faster, or never drop a line of communication, the benefits will be felt for both you and the candidate.


Have questions about text recruiting, or trying to figure out a way to get started? We just introduced FATj Text as the best tool for recruitment teams to reach qualified candidates. Reach out to one of our FATj team members to learn more about how text messaging can boost your recruitment process.

If you’re looking for some templates to get started, check out our post with 19 templates you can download to get started with your next text message campaign.

Connor Zazzo

Written by Connor Zazzo

Connor is the Marketing Manager for FATj.com, focused on providing valuable insights to help drive forward the hiring efforts of recruitment teams across the country. Interested in reaching out to Connor to learn more about FATj.com? Connect with him on LinkedIn!