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Recruiting tech uses text messaging as a tactic to bring in talent

Text applications appeal to the younger generation who may not be big fans of the traditional CV

The use of text messaging as the initial way to contact a prospective candidate may be on the rise. Instead of an unsolicited cold call or email, recruiters may try to first reach you with a text message. Recruiting tech is enabling this capability, and the vendors say texting is a preferred means of communication for younger worker, fulfilling the need to make it easier for applicants to engage with recruiters. This also includes getting rid of the need for a CV to apply for some types of jobs.

One recruiting tech vendor, Jobvite, just added a text capability, Jobvite Text, to its recruiting, marketing and applicant tracking system. It also added chatbot capability to its text messaging. This takes text messaging from an ad hoc process — or something done by recruiters on their own phones — to an integrated recruiting platform, where text messages are archived and tracked the same way emails are.

Another example is that of Capango, a recruiting tech vendor focussing on the retail market. It has built an app that doesn’t ask for a CV. Instead, it walks a potential candidate through a series of questions about their attributes, which may include education and passions, or their interests and likes. From those answers, it can score the applicant against a job. Candidates are also invited to submit a short video as part of their job application.

The capability to build a resume “has nothing to do with the success of that employee,” said Stefan Midford, CEO and president of Capango. “Resumes were an old-fashioned way of understanding a candidate,” he said.

Although the changes are driven by appealing to a younger generation, they will also aid recruiters to win talent in their competitive market.

Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research says new ways of interacting are key for moving forward:

“With more and more younger professionals coming into the applicant pool, new ways of interacting with them are key for recruiting,” Mueller said. “With the prevalence of text messages over email in the younger generations, using text to reach out to prospective candidates is, not surprisingly, a more effective way to get hold of them compared to email.”

Mueller said it is a “good move” as well to reduce the “burden of the resume” for the millennial generation. It reduces the “hurdle height of applying for a job for many applicants,” he said.

Text messaging is already widely used by recruiters to stay in touch with prospects, schedule appointments and arrange interviews. But using text messaging as an initial way to contact someone — in lieu of a cold call or email — with an unsolicited proposal is not as common.

“Using text gets them better response rates” compared to email, said Robert Tsao, chief product officer at Jobvite. But that doesn’t mean that users can just fire off text messages without carefully considering what they are doing, he said.

Tsao said that Jobvite’s platform gives customers the ability to send unsolicited texts but said that good recruiters will be judicious about unsolicited outreach.

“The ability to send an initial text to a potential prospect is not automated. A recruiter must import the candidate’s phone number, draft the correct language and press the send button — no matter how many or few candidates they are contacting,” Tsao said.

However, with the new GDPR rules in place, firms will have to comply to this policy before sending unsolicited texts. Starting from May 2018, organisations that collect personal data of EU residents must become compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR.) The GDPR is a new law that aims to strengthen people’s rights to privacy and protect their personal data and the correct regulations would need to be in place to contact potential job candidates via text.

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