Millennials — perpetually glued to their phones and always posting everything to social media, right? Maybe, but they’re not the only ones who love their smartphones. Seventy-five percent of US adults use a smartphone, and number of cellphone users around the world is expected to surpass the 5 billion mark by 2019.
What you may not realize is that heavy smartphone usage presents an opportunity to savvy recruiters. Emerging technologies are allowing recruiters to contact candidates where it matters most: via text messaging.
Not All Candidates Are Millennials (Obviously)
Before you rush out to start texting your candidates, you have to understand who in your talent pool is using their cellphones on a regular basis. While we all know millennials are highly receptive to mobile technology, they aren’t the only ones.
Seventy-nine percent of people between the ages of 18 and 44 — which includes millennials and Gen. X-ers — have their smartphones on hand 22 hours a day. Moreover, 68 percent of millennials, 73 percent of Gen. X-ers, and 75 percent of baby boomers are open to receiving job opportunities via text.
The takeaway: Text messages can open up worlds of talent beyond the millennials.
Is SMS Recruiting Right for You?
Now you know that text messages can engage a variety of candidates — but is integrating SMS into your mobile recruitment strategy right for you?
Opinions vary on this matter, but on the whole, recruiting teams seem to be embracing the possibilities of text messages in recruiting: 78 percent of recruiters use text messages to schedule interviews, 76 percent use text messages to confirm interview times, and 80 percent feel it is helpful to follow up with candidates after their interview via text messages.
Are Text Messages Even Appropriate for Recruiting?
Considering 81 percent of Americans regularly send text messages, we know this is a quick, easy way for recruiters to contact candidates. The question, however, is whether the ease is worth it. Are text messages really an appropriate way to communicate with candidates?
There is little consensus among job seekers on the matter. According to a Software Advice survey, 35 percent of job seekers consider text messaging a professional mode of recruiting communication, 34 percent consider it unprofessional, and 31 percent consider it neither professional nor unprofessional.
You need to consider what kind of communication — and how much — you are willing to have via SMS. Your decision will largely depend on your talent pool. Understanding the industry norms and your candidates’ demographics should help you determine whether or not SMS is a viable addition to your mobile recruitment strategy. One great way to settle the matter is to let candidates choose for themselves: Add a text message option to your job ads or career site and see who utilizes it.
The Facts of SMS Recruiting
Still debating whether or not you should be texting candidates? Here are six facts to help you decide:
1. 89 percent of job seekers think mobile devices play a critical role in the job search: Getting on board with some form of mobile recruiting technology can drastically improve your candidate engagement and outreach, because candidates are already using that technology. Why not meet talent where they are?
2. 65 percent of job seekers use their smartphones at least once a day for job search tasks: The majorityof your candidates are already searching for your business on their mobile devices. Incorporating a text messaging framework into your recruiting methods puts you directly in the palms of their hands.
3. 78 perent of candidates say they would apply for a new job through their mobile device if the process were simple: In today’s candidate-driven market, appealing to a candidate’s needs is more critical than ever. Presenting yourself as a business that understands what candidates want will distinguish you from competitors and make your organization an employer of choice.
4. 73 percent of job seekers would like to receive targeted job opportunities via text: Candidates want to receive job opportunities in a way that fits their lifestyles. They don’t want to trudge through job boards on their laptops or wait anxiously for an employer to respond after they’ve submitted dozens of applications. Candidates want to feel connected to potential employers right from the moment they hit the “submit” button.
5. Text messages have a 95-98 percent read rate: Probably the most important statistic to sway any business to text recruiting is the open rate. Candidates read their texts. In fact, nearly every smartphone user reads their texts right away, whether they’re applying for jobs or not. By comparison, emails only have 20 percent open rate on average.
A version of this article originally appeared on the ClearCompany blog.
Sara Pollock is head of the marketing department at ClearCompany.