Millennials and Gen. Z-ers are, combined, the largest generational group in the workforce. These candidates want to feel more connected to their employers. They want faster means of communication and more convenient ways to stay engaged during the hiring process. New technologies, like text-based recruiting, are making this increasingly possible by providing businesses with easier, more efficient ways to get in touch with candidates.

Why Text Messaging Makes an Effective Recruitment Channel

Global mobile phone usage is expected to surpass the 4.5 billion mark by 2019, and 80 percent of people use text messaging for business reasons. Mobile, therefore, is the new recruiting it factor.

Text-based recruiting cuts out the various middlemen involved in traditional recruiting, giving more control directly to recruiters, hiring managers, and talent acquisition pros. For example, more and more recruiters are texting job ads to candidates, rather than hosting them on dozens of different job boards. Plus, text messages have a 98 percent open rate, meaning that recruitment communications sent via this channel are almost guaranteed to be received and read.

Meanwhile, job seekers have proven very willing to use their smartphones to apply for jobs. According to Indeed, 78 percent of candidates in the US would apply for jobs via mobile if the process were simple. Seventy-three percent of job seekers would also like to receive targeted job ads via text message.

Candidates trust companies that make an effort to respond quickly. Being left hanging makes job seekers feel discouraged and unimportant to the company. When a company takes too long to respond, candidates will often reevaluate their desire to work for the organization. With text messaging, recruiters don’t have to worry about that: They can answer candidates’ questions and share important details in the blink of an eye.

5 Tips to Make Text Messaging an Effective Recruitment Channel

Ready to start using text messages as part of your recruitment efforts? Don’t go into it blind. Follow these simple guidelines to get the most out of texting candidates:

1. Use Speed to Your Advantage

The biggest difference between email and texting is speed. It can take days or even weeks for a candidate to open an email. Meanwhile, phones notify candidates of text messages right away, so you won’t have to wait long to hear back. If you want to take full advantage of this speed, you’ll have to reciprocate, of course. Be quick to reply to texts, and candidates will return the favor.

2. Don’t Spoil Your Opener

Text messages have an incredible 98 percent open rate, but just because it’s easier to get through, that doesn’t mean you can be reckless in how you approach candidates. Upon first contact, you have to craft an interesting text message to catch their attention — the same way you would with an email. Your text will come up as an unsaved phone number, so be sure to introduce yourself. Be human, and sell the job as quickly as possible. Include your contact email, and remember: If your first text looks like spam, that’s how the candidate will treat it.

3. Text With Caution

While many candidates don’t mind recruitment text messages, some job seekers really don’t like them. According to Software Advice, 35 percent of candidates consider recruitment text messages professional, 34 percent consider them unprofessional, and 31 percent consider them neither professional nor unprofessional.

Texting is a powerful form of communication, but you must use it with caution. Do your research and consider your talent pool. Are the candidates you’re looking at likely to be okay with texting?

4. Keep Business Hours in Mind

One of the easiest ways to make candidates feel like you’re invading their privacy is to text them when they’d rather not think about their job search. Almost a quarter of candidates think it’s inappropriate for recruiters to text outside regular business hours. If you want to text candidates without getting on their bad side, make sure to send your messages during business hours.

5. Have a Good Follow-Up Plan

Because most texting happens through phones, it is important that you follow up your initial text with a method of contact the candidate can easily access on their phone. An email address is the obvious choice, but some candidates do prefer to go straight to the application process. That means you need a mobile-optimized career website to which you can direct them.

Before you go all-in on texting candidates, make sure you’re following the rules. A bad texting campaign feels like an invasion of privacy and will harm your reputation as a recruiter. If you know what you’re doing, however, texting can be one of the fastest and most effective ways to get a candidate into your pipeline.

A version of this article originally appeared on the ClearCompany blog.

Sara Pollock is head of the marketing department at ClearCompany.

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