07/26/2017 Molly Moseley

Is texting your recruitment secret weapon?

Cell phone users text an average of 491 times a month, according to Statistic Brain research, and the median age of texters is 38. That means you’re probably not surprised when anyone from your grandmother to your teenage nephew sends you a text. But what about a potential employer?

While texting is generally considered an appropriate outlet for more casual conversations (Hey honey, please pick up some milk!), the reality is that people are using it more frequently than ever before. I rarely talk on the phone to my own friends and family, opting frequently to text them instead. It’s fast, easy and convenient in busy modern life.

Texting has changed the way we communicate with loved ones, and now it may be changing how you get a job. According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Good at Texting? It Might Land You a Job,” some companies are now conducting interviews via text message.

While I love receiving a friendly text, a sassy emoji or a sweet photo, my first reaction after reading this article was that texting seemed like a less progressive, clunkier way for employers to reach out. As a job seeker, if I wasn’t expecting a text from an employer, I’d likely think it was spam and ignore it.

What’s more, how can you really make a positive impression and get a good feel for an employer or employee via a text-only conversation? We all know that subtle communication queues such as voice inflection and body language are lost in email, and with the condensed nature of texts, I would think there would be even fewer of these important subtleties.

However, if you flip the coin, there may be some positives that make it a worthwhile consideration for companies. When reaching out to younger audiences, you might have better luck via text since texting is so ingrained in young professionals’ lives. It might even make an impression that you’re a progressive company that utilizes technology in fresh new ways, which could enhance your hiring brand.

Another potential benefit to interviewing via text message would be the ability to connect with busy people and/or those who are still employed. It can be difficult to answer your phone at work or while running errands. It might be easier to connect with top talent via text than playing phone tag with both parties getting increasingly frustrated.

Ultimately, it’s up to the employer if they want to try this new interviewing strategy. It would definitely be more appropriate for screening purposes or first interviews. I don’t see it replacing phone or in-person interviews for second or third interview purposes. Too much is at stake at that point in the hiring process, so in-person is best.

A lot depends on the position being hired for as well. Certainly you aren’t going to conduct a text interview for your next CFO. Texting might work for entry-level positions, middle management or certain technical jobs. You’d best reach out to C-suite candidates in a more traditional manner.

Have you used text methods in your hiring efforts? How do you feel about its effectiveness and place in the future of recruiting?