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SMS for recruitment: A comprehensive guide

Alia Paavola
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SMS recruitment refers to texting throughout the hiring process, from sourcing candidates to finalizing a job offer. While texting is not new, many recruiters have added SMS to their  communication toolbox in recent years thanks to its high open and response rates.

Texting is a powerful tool for recruiters because it can make the hiring process more efficient, streamline interview scheduling, and fill open positions faster. In this article, we break down SMS for recruitment, including its benefits, uses, and best practices. 

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<h2 id="Common">Common recruitment challenges and how texting can help</h2>

Recruiters face numerous challenges daily. Let’s examine some of them and understand how text messaging can help.

Scheduling difficulties

From determining availability to communicating details, coordinating an interview can be a time burden for recruiters. Scheduling is further complicated by last-minute cancellations, no-shows, or rescheduling requests.

SMS is a great tool to combat scheduling difficulties. Here’s how:

  • Texts reach candidates directly on a device they check 344 times a day.
  • Texts have an average open rate of 98 percent, ensuring candidates see your scheduling request.
  • The average SMS message is read within three minutes of receipt. 
  • Text message reminders can reduce instances of no-shows and last-minute cancellations.

Want more business texting stats? Check out this article.

Consistent and engaging communication

Providing clear, honest, and regular communication is critical to a positive candidate experience. However, given how busy recruiters are, it can be difficult to keep up.

Text messaging throughout the recruitment process is a great way to communicate with candidates regularly with minimal effort. You can easily update candidates and keep the conversation going without wasting time. For example, recruiters can use an automated text to inform candidates that their application is in the review phase. These automated messages can go a long way to improve the candidate experience.

Reducing time-to-hire

The recruitment process can be slow and time-consuming. But, recruiters are feeling the pressure to reduce it, as a drawn-out process causes frustration and anxiety for candidates. In fact, 43 percent of job seekers said their last job search was frustratingly long. 

Text messaging can aid in reducing time-to-hire in several ways. Specifically, it is a tool that can speed up interview scheduling and screening. Compared to email, texting makes getting in touch with a candidate quicker. The average text message is read within three minutes of receipt.

Additionally, SMS is a great way to keep in contact with past candidates. Tapping into your existing talent pool can help you find highly qualified individuals without starting from scratch. You can use SMS to keep in contact with talented candidates throughout the year.

Reaching field-worker candidates 

Many trucking, construction, healthcare, and hospitality workers aren’t behind a computer screen. Contacting candidates in these fields through traditional methods like email can prove challenging. 

Text messaging allows recruiters to reach people in these roles quickly and effectively.. Additionally, it may be more convenient for candidates to respond since they can send quick responses instead of having to take a phone call or respond to an email while on the job.

<h2 id="Benefits">The benefits of SMS for recruitment</h2>

SMS is a great supplement to the recruiting process. Let’s view some stats that show why:

  • 47 percent of job seekers say texting is their preferred form of communication.
  • 98 percent of text messages are opened, which is about four times higher than email.
  • 45 percent of text messages get a response, which is eight times higher than email.
  • The typical response time to a text is 90 seconds, compared to 90 minutes for email.
  • The average text is read within three minutes of receipt, making it a quick way to get in touch.

<h2 id="Uses">15 practical uses of SMS for recruitment</h2>

Recruiters can leverage SMS in all stages of the recruitment process. We’ll dive into some popular use cases below. 

Job advertisement

Use SMS to advertise an open position to a list of potential candidates and spread the word about exciting job opportunities.

A job advertisement text example.

Hiring event promotion

Use texting to promote a hiring event for your company, such as a job fair, networking event, or competition-based recruiting event. 

A hiring event promotion text example.

Hiring event reminders

Use SMS to improve turnout at your various hiring events. You can encourage candidates to sign up to receive future reminders.

A recruiting event SMS example.

Application confirmation

Don’t let candidates wonder about their application status. Instead, send them a text confirming you received it. A simple SMS confirmation can provide peace of mind and show that you care.  

An application confirmation text example.

Initial screening

Use texting to conduct a short screening with candidates. Screenings can help you weed out unqualified applicants earlier and save you time down the line.

Example of using SMS to conduct an initial screening

Interview scheduling

One of the best ways to use SMS for recruitment is to help schedule candidate interviews. You can schedule in-person, video, or phone interviews quickly and automatically given the high read and response rate to text messaging.

Example of scheduling a phone interview via text.

Interview reminders

Limit interview no-shows and candidate confusion by sending a simple interview reminder text. A text reminder is an efficient way to ensure candidates show up and avoid wasted time. 

An interview reminder recruiters can send via text.

Rescheduling interviews

Use texting to reschedule interviews when unforeseen conflicts arise. It’s a quick way to get in touch with candidates and get a new time on the books with minimal back-and-forth.

A rescheduling text example for recruiters. 

Re-engage a talent pool

Use text messaging to re-engage past applicants and inform them about new open positions. Staying in front of your candidate pool gives you faster access to applications for open roles and helps more people find suitable jobs in your company.

An example of reengaging a candidate via text.

Post-interview follow up

Use a text message to thank a candidate for their time after an interview and share what to expect next. This type of communication helps keep the candidate informed and engaged with the interview process.

A post-interview recruitment SMS example.

Assignment reminders

If your candidate is tasked with completing an assignment as part of the interview process, send them a quick reminder a few days before the assignment due date and give them a chance to ask questions.

An assignment reminder text for recruiters.

Job offer text

When you want to offer a job to a candidate, send them a text message to congratulate them. Just make sure you follow up by scheduling a phone call or sending an email to extend the official offer. 

A job offer text message example.

Onboarding information

Before a candidate joins, they often have paperwork to complete. Keep them in the know about this paperwork by sending them a quick text. 

An onboarding text example for recruitment.

Referral request

Use text messaging to request referrals from your network or current employees. You can inform employees about referral bonuses or just get the word out about an open position.

A referral text example for recruitment.

Rejection text

To maintain a positive candidate experience, you must be professional when handling rejections. It’s critical to be kind and direct in your text messages, even if the message is brief.

A rejection message example for recruiters.

Looking for more SMS recruiting examples for inspiration? Get 25 text recruiting templates.

<h2 id="Best">7 best practices for SMS recruitment</h2>

Get the most out of your text recruiting efforts with these best practices.

  • Get permission to text candidates. You must get consent to text applicants. This permission, called an SMS opt-in, is required by law. You can easily collect this consent by adding an SMS opt-in to your job application form or asking your talent pool if you can text them.

  • Clearly identify yourself. You should identify yourself or your company in every text message. Chances are candidates don’t have your phone number saved and won’t know who is messaging them otherwise.

  • Keep it professional. Although SMS is more conversational than email, you still want to keep texts professional and on-brand. Maintain professionalism by proofreading your messages, warmly greeting candidates, and avoiding unknown acronyms.

  • Respect time zones. Be mindful of your text recipients’ time zones and stick to sending messages during business hours.

  • Be clear and concise. SMS is built for sending digestible messages. Keep your recruiting texts  short and concise by getting straight to the point and removing unnecessary words.

  • Personalize messaging. Don’t send generic, half-hearted messages. You can personalize texts by adding emojis, addressing an applicant by first name, and mentioning the job they applied for.

  • Reply quickly. If a candidate texts you, be sure to reply promptly. Texting was built for rapid back-and-forth communication and a significant response delay can lead to poor experiences.

<h2 id="Expert">5 expert tips for successful SMS recruitment</h2>

In addition to the seven best practices above, here are some expert tips to maximize the impact of SMS recruitment.

  • Know when not to use texting. There are instances where texting may not be the best communication method. For example, it’s often better to use email or phone to share job offer details. Additionally, if a candidate went far in your interview process, a more in-depth rejection notice over a phone call or email may be more appropriate.

  • Use SMS to nurture relationships. One of the best ways to decrease hiring time is by tapping into your existing talent pipeline. Texting is a great way to keep in touch with those individuals. You can use SMS to cultivate lasting relationships with candidates and keep them in the know about open positions. For example, you could send a text checking in with a candidate about their job search needs to stay top-of-mind.

  • Integrate with other platforms. For a seamless hiring process and streamlined communication, integrate SMS with your existing recruiting tools like an applicant tracking software, CRM, or email. 
  • Use automations. Leverage automated texting to save yourself time. For example, you could trigger a text automatically after a candidate submits an application or pre-schedule interview reminders.

  • Track metrics. Keep tabs on metrics like time to respond and candidate engagement rate to improve your recruiting text efforts over time.

Enhance the recruitment process with text messaging

There’s no doubt that text messaging can improve candidate communication and help you fill job roles faster. It equips recruiters with a tool that’s preferred, quick, and convenient.

If you want to supplement your recruitment efforts with SMS, try Textline today. Our recruitment SMS platform has robust features that simplify hiring communication. From scheduled messages to automations to templated messages, Textline helps recruiters speed their hiring process and improve the candidate experience. 

Give it a try today for free.

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