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While millennials may be quick to send snaps to friends, post their brunch on Instagram, or scour Twitter for the latest news, they're even faster to hit "decline" after the very first ring of the phone. As a result, recruiters are having trouble screening high volumes of candidates to do their jobs effectively.
Only 12 percent of millennials and 29 percent of Gen. X-ers prefer the phone for business communication, according to the "2016 Internet Trends Report" from KPCB. It's time to put aside old-school practices and find new ways to engage and attract today's top talent.
By screening candidates via text message, recruiters can reach 3-5 times more candidates daily. Furthermore, the "2017 Yello Recruiting Study" of 1,400 recent grads found that 86 percent of millennial and Gen. Z candidates felt positively about text messages being used during the interview process.
Ready to start texting candidates? Here's where to begin:
1. Create Templates for Questions and Responses
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Many interviews, regardless of the job or industry, start the same way: Tell me about yourself. What are your strengths? In what areas do you need to improve? By creating ready-to-use templates with preliminary sample questions, recruiters can save time and focus on more personalized questions as the text conversation evolves.
In addition to standardized questions for the candidate, recruiters can also be prepared to easily respond to the expected applicant questions: What benefits does the company offer? What are the hours for the job? What is the vacation policy? Text-based screening platforms curate libraries of sample questions, responses, and company documents. Some platforms, like Canvas, even make response recommendations for the recruiter, prompting them to send the right message at the right time to the candidate.
2. Treat It as a Business-Casual Conversation
One of the most frequently asked questions around texting candidates involves what level of professionalism employers should look for. Recruiters shouldn't expect the conversation to be overly formal. In fact, emojis are a great way to express information and show that an applicant feels comfortable. A benefit of communicating via text is it gives you a better understanding of how the applicant communicates in their everyday life.
Recruiters should also accept the occasional, minor typo. Most people can relate to autocorrect fails because they've experienced them at some point.
3. Utilize Texting for Top-of-the-Funnel Screening
Texting works well in the early screening process and to bring job applicants into the funnel to begin the conversation. It is not meant to completely replace in-person and phone interviews. While those are still great options for second- and third-round interviews, just like in the online dating world, text can be a great getting-to-know-you tool. Once logistical basics have been covered in texts, candidates can pick up the phone or walk in for an interview and have a deeper conversation with a recruiter.
4. Eliminate Bias Through Texting Applicants
Unfortunately, unconscious bias in the interview process very much exists. In order to combat biased decisions in the hiring process, text-based screening platforms can mask the name of the candidate as well as any gender-specific pronouns. In addition, over text, voice is eliminated, adding another layer of masking so the recruiter can focus solely on the candidate's qualifications.
Text Interviews in Action
Recruiting firms across the country are already using text messages to get in contact with potential applicants. One example is Aegis Worldwide, which specializes in manufacturing and engineering job placement. The company is maximizing efficiency for its recruiters by texting candidates through a text-based screening platform.
Using the traditional phone-screening method, Aegis's team of recruiters was previously only able to screen a handful of candidates each day. Since beginning the new, text-based method of outreach, the agency is connecting with and screening high volumes of candidates daily while increasing the quality of candidate and expediting the hiring process for clients. Aegis's recruiters have hired a range of talent through the platform, from machinists making entry-level wages to engineers with salaries of more than $100,000 annually.
In today's world, individuals regularly screen a potential spouse with a swipe on an app, but recruiters are still screening job candidates over the phone. Don't let the job-screening process evolve without you.
Aman Brar is CEO of Canvas, the first text-based interviewing platform.