In today's competitive hiring market, candidate communication is more important than ever before. If you don't move the hiring process along quickly and keep in touch with candidates each step of the way, you risk losing top talent to competing job offers.

When it comes to candidate communication, many HR and hiring managers face challenges keeping candidates engaged. In many cases, they either end up playing phone tag in an attempt to reach candidates and schedule interviews, or candidate emails get overlooked in a crowded inbox.

One way to keep job seekers engaged and hire sooner is adding text messaging to your candidate communication strategy. In fact recent data found that 90 percent of job seekers believe it would be helpful to receive text messages during the application and hiring process.

If your team has yet to embrace candidate text messaging, consider the following benefits of adding this step to the hiring process.

Keep Candidates Engaged

Given the record-low unemployment rate, top job seekers have their choice of job opportunities at their fingertips. And while they're likely excited about the possibility of joining your team when they first apply, this excitement can taper off if you don't keep candidates engaged during the hiring process.

Embrace text messaging as an opportunity to communicate with candidates in a professional and informative manner manner. Start off by thanking candidates for applying and letting them know you're interested in moving forward with next steps. Other reasons to text candidates include: coordinating interview times and reminding candidates to complete key hiring steps, such as filling out background and reference check information. And candidates can also reach out to your team via text message to reschedule interviews, confirm directions to your business and more.

Constant communication via text messages will make job candidates feel like their time is valued by your team and make them even more motivated to join. And beyond keeping top candidates engaged from the moment until they apply until the final job offer, your team should also make sure to close the loop with candidates who don't end up receiving job offers.

According to recent data from the Society of Human Resources Professionals (SHRM), only 20 percent of candidates on average receive an email from a recruiter or hiring manager and only 8 percent receive a phone call letting them know they aren't moving forward in the hiring process. This can leave a bad impression and lead to these applicants leaving a bad review, telling friends, family and colleagues not to join your team and other negative consequences.

Streamline Communications and Hire Sooner

While your team is playing phone tag or sending follow up emails to candidates who might have overlooked your first message, this simply drags on the hiring process. Not only can this cause candidates to accept job offers from teams that follow a more efficient hiring process, but it will lead to your roles being open for longer, causing your team's productivity to take a hit.

Text messaging can help you streamline overall candidate communication, saving your team time and leading to a quicker hiring process. According to insights from marketing automation provider RedEye, while the average email open rate is between 28 and 33 percent, the average open rate for a text message is about 99 percent, with 97 percent of messages being read within 15 minutes of receipt.

Rather than asking your hiring managers to send text messages via their personal phones -- which can get disorganized quickly -- modern technology such as recruitment marketing software enables you to manage text messaging from one central location. This can help your team keep all candidate communication in one place - including their initial application, any email communication and text messages. And the more organized you keep candidate data, the sooner you can hire qualified talent and get them up to speed on their roles.

When used effectively, candidate text messaging can greatly improve your hiring efforts, decrease your overall time to hire and, as a result, boost productivity on your team.

Published on: Feb 21, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.