Be honest: how many times a day do you check your phone? If you're like most Americans, your smartphone is rarely out of arm's reach, and texting is now your main form of communication. A 2015 Informate survey found that the average smartphone user in the U.S. only makes six calls a day, but they send or receive 32 texts. They also spend more time per day texting than calling.
But while texting has overtaken our personal lives, it's been slow to seep into the business world. We send our family and friends texts, but email our colleagues and clients. This is mostly because, for a long time, texting was associated with teenagers sending emojis and abbreviations, not professional communication. But all that is about to change.
TextRecruit, a mobile talent acquisition platform, is helping recruiters and employers change the way they attract and hire job seekers. TextRecruit allows users to send text messages to relevant candidates and has an unprecedented response rate.
Before you gasp and think "But professionals don't text!" consider why text messages are the logical next step in recruitment:
1. People associate emails with spam.
There's a reason why most email servers have a separate folder for spam. Suspicious emails from unfamiliar people can be scams or contain viruses that wreak havoc on technology. Yet, spam is an inevitable part of having an email address.
When you add on unsolicited advertisement emails, there's a huge portion of people's inboxes that never get opened. That's why emails from traditional recruiting or staffing firms only have an open rate of 20 percent, according to a report from Mailchimp.
Text messages, however, have yet to be taken over by spam. When people receive a text, they know there's a very good chance the message is specifically for them. And that's why TextRecruit messages have a 100 percent open rate and so far this year a 34 percent response rate. When job seekers receive the text, they instantly see that it contains information relevant to them and their career.
2. Job seekers are already doing their search from their smartphone.
A 2015 survey from the Pew Research Center found that 43 percent of adult smartphone users have used that device to research new jobs. Since job seekers have gone mobile, it's natural that recruiters should, as well.
The texts recruiters send out are the perfect chance to get candidates all the information they need in one place, which makes employer branding easier.
"We recommend that each text that is sent have a link to the job or the company information page to help the candidate understand more about the opportunity," says Erik Kostelnik, co-founder and CEO of TextRecruit. "We then track the click throughs and push real time reporting for the users so they can have data on job seekers' interest level."
3. It gives them an actual person to talk with.
One of the biggest problems of the hiring process is how automated it is. A 2016 CareerBuilder survey found that 72 percent of job seekers want to talk to a recruiter or hiring manager before applying for a position. However, too often their only option to reach out is an anonymous email address where all manner of inquiries go to die.
"The reason we created TextRecruit two years ago was job seekers wanted to text to recruiters during the hiring process, but there was no centralized texting platform where the companies could manage the communication at scale and stay compliant," said Kostelnik. "So, really job seekers were the ones who drove the first two-way business texting communication."
Now, whenever job seekers have a question or issue during the hiring process, they have an actual person to contact. This helps to create a better candidate experience and build a more solid relationship between the organization and potential employees.
4. Texting helps them prepare for their first day.
Shockingly, after accepting an offer, many new hires find themselves in a communication blackout. A 2015 report from ALEX found that 49.5 percent of new hires don't receive a welcome message from their manager before their first day. Twenty-seven percent don't receive a first day agenda.
With TextRecruit, important information can continue to flow between both parties once the hiring process is over.
"We find that texting is most effective in processes where communication normally breaks down," said Kostelnik. "One of the biggest challenges for human resources is getting onboarding and enrollment completed, especially when you have large, decentralized teams. The fact is email open rate hovers around 20 percent, so you have to send multiple emails and make phone calls to track people down. This costs companies time and resources that could be better used in other areas. Our new TextHR feature addresses this issue."
While it might have taken us some time to realize it, texting is the future of business communication. And given our love of that method of communication, we all might be better off with the change.
What are some other advantages to texting in recruiting? Share in the comments below!
Ilya Pozin is a serial entrepreneur, writer and investor. He is the founder of Pluto TV, Coplex, and Open Me (acquired by Rowl). Named one of Inc.'s '30 Under 30' entrepreneurs, Ilya also has columns appearing on Forbes and LinkedIn. You can keep up with Ilya on Twitter.