Some of us struggle to comfortably incorporate text messaging into our daily course of doing business. We’re all for advances in technology that enable us to better communicate with candidates and clients; we’ve adopted Slack, chat, email, InMail, and video conferencing as means of communicating, but the when it comes to business texting, we’re on unsteady ground.
Should I? Am I overstepping my bounds? Are there rules to this kind of thing?
If you’ve been hesitant to adopt texting into your outreach, this post is for you. Let’s look at some best practices for business texting.
Texting & recruiting – the answer is ‘yes’
Three relevant stats to get us started:
- Texting is the most widely and frequently used smartphone app, according to Pew Research Center. Ninety-seven percent of smartphone owners text at least once a day.
- Business texting has grown more common as well. Eighty percent of people use texting for business purposes, eWeek reports.
- Most people are open to being contacted by a business via text; in fact, 89 percent of consumers want to use text messaging to communicate with businesses, Twilio reports.
So there you have it; texting is popular and accepted. It may even send a message that you and your firm are tech-savvy. To use it properly, abide by the following guidelines:
The rules of first contact
If it’s your very first time ever reaching out to a recruiting prospect, don’t send a text. It could come off as creepy or raise a “how’d you get my number?” eyebrow. But once you’ve made initial contact, texting can be a good idea, because it has high open and response rates:
- Whereas emails are often unread or sent to a spam folder, texts have a 99 percent open rate
- Texts have a 45 percent average response rate
- Response rates with texting are a whopping 209 percent higher than those from phone calls
But how should you use them in your recruiting efforts? Send a text to:
Give directions to your office
This is tailor-made for mobile. Send a link to your location that opens up in Google Maps; this enables the user to skip a step when starting up their GPS.
Confirm an interview
Don’t set the appointment via text, unless your prospect has specifically requested this mode of communication, but a quick confirmation via text is fine.
Request a phone conversation
Many people, today, simply don’t answer calls from someone they don’t know, and some even find it off-putting when you call out of the blue. Send a text to request and schedule a phone call; most people will appreciate the advance knowledge.
Stay in touch
Little “just because” texts help nurture relationships. Send a short text wishing them a happy holiday, say happy birthday via text, or to send along a link to an article or podcast you think they’ll like.
Now that you get the idea of the kinds of texts that are appropriate to send as you go about your recruiting day, keep these best practices in mind:
Keep it short & professional. Casual and friendly is fine; emojis, gifs and the like are not. Always use proper spelling and grammar, and keep it short—yes or no questions are perfect for text, but don’t send anything that could prompt a more in-depth conversation.
Don’t send bulk or group messages. Make it a personal, one-on-one interaction. We can’t think of a single person who would pay much attention to a spammy group text.
Send texts within normal office hours. We’re not quite sure why this is, but an after-hours email is fine, whereas an after-hours text is not. It just seems… intrusive. Stick to regular business days and hours. Anything outside of that makes you look like you don’t respect their down time.
Never reject a candidate via text. We all know someone whose significant other has broken up with them via text. Terrible, isn’t it? Same rules apply here. It’s just in poor taste. You may reject someone via email up until they have come in for an interview; after that, make a phone call. It’s part of providing a great candidate experience.
Finally, always proofread before you click ‘send’
Give it one final read before you send it off, with an eye for errors and tone. Don’t let anything be misconstrued; texts are famous for that, in and out of the business world.
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