Young professionals are quick to send perfectly-timed GIFs in their group chat and catch breaking news on Twitter, but are slow to answer a phone call from an unknown number, often letting it go to voicemail.

A key way to engage today’s workforce and attract top talent is to ditch old-school recruiting practices, like screening candidates over a phone call. Instead, communicate with millennials how they prefer to connect: over text.

Just 12 percent of millennials and 29 percent of Gen Xers prefer the phone for business communication, according to a KPCB 2016 Internet Trends Report. Leading recruiting firms across the country have caught onto this preference and are already using text messages to get in contact with potential applicants and engage and recruit millennials — and your company should, too.

Want to start texting candidates but not sure where to start? We can help.

Maximize efficiency with ready-to-use templates

Most job interviews start the same way: “Tell me about yourself.” “What are your strengths?” “What are your weaknesses?”

By creating templates and a convenient questions library to text candidates, recruiters can focus on sharing initial questions that solicit substantive conversations with the candidate. The way that candidates respond will give recruiters insight into whether to continue their dialogue and move the applicant forward in the interview process.

Some text-based interviewing platforms, like Canvas, even use machine learning to make response recommendations for the recruiter, prompting them to send the right message at the right time to the candidate.

By screening candidates via text message rather than on a traditional phone call, recruiters can save time and reach three to five times more candidates each day to guarantee they find the right fit for the job, no matter the industry or position.

Beyond that, a 2017 Yello Recruiting Study of 1,400 recent grads reported 86 percent of millennial and Gen Z job candidates had a positive response when text messages were used during the interview process. Respondents identified themselves as job candidates who are drawn to tech practices and the workplaces that use them.

Eliminate bias and focus on qualifications

Unconscious bias in the screening and interview process is a problem that persists today. Text-based screening platforms can mask the name of the candidate and gender specific pronouns to maintain their anonymity during the first stages of screening. Additionally, voice is eliminated over text, adding a second layer of bias elimination.

This allows the recruiter to focus solely on the candidate’s qualifications and whether their experience is a good fit for the job, regardless of how they look or sound.

This is significant for the engaged, thoughtful millennial demographic who seek recognition for themselves, and their peers, for qualifications without bias. Millennials focus on changing the world for the better, and 90 percent think people like them can have an impact in the U.S. to make it a better place to live, according to the 2016 Millennial Impact Report. Eliminating bias in recruiting will go a long way with this demographic.

Allow for casual conversations

Texting candidates strips away formality and allows the tone to be more business casual.

When texting an applicant, recruiters should welcome the use of emojis, which can show the applicant feels comfortable, is expressive and wants to communicate their tone. The level of professionalism a candidate decides to keep intact can also give recruiters a peek into what the candidate is like and if they are a good fit for the position.

Lastly, communicating via text with candidates gives recruiters a strong understanding of how an applicant communicates in their everyday life.

Screen candidates for in-person interviews

With texting, top-of-the-funnel screening is easier than ever. Texting works well in the early screening process to begin the conversation, but it is not meant to completely replace in-person and phone interviews. While those are still important options for second and third round interviews, text can be a great “get-to-know-you” tool, similar to online dating apps.

Following the initial screening, recruiters may choose to continue the interview process via text, pick up the phone or even walk in for an in-depth interview. Regardless, informed interviews from text messages can also lead to deeper conversations with recruiters and better hires.

Aegis Worldwide, a company that specializes in manufacturing and engineering job placement, is one example of a business following the trend and using a text-based screening platform for its clients. Through texting, Aegis recruiters are able to connect with and screen high volumes of candidates daily, while increasing the quality of candidate and expediting the hiring process for all types of jobs, including positions that pay upwards of $100,000 a year.

By implementing a text-based screening platform, you will grow your company’s recruitment power, develop an employment brand that resonates with cause-minded millennials, attract top talent and see your business succeed in the modern economy.

How do you recommend using text messages to recruit millennials?

Let us know in the comments below or tweet GetApp if you have any tips on best practices to recruit millennials using text messages.


About the author

Aman Brar is CEO of Canvas, the first text-based interviewing platform that enables recruiters to screen more job candidates and market employment brands. Follow Brar on Twitter.