We all know that recruiters face myriad issues. Sourcing is hard work but with everything from email to telephone to social media to texting available as options for communicating with candidates, recruiters and hiring managers today may be confused about which is the best – and most professional – mode of communication.
Time is of the essence in this job market. With near-record levels of employment, recruiters can’t afford to wait a moment when they have a lead on a hot candidate. For this reason, texting and emailing become critical in the recruiting process as both are quick ways to communicate with a candidate who might not be able to pick up a phone call during the workday.
But are both methods created equal? And are both appropriate at all stages of the hiring process? The short answer is no. There is a time and a place in the process for each type of communication.
Take a look at these three scenarios along with our advice on when it’s appropriate to converse over email and when it’s okay to shoot out a quick text to a candidate.
First contact: Send an email
Any candidate worth their salt will provide their telephone number on their resume. And, thanks to Google extensions like ContactOut, it’s possible to obtain the phone number of an attractive candidate when you’re sourcing a role, even if they haven’t applied.
However, for initial contact, it’s best to send an email. There several reasons for this, including:
- Too much information. The first time your reach out to a candidate you need to provide the particulars of the opportunity, including at minimum a job description and company information. This amount of detail is too long for a text.
- Can look like spam. Especially if this is a candidate that hasn’t applied but whom you’ve sourced via LinkedIn, getting an unsolicited text about a job they haven’t inquired about will often look like spam. Having your name and signature line attached to the conversation will allow the candidate to do some research, determine that you’re legitimate, and decide whether they’d like to hear more about the role.
- Cost. While many cell phone plans have unlimited texting, not all do. You never want a candidate to be charged for communicating with you. It’s best to reach out via email first and ask permission to send out future communication via text.
For arranging a phone screen or interview: Send an email
When you are making plans for a phone screen or sending information about how a candidate should complete a skills test, do so via email. Just as when you are making the initial contact, unless and until you have gotten clear permission from a candidate to communicate via text, always stick to email during this phase of the recruiting process.
Sending sensitive information about a job interview via text has the potential to inadvertently expose private information. Imagine sitting in a meeting with your boss and having a text pop up on your phone that says, “Hey just checking in to see if Friday at 2 p.m. would work for that job interview we discussed.” That could spell disaster for the candidate in some organizations.
Second, the level of detail that you must communicate at this stage is too much for a text. The names of interviewees, dates and times of the interview, and locations can get lost in a text. Outline all of these clearly in an email instead.
Confirming information or following up: Send a text
If you’ve gotten permission from a candidate to use text as a means of communication, utilizing it for confirming the receipt of important information or following up is perfect. Sending quick messages such as, “Wanted to give you a heads up that I sent you the details for tomorrow’s interview via email” is the perfect use of texting. It reminds the candidate to keep an eye out for important information without bombing their phone with a long text message.
Texting is also great for other quick forms of communication, such as following up on how an interview or phone screen went. Sending a simple note requesting information is just fine. (“Just checking in to see how your face-to-face interviews went. Call me when you can.”) It lets the candidate know that you’d like to connect but allows them to contact you when the time is right for them.
Making a job offer: Send an email
Whether they are formal or conditional, job offers contain sensitive information. Always send this information via email rather than by text. When sharing compensation details, offering stock options, or outlining company benefits, email is always the way to go. Not only is the information confidential but it’s way too long (and often contains attachments and links) to manage via text.
Congratulating a candidate: Send a text
“We are thrilled you have accepted our offer,” is an appropriate – and welcome – use of texting in recruiting.
In short, for quick conversations, confirmations, or congratulations, using a short, concise text is appropriate if you’ve been given the green light by the candidate to use texting in the process. All other communication should arrive via email, which will offer the candidate more privacy and space to consider the communication before responding.
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