A version of this article was originally published on the SmashFly blog.
I am the person whose mobile Gmail app always has a number bubble on it. This weekend, it stood at 12,576.
I finally decided it was time to go through them (enough is enough, even I have standards people!). And going through them mainly meant deleting—without regard—nearly everything unread older than one month. I figured if I needed to read it, I had probably read it.
I hadn't felt that light in a while.
The moral of the story: People get A LOT of email. The average office worker gets around 121 business emails per day—and that doesn't even include the email they receive in their personal accounts (hello, automated retail emails!).
And while email is still, of course, the preferred method of communication for recruiters looking to connect with potential job candidates its getting as easy to ignore and delete as T.V. ads. So, how do you stand out? How do you fuel talent's willingness and quickness to engage and respond in a sea of email?
Adding text messaging into the mix could be the answer to more effectively—and successfully—connecting with talent in real time.
In today's competitive job market, speed matters. So does immediacy, personalization and influence. And just like artificial intelligence (AI), video interviewing and chatbot recruiting assistants are becoming more commonplace to help quickly screen candidates and quicken the hiring process, so too is texting.
I know you might be asking, "What about a good old-fashioned phone call? Isn't that the quickest and most personable way to connect with candidates?" Honestly? Probably not anymore.
Today's job market favors talent, and most of the candidates in your pipeline likely already have jobs. On top of that, the generation taking over the job market—millennials—has a general aversion to talking on the phone.
And the survey says ... other people agree. According to this survey, 76 percent of respondents say texts are "more convenient" and on their own schedule, while 63 percent say texts are "less disruptive than a voice call." Plus, since 90 percent of text messages are read within the first three minutes of being sent, texting also allows recruiters to get answers—and engagement—faster. Text messaging in recruiting can drive higher response rates, improve time-to-hire and create a more agile candidate experience—yet it's still unchartered territory for many talent acquisition functions.
So when—and how—should recruiters be using text messaging to communicate and engage talent?
1) Hourly, Entry-Level Positions
Perhaps the most obvious application for texting in the recruiting process is for hourly or entry-level candidates. After all, 37 percent of hourly job seekers say being hired quickly is the most important factor in deciding where to work. Since recruiting speed and responsiveness is what sets your employer brand apart from other potential employers, texting can give you a huge competitive advantage here.
Are you opening a new store? Send a text to all previously interested candidates and ask for a quick Yes/No if they are still looking for work. Holding a hiring fair in a new region? A text can help you quickly invite—and effectively remind—potential candidates to attend.
2) Corporate Salaried Roles
When filling corporate salaried roles, it's likely that your candidates already have a job, meaning timing is critical. Text messaging can help you keep great candidates in your pipeline engaged until the right opening presents itself. Texting also enables you to quickly share job reqs—perhaps before they are even made public—with VIP candidates.
To stay top of mind with these candidates, you can also share short workplace culture videos or details on the unique benefits of working for your company. Texting in this way can add a personal touch to the recruiting process, helping you "court" top candidates.
3) Healthcare Jobs
The healthcare industry is all in on texting. Automated prescription refill reminders sent via text are the norm today, and both my dentist and doctor send me appointment reminders via text. Just as texting has changed the way doctors communicate with their patients, recruiters must rethink the way they communicate with healthcare job candidates.
Nurses and doctors are always on the go and almost never sitting in front of a computer where they can easily check their personal email. And since many hospital networks also block access to certain sites—38 percent block LinkedIn, for example—texting is an invaluable way to rapidly reach candidates in the healthcare space.
Time to Text?
More text messages are sent on a daily basis than calls and emails combined. Today, 43 percent of smartphone owners have used their devices to look up information about a job, and 18 percent to apply for a job. Candidates are already using their device in the recruiting process, so it's time recruiters meet them where they are.
I'll be the first to admit—in theory, texting candidates sounds over the top. Even personally, the thought of businesses or retailers texting me out of the blue infuriated me. But while in theory it sounds invasive, in practice, it's just downright simple for people to engage this way. Even more critical: people seek jobs. They are coveted. And the right one can change your life. No one likes to start the job search from scratch—so imagine a world where jobs came to you from a company you expressed interest in at some point, in a personalized way, in a method that's immediate and requires little work or interaction upfront.
Photo: Creative Commons
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4 Ways to Expand Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy
Social media is ubiquitous, and companies are using it in many different and innovative ways for enhancing their sales, marketing and customer services. So why is it then that many HR departments still fail to see social media as more than a job board? Outside of the office, the same HR people happily engage with friends on Facebook, share news and ideas on Twitter, look at pictures on Instagram and send snaps on Snapchat. But when they put their work hat on they seemingly forget why they use social in the way they (and hundreds of millions of other users) do every day, and resort back to just posting jobs (in a boring way) on social media! Of course there is nothing wrong with job posting, and it's often an effective approach to reaching an audience, but not all of the time. According to LinkedIn, only 12 percent of the working population are actively seeking new employment. So, if all you do is post jobs on your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook page, you are consciously ignoring the other 88 percent of the working population who might be interested in hearing more about your company in general. Creating and sharing interesting content about your company such as employee stories or volunteer days help bring your employer brand to life. It might even trigger people to reach out to you and find out more about your job opportunities. In truth, mixing up your social media feeds with a variety of content will provide more depth and candidate engagement. Here are four ways to expand your social media strategy and engage with new potential candidates. 1) Candidate Sourcing With people using an average of more than five social networks, sourcing talent via social media makes absolute sense. Branch out from just using LinkedIn and look to sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to search for and engage with prospective talent. Try search tools like Followerwonk to search Twitter bios for keywords and job titles, a clever Chrome browser extension called Intelligence Search that easily searches Facebook and using the search bar at the top of Google+. They will help you identify new talent. If you are looking to build social media pipelines then try Hello Talent. It is a great free tool that allows you to build talent pipelines from many different social networks by using a browser extension. 2) Competitor Monitoring Social media is a fantastic source of information and data. By using tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, you can monitor the social media activity of your competitors. Both of these tools allow you to set up search columns, where you can enter things like keywords, hashtags, Twitter names and track when any of these are mentioned on sites such as Twitter. You can use the interact or use the insights accordingly. 3) Resources for Candidates Consider your Facebook page (or Twitter channel) as a real-time customer services channel for you to engage and communicate with both new and existing candidates in the recruitment process. Provide links to your social media pages to candidates at all stages in the process and encourage them to visit the pages and ask questions about any part of the process. You can also share useful information about working for the company, including locations, employees and other relevant news. 4) Live Recruitment Events Not everyone can attend the many recruitment events happening every month. But by using social media like Twitter, Facebook Live, Instagram and Snapchat, you can easily provide live commentary for these events you attend or host. Real-time video via Facebook Live and interaction via Twitter chats are superb examples of ways to regularly engage with a live audience of potential candidates. With social media firmly established in our working lives, I question how much more evidence HR departments will need to fully embrace this "new" form of candidate engagement. Photo: Twenty20
Cartoon Coffee Break: Unconventional Recruiting
Editor's Note: This post is part of our "Cartoon Coffee Break" series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back every two weeks for a new ReWork cartoon. Missed the Recruiting Trends conference? From the state of recruiting automation adoption, to the role that the human element still plays in recruiting, our recap covers everything you need to know. Header photo: Creative Commons
The Latest Office Benefit Is Tackling Student Debt
Modern companies are more than just employers — increasingly, they are also gyms, cafeterias and even laundromats. As perks like yoga class, free lunch and complimentary dry cleaning become the norm, companies continue to push the boundaries on ways to attract and retain top talent by providing much more than a paycheck to employees. The latest in the slew of new workplace benefits? Student loan assistance. In April, Chegg partnered with Tuition.io to give full-time employees extra cash for student loan reduction. Then in September, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers announced it would provide up to $1,200 to help employees pay off loans annually. As a benefit, student loan assistance programs are certainly still in their infancy— one survey found that only 3 percent of companies offer such a benefit. But experts say that may soon change as companies seek to differentiate themselves in a competitive hiring environment. "We think student loan benefits are poised to be the next big benefit; similar to what 401(k) matching was when it was first introduced," says Dana Rosenberg, who leads employer and affinity group partnerships at Earnest, a lender that offers student loan refinancing and works with companies to create loan pay-down programs. The Burden of Student Debt Such programs could be extremely attractive to debt-laden Millennials. Around 40 million Americans collectively carry $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, and the graduating class of 2015 was the most indebted class in history with an average debt of $35,000 (a superlative they won't hold for long come May 2016.) For employers looking to adjust benefits to correspond to the changing demographics of their employee base, student loan programs hit the mark. "In 2016, our employees will be 80 percent millennials, and we also hire close to 11,000 employees directly out of school each year," says Terri McClements, Washington Metro managing partner of PwC. With student debt often preventing young people from participating in 401(k) plans and reaching traditional life milestones, the benefit could potentially make a large impact on employees' financial and personal well-being. A study from the American Student Association found that 73 percent of people with student loans reported putting off saving for retirement or other investments due to their debt, 75 percent reported delaying a home purchase and 27 percent reported it was difficult to buy daily necessities. "Student loans can be a very stressful thing to deal with, so if we can give our employees peace of mind, that's great," says Caroline Gennaro, corporate communications manager at Chegg. The Allure for Employers Student debt assistance programs aren't just attractive to employees, either. Rosenberg says there are significant benefits for the organizations that offer them as well. "Employers that offer programs to help their employees get out from under their debt load are seeing big benefits: increased retention, more competitive recruiting and, perhaps most importantly, happier employees who have additional cash flow to put towards their life goals," Rosenberg explains. Rosenberg says happier employees are more engaged employees, who tend to be more productive. Studies show that companies with high employee engagement experience lower turnover and have double the rate of organizational success than their less-engaged counterparts. Student loan benefit programs may also lead to a more diverse workforce, attracting employees whose financial backgrounds meant they had to take on more debt for their education. "Diversity and inclusion are also very important to us, so the ability to offer this benefit can help minorities who come out of school with a higher debt burden," says McClements. A Promising Response Companies say the response to their student loan assistance programs have been overwhelmingly positive. Chegg has had more than 80 people sign up since they started their program this summer, and they've already eliminated roughly 86 years of collective loan repayments for their employees. Companies are also finding these programs are a way to differentiate themselves from organizations that may offer more generic benefits. "As a company in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are always looking to attract the best and brightest in the industry, and this benefit is a big draw," says Gennaro. Photo: Shutterstock