At first glance texting and interviewing candidates seems to go together as well as ketchup and lobster. But if you think about it just a minute, texting with job seekers has a lot of potential for human resources.
First of all, most of the people you're interviewing today love texting. Texting is the most widely used app on a smartphone. 97 percent of Americans use it at least once a day, and 75 percent of Millennials would rather give up the ability to talk on their smartphones than the ability to text. So why not embrace the medium that so many candidates are using?
The strategy seems like a no-brainer. Texting solves one of the biggest challenges recruiters and managers face—getting to speak with a candidate. Because most Millennials and Gen Zers don't check their voice mail, texting circumvents the frustrating game of phone tag. Email is still a go-to option, of course, but texting overcomes the time delay of email—90 percent of text messages are read within 3 minutes.
If texting is so effective, why not take it a step further and replace phone interview screening with a series of texts? Let's explore a few benefits and drawbacks of texting before, during and after an interview.
Ease of Scheduling
Most job seekers carry their mobile phones with them 24/7. With near instant response times, the traditional game of phone-email-voice mail tag is over before it begins. Of course you should be mindful of when you send messages: according to Software Advice, a tech firm that compares talent management systems, 24 percent of job seekers find it inappropriate for a recruiter to contact them outside of business hours. But unlike phone conversations, text interviews can't be overheard so it's more likely to generate at least an acknowledgement.
Less Opportunity for Bias
Unconscious bias is a huge and growing problem for companies. Studies show that many judgments made in the first 10 seconds of an interview could predict the outcome. What's more, most of these first impressions are often useless. Text interviewing could be another form of blind hiring to ensure discrimination is avoided at the earlier screening stages. The downside of this, of course, is that it eliminates the human element, which is an important part of establishing a relationship with a candidate during any interview process.
Insight into Communication Skills
One of the biggest criticisms companies have about employees today is their inability to communicate, especially in writing. While it's fair to say that text messages are a far cry from most business writing, you will get to see a candidate's style and professionalism using an informal medium. If their texts are loaded with emoticons, misspellings and abbreviations this might not be the best sign. But keep in mind it is hard to convey nuance and subtleties over text message, so some texts might get "lost in translation".
You don't need new equipment, and little if any training is needed for texting. In addition, texting saves time — one of the things recruiters don't have enough of (the other is, of course, qualified candidates). At the same time, if your employees are using their personal devices to text candidates, you need to have the infrastructure in place to support a "bring your own device" policy in order to protect the company from security risks.
Improved Employer Brand
Texting is one of the simplest ways to boost a company's image with little if any investment. It's difficult to make an interview memorable and give the impression your company is responsive, and maybe even a cool place to work. What better way to engage applicants quickly, embrace the mobile platform and create a good first impression? Just remember that striking a balance is important—while text messaging is increasingly considered professional, research has shown that the majority of candidates still prefer to be contacted via phone and email.
Have you tried texting candidates? I'm curious to hear how it went — fill out my survey if you're interested in sharing your experience!
Photo: Creative Commons
Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.
Cartoon Coffee Break: Fitness Challenges
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. +++++ We’re approaching the middle of January, and New Year's resolutions are in full swing. For many, that means being more active and creating a regular gym schedule. But sticking to these goals can be challenging, especially for employees who work at a desk for eight or more hours per day. HR can help employees reach their goals by fostering a culture where workers feel empowered to prioritize their health and by offering benefits like gym memberships or wellness stipends.
Cartoon Coffee Break: Let's Talk About Your Facebook Post
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. Header photo: Creative Commons
Ten Dad-Friendly Workplaces
When we talk about the quest to "have it all," it's almost always in reference to working women trying to balance a stressful 9-to-5 with the equally difficult demands of family. To be sure, women face distinct challenges in the workplace and high expectations at home. But this Father's Day, let's not forget that dads are increasingly juggling work and home life, too. Single fatherhood is becoming more common in the US—a 2013 Pew report found that a record 8 percent of families with children were headed by a single dad—and 60 percent of households with children are dual-income as of 2014, putting added pressure on both working parents. While policies in the US do not mandate paid family leave of any kind—unlike parent-topia Sweden, which offers 16 months of paid parental leave and three months specifically for paternity leave—many companies are now thinking about how they can help their workers be "Employee of the Year," without sacrificing their "Dad of the Year" trophy. Here are ten excellent companies for working dads, based on a new report from parenting resource website Fatherly. 1. Google Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Mountain View, CA Number Of Employees: 53,600 Paid Paternity Leave: 7 weeks (12 weeks for primary caregiver) Industry: Tech Dad-friendly Policy Highlight: When you work with Google, your family is part of the family—really. If an employee passes away, the company provides his/her spouse with 50 percent of their salary for 10 years and immediately vested stock options, and children receive $1,000 a month until they turn 19 (or 23 if they're a student). 2. Facebook Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA Number Of Employees: 10,082 Paid Paternity Leave: 17 weeks Industry: Tech Policy Highlight: Procreating pays off. Facebook gives new parents a $4,000 "new child benefit," along with subsidized day care. Not to mention the $20,000 worth of supplemental insurance coverage for fertility and family planning treatments. 3. Bank of America Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Charlotte, NC Number Of Employees: 220,000 Paid Parental Leave: 12 weeks Industry: Finance Policy Highlight: Bank of America's twelve weeks of paid paternity leave is on par with countries likeIceland. Not too shabby. And, if you can handle the pay break, the company also allows for an additional 14 weeks of unpaid leave. 4. Patagonia Photo: Shutterstock Headquarters: Ventura, CA Number Of Employees: 2,000 Paid Paternity Leave: 8 weeks Industry: Retail Policy Highlight: Working parents don't have to stray far from their kids as Patagonia provides on-site child care for kids up to nine years old. The famously laid-back company will also provide afternoon transportation from local schools back to the office babysitter. 5. State Street Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Boston, MA Number Of Employees: 29,530 Paid Paternity Leave: 4 weeks Industry: Finance Policy Highlight: Flexible work arrangements are a must for the busy working dad (or mom). State Street's program helps take the stress out of setting up some work-from-home time by requiring their managers to approach their employees about flexible work options. 6. Genentech Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: San Francisco, CA Number Of Employees: 14,000 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks Industry: Biotech Policy Highlight: Along with dedicated paid paternity time, Genentech also offers a sabbatical program for long-term employees. Every six years, you earn six months of time off—perfect for a long summer trip with the kids. 7. LinkedIn Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Mountain View, CA Number Of Employees: 6,800 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks Industry: Tech Policy Highlight: LinkedIn likes to encourage employees to think outside their cubicle and, in addition to "special projects" time once a month, you will get a $5,000 stipend for job-related education expenses. Maybe "Childcare 101" would qualify? 8. Arnold & Porter LLP Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Washington D.C. Number Of Employees: 1,284 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks (18 for primary caregiver) Industry: Legal Policy Highlights: If your spouse or partner is gainfully employed and you'd like to trade some of those work hours for family time, Arnold and Porter allows employees working at least 25 hours to qualify for benefits. The firm even has an expert panel on hand to help their lawyers make the switch to part-time. 9. Roche Diagnostics Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Indianapolis, IN (North American HQ) Number Of Employees: 4,500 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks Industry: Healthcare Policy Highlight: Roche employees have plenty of opportunities to teach Junior essential life lessons like how to swing a bat or grow a juicy tomato. The company spends $35,000 annually on sponsored extracurriculars like community sports leagues, and also offers an on-site employee produce garden. 10. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: New York, NY Number Of Employees: 41,000 (U.S.) Paid Parental Leave: 6 weeks (plus an additional 2 weeks if have or adopt more than one kid) Industry: Professional Services Policy Highlight: Another company that values ad-hoc work schedules, PwC allows employees work-from-home options as well as ""Flex Days." So if you can cram 40 hours of work into less than five days and clear your schedule, you could end up with more frequent three-day weekends and more time with the kids. Photo: Shutterstock