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How to use SMS automation to engage more candidates?

Jul 9, 2024

In today's competitive job market, keeping candidates engaged throughout the hiring process is crucial. But with so many applicants to manage, it can be time-consuming to provide regular updates and answer questions.

This is where SMS automation comes in. Studies show that text messages boast a whopping 98% open rate, compared to a much lower rate for emails.

That means candidates are far more likely to see and respond to your messages, leading to a faster and more efficient hiring process.

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Here's how you can leverage SMS automation to engage more candidates and land the best talent:

What is SMS automation?

SMS automation is essentially using software to automatically send text messages to a list of people which can be sent out at specific times you set up, or they can be triggered by certain events.

For example, you can set up an automated SMS to be sent immediately after a candidate submits an application, thanking them for their interest and letting them know the next steps which is  not only saves you time, but also ensures a prompt and positive candidate experience from the very beginning.

Benefits of SMS automation for recruitment

After getting to know about SMS automation, Now let’s explore how it can be a powerful tool for recruiters by offering several advantages over traditional communication methods:

  • Higher Engagement:  Text messages boast near-perfect open rates (around 98%) compared to email, and receive replies significantly faster (within minutes compared to hours for email). This translates to quicker responses from candidates and keeps them engaged throughout the process.
  • Improved Efficiency: Automating repetitive tasks like sending application confirmations, interview invites, and reminders frees up recruiters' time to focus on more strategic aspects of hiring.
  • Faster Hiring Process: By streamlining communication, SMS automation can expedite the recruitment process.  Candidates can confirm interviews or ask questions promptly, and recruiters can keep everyone informed efficiently.
  • Candidate Convenience:  Most people have their phones with them constantly, and text messages are easy to read and respond to on the go. This caters to candidates' busy schedules and allows them to engage with the recruitment process at their convenience.
  • Positive Candidate Experience: Quick and transparent communication through SMS keeps candidates informed and reduces anxiety. This fosters a positive experience throughout the hiring process, which can reflect well on your company.
  • Better Candidate Pool: Texting allows you to reach a wider range of candidates, including those who may not check email regularly. This can open your talent pool to more qualified individuals.

How can SMS automation help overcome the common challenges in recruitment?

Finding the perfect person for the job is important, but hiring can be tough through traditional methods. Here's how SMS automation can help:

1. Difficulty in reaching candidates

What: Finding and engaging with suitable candidates can be a major hurdle for HR teams. Many candidates have busy schedules and may not check their emails regularly or may ignore phone calls from unknown numbers.

Why: Traditional communication methods like emails and phone calls often go unnoticed or are ignored, making it difficult to connect with potential hires.

How SMS Automation helps: SMS automation provides a direct and immediate way to reach candidates. Text messages have a high open rate and are often read within minutes, making it an effective channel for reaching candidates who might miss other forms of communication.

Example: Automated SMS reminders for interviews or application updates can help ensure that candidates are aware of important events and deadlines, reducing the chances of missed appointments and improving overall engagement.

2. Managing high volumes of applications

What: Handling a large number of applications can overwhelm HR teams. Sifting through resumes, scheduling interviews, and following up with candidates is time-consuming and can lead to inefficiencies.

Why: High volumes of applications require significant manual effort to manage, which can slow down the hiring process and lead to missed opportunities.

How SMS Automation helps: SMS automation can streamline the application process and improve communication efficiency. Automated messages can acknowledge receipt of applications, schedule interviews, and provide updates on the application status, reducing the burden on HR teams.

Example: Sending bulk SMS messages to confirm receipt of applications or to schedule initial screening calls can help manage large applicant pools more effectively.

3. Ensuring timely follow-ups

What: Keeping track of follow-ups with candidates can be challenging, and delays can result in losing top talent to other opportunities.

Why: Manual follow-ups are prone to delays, which can negatively impact the candidate experience and lead to missed opportunities.

How SMS Automation helps: SMS automation can set up automatic follow-up messages and reminders, ensuring that candidates receive timely communication throughout the recruitment process.

Example: Automated follow-up messages for candidates who have not responded to initial outreach can help maintain momentum and keep the recruitment process on track.

4. Maintaining personalized communication

What: Providing personalized communication at scale can be difficult, and generic messages may make candidates feel undervalued.

Why: Personalized communication is crucial for building strong relationships with candidates, but managing it manually can be challenging.

How SMS Automation helps: SMS automation tools can send personalized messages based on candidate data, making each candidate feel valued and engaged.

Example: Sending personalized interview invitations or tailored feedback messages can enhance the candidate experience and foster better relationships with potential hires.

5. Keeping candidates engaged throughout the process

What: Candidates may lose interest or become disengaged during lengthy recruitment processes, especially if they don’t receive regular updates.

Why: A lack of communication can lead to candidates seeking opportunities elsewhere, which can disrupt the recruitment process.

How SMS automation helps: SMS automation keeps candidates informed and engaged with regular updates on the application status, upcoming interviews, and next steps.

Example: Automated updates on application status or upcoming steps in the recruitment process can help maintain candidate interest and engagement.

6. Reducing no-shows for interviews

What: Candidates failing to show up for scheduled interviews can disrupt the recruitment process and waste resources.

Why: No-shows can be caused by forgetfulness or miscommunication, leading to inefficiencies in the hiring process.

How SMS automation helps: Automated reminder messages for interviews and confirmations can significantly reduce the likelihood of candidates missing their appointments.

Example: Sending reminder texts a day before the interview can help ensure that candidates remember their appointments and show up on time.

7. Streamlining the onboarding process

What: Managing the onboarding process for new hires involves coordinating paperwork, training, and introductions, which can be complex and time-consuming.

Why: Effective onboarding is essential for new hires to start their roles smoothly, but managing all aspects of the process can be overwhelming.

How SMS automation helps: SMS automation can facilitate various onboarding tasks and communications, making the process more efficient and organized.

Example: Automated messages with onboarding instructions, documents, and training schedules can help new hires get up to speed quickly and easily.

What are the practical use cases of automated SMS templates for candidate engagement?

Automated SMS templates can streamline your recruitment process and improve candidate experience in several ways. here are some practical uses:

1. Application acknowledgement

Immediately after a candidate submits their application send the below SMS which lets them know their application was received and shows you're responsive.

"Thanks for applying for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]! We've received your application and will be in touch soon. In the meantime, learn more about us at [Company Website]."

2. Interview scheduling and reminders

Once an interview is scheduled, send a confirmation SMS with the date, time, location (if applicable), and a link to cancel if needed. Send a reminder SMS a day or two before the interview.

"[Candidate Name], this is a reminder about your interview for the [Job Title] position on [Date] at [Time]. We look forward to meeting you! Reply STOP to cancel."

3. Application status updates

When a hiring decision is made you can use separate templates for shortlisted and rejected candidates to manage expectations.

  • For shortlisted candidates: Update them within the timeframe you promised in a previous SMS.

"[Candidate Name], your application for the [Job Title] position is under review. We'll update you within [Timeframe]."

  • For rejected candidates: Thank them for their interest and avoid going into specifics about why they weren't chosen.

"Thank you for your interest in [Company Name]. Unfortunately, your application for the [Job Title] position wasn't successful this time. We wish you the best in your job search."

4. Gather feedback

After a candidate completes an interview you can send the below SMS to helps you improve your interview process and show you value their experience.

"We value your feedback! How was your interview experience at [Company Name] today? Reply with a number (1-5) or a short message."

5. Share company culture

Periodically throughout the recruitment process, especially if there's a gap between stages send the below message If you want help build a positive employer brand and keep candidates engaged.

"Working at [Company Name] is more than just a job! Check out our latest team outing on [Social Media Platform]." (Note: Include link only if texting platform allows)

Tips for effective SMS automation use:

  • Get consent: Always obtain a candidate's consent before sending SMS messages.
  • Maintain professionalism: Keep the tone professional and courteous.
  • Personalize when possible: Use the candidate's name and personalize the message content where appropriate.
  • Keep it concise: SMS messages have character limits, so be brief and to the point.
  • Include a call to action: Encourage candidates to respond or take further action.
  • Use a dedicated texting platform: Avoid using personal phone numbers for business communication.

Getting started with SMS automation

Several applicant tracking systems (ATS) and recruitment software platforms like  offer built-in SMS automation functionalities.  These platforms allow you to create pre-designed templates, manage contact lists, and track communication history.

Remember, SMS automation is a tool to enhance your recruitment strategy, not replace human interaction.

Use it effectively to create a positive candidate experience, improve your employer brand, and ultimately, attract and retain top talent.

Zoi Kotsou

Copywriter - Content writer - Content Strategist

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