Texting Candidates from Your Personal Cell Phone? Here’s Why You Should Stop

One study found that 70 percent of companies say time to fill was reduced when using text messaging as the primary form of communication.

But could you be putting you and your organization at risk? According to a poll, 84 percent of respondents reported that they sent an accidental text to someone. Now what if that “someone” was a candidate you were trying to hire?

Beyond putting yourself in an embarrassing position, an “accidental text” can lead to bigger problems. When texting candidates, there are a few cautions to look out for. 

Liabilities 

“With great power comes great responsibility.” The same rings true for texting candidates. When you send an SMS from your personal device, there is no way to protect you and your candidates from awkward exchanges, hackers, and privacy laws.

If you accidentally text a candidate a message that was intended for a friend or loved one, you could end up in an awkward follow-up conversation at best. In the worst-case scenario, what you say could land you in murky legal territory.

And even if your exchanges are not problematic, there’s always the risk of a phone getting stolen or hacked, compromising your candidates’ personal information.

The free-form nature of texting also makes it impossible to guarantee compliance with GDPR and other privacy laws. Granted, guidelines are difficult to enforce in any Bring Your Own Device situation, but you can take action to minimize the risk.

Insufficient Documentation

With multiple recruiters texting multiple candidates at the same time, there’s no way to track those conversations. And if anyone else wants transparency into what’s being communicated, you’re at a loss there too.

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Documenting texting histories in a CRM solves these challenges. If a recruiter goes on vacation, someone else can pick up the conversation. If a candidate-recruiter relationship goes sour, their SMS history can be reviewed to identify what happened and extract learnings. Archived conversations also make it possible for HR teams to obtain data around SMS engagement, which brings us to my next point…

Lack of Analytics

HR leaders need data showing what’s happening every step of the way of the talent journey. But if you don’t have insight into SMS communication, you’re only fueling the blind spots.

No documentation means you can’t see how many candidates are engaging with your team via SMS. It means no insight into conversion rates and how you might be able to optimize your recruiting strategy or replicate successes. You always want the ability to tie an action to a result, whether good or bad, and texting should be no exception.

Reaching candidates where candidates are — on their phones — is a good thing. Just watch out for common pitfalls and spare yourself the hassle of a misfired SMS. Happy texting! 

Nancy Gray-Starkebaum is the VP of customer experience at Phenom People. Previously the AVP of talent acquisition at Canadian Tire, Gray-Starkebaum is a highly respected practitioner with over 25 years of experience in the HR and talent-acquisition field. Throughout her career, she’s worked at several reputable corporations including SAP, Electronic Arts, and Blackberry. She received her BA at Western University and then her MBA at the University of Windsor.

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