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Text-Interviewing — The Next Big Thing In Recruiting?

Source | ERE Media : By Dr. John Sullivan

People love texting. In fact, texting is the most widely-used app on a smartphone, “with 97 percent of Americans using it at least once a day.” And among the age group that recruiters often target (18 – 29), 100 percent of those surveyed use texting. In addition, the odds of a tech-savvy or innovator recruiting prospect or candidate not being a frequent user of texting are near zero. Obviously, most recruiters already use texting to communicate with candidates, but for some reason, few are aware of and only a small percentage use texting as an interviewing tool.

I recommend an approach that I call “text-interviewing, which is where the two parties exchange interview questions and answers via text messaging. Now initially, text-interviewing might sound crazy, but it has several advantages over most interview approaches. It especially makes sense because of the often “almost instant” response time (90 percent of all text messages are read within three minutes) and the amazingly high percentage of text messages that actually get a response. In fact, the all-important response rate for texting is much higher than that of voice, social media, or email messaging.

The Many Benefits Associated With “Text-Interviewing”

The mobile phone by itself has many advantages for recruiters. As a result, many recruiters have justifiably learned to use it for live video and telephone interviews. But I urge recruiters and hiring managers to consider a supplementary approach, which is live or even asynchronous interview using only text. For recruiters who are always saying they want an “outside the box solution,” this text-interviewing approach has many advantages including:

  • Reduced stress means a better quality of hire because interviewees perform better — face-to-face interviews during work hours mean that the interviewee must make excuses as to why they will be absent, and having to rush to the interview can put a great deal of stress on the interviewee. And when an out-of-town interviewee must travel to the interview, they may even arrive exhausted. However because text-interviews are “remote,” they can be conducted without having to leave work, which will likely mean that the interviewee will perform better. And unlike telephone and video interviews, there is no background noise in text interviews that may distract the interviewer from hearing or understanding the answers. For international interviews, the interviewee freshness factor is even more important. Removing these three factors may actually mean that more currently employed and “in-demand” candidates will be willing to participate in your interviews. The reduced stress and the possibility of more time for the interviewer to craft the best questions and the interviewee to more thoroughly provide their best answer may also contribute to an improvement in your quality of hire.
  • A faster “time to fill in” because interviews are much easier to schedule — because most job seekers carry their mobile phone with them 24/7 during their job search, it opens the possibility of scheduling text interviewing not only during the day but also at night and on weekends. And unlike voice interviews, text interviews can’t be overheard by others (or seen by others close by). And as a result (depending on your ethical standards), these interviews can even be done during a candidate break at work. And there is no requirement that textinterviews even need to be scheduled because they can be done asynchronously on the fly, with each party completing their part whenever they have a break. Taken together, the ease of scheduling and the faster response time means that text interviews can reduce your time to fill dramatically.

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