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Sir Cliff Richard said this in his song by the same title in 1974 (I was -1) and of course for another meaning, however it certainly rings a little true in the year 2015 so...  What role could Messaging play in the Future of Recruitment?

The Recruitment landscape continues to undergo huge change globally in the same way as technology is driving change and disrupting traditional markets in almost every aspect of our lives. Recruiters need to be creative in their marketing strategies in order to effectively market their organisations and jobs to top talent, through a variety of channels. One such channel that seems to be growing in Instant Messaging.

Similar to texting, Messenger allows you to chat with friends, colleagues and family for free as long as you have a data plan or internet connection. How many times a day do we reach for our phone to communicate on What’s App, Messenger, Weibo, WeChat, or any other form of Social Platform instead of using the telephone to actually talk to people? 

According to INS Consulting WeChat (the equivalent of Whats’app), continued to add features to address just this type of activity, including an exchange platform. In 2013, WeChat exceeded 400 million users.  In another statistic if was found that:

23% of China Fortune 500 companies have opened a WeChat recruitment account with over half of them even having two or more accounts

A recent report by Jupiter Media Metrix suggested that more than 11 million people use instant messaging services at work. Other than real-time text chats, working professionals use instant messaging for audio and video conferencing, to swap industry information and expert tips, share applications and work calendars, transfer files, problem solving, and more.

Instant messaging is rapidly becoming the industry standard for small businesses and startups who need to communicate and collaborate with freelancers, quickly reach supervisors and employees working remotely, long-distance clients and many other business operations.  Irrespective of size, organisations can make use of secure and easy-to-use Text Messaging Services to enhance communication with customers and employees, save time by speeding up response rate, improve efficiency and boost workplace productivity.

Messaging as an Effective Recruitment Channel

According to new figures from eMarketer, the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2 billion in 2016. Imagine tapping into this huge talent pool of potential candidates for your organization. With job seekers increasingly accessing job information and applications via their mobile devices, having an end-to-end mobile recruiting experience will ensure you don’t lose out on prospective candidates.

In the global race to acquire the best talent, Recruiters need to keep pace with the rapidly evolving talent landscape and make use of the latest internet recruiting strategies to stay one step ahead of the competition. Instant messaging’s value as a recruiting tool in the working world can no longer be ignored.

Whilst I of course believe that there are absolutely no challenges to the requirement for a face to face interview at some part of the process, are we underestimating the benefits of using a messaging service for other aspects?

Role of Messaging in the Future of Recruitment

When it comes to sourcing and recruiting candidates, messaging is easy to use and can be an effective communication tool. Here are some obvious reasons for recruiters to use Messaging:

  • It is certainly much easier to have a conversation with a prospect who is at their current place of work on a Messaging Platform. This will most certainly speed up response times and of course your time to fill.
  • In the age where most people have their mobiles at arm’s reach 24/7, messaging is a surefire way to connect with job seekers quickly and conveniently.
  • There’s a higher chance that your candidate will reply immediately to your Text message than an email, so the response rates are quicker.
  • Nearly all your candidates would already be using a messaging app/platform such as WhatsApp, WeChat, BBM, LINE, Viber, Hangouts, Twitter, etc. – just ask them which ones they use so that you can communicate with them in future.
  • Since Messaging platforms use the same systems all over the world, communicating and staying in touch with candidates from out of state or country is easier.
  • In roles such as clerical, customer service, telecommunications, sales or IT, the ability to quickly conduct a conversation over a Messaging Platform could and will tell us a lot about our applicants, such as their typing and language skills, reaction times and ability to think and respond as well as overall comfort with technology.

Some pointers to keep in mind

  • Make sure that your job candidates have opted-in to receiving text messages.
  • Don’t send lengthy texts. Be brief and to the point.
  • Don’t disturb your candidates during odd hours with your texts.
  • While it’s ok to remind a candidate about an appointment or interview through a text message, it’s always better to give negative feedback through a phone call.

Finally, similar to all other traditional marketing campaigns, Messaging requires a strategy. Ideally and practically, Messaging is a part of your overall recruitment arsenal, not a stand-alone solution.  Your goal is to build a large following of users and ultimately push potential prospects to where they can find out more information about your company, opportunities, join your talent community or as the process progresses, perhaps answer some quick questions, schedule an interview, follow up on references, assessments and many other areas where there is no real need for a phone call to be an essential part of the process