texting candidates

Do’s & Don’ts of Text Recruiting

It’s 2020 and recruiters are texting with candidates more than ever and this trend will surely continue as more Millennials and Generation Z workers make up the majority of the candidate market. Officially known as ‘Text Recruiting’ – recruiters love the speed and response rate of texting, and candidates love how convenient and discreet it is. However, texting with candidates isn’t as simple as picking up your cell phone and sending a text. Recruiters need to be aware of the risks and limitations of this modern communication channel because, if used incorrectly, it can damage your brand and could land you in hot water with the feds. 

Like other messaging mediums such as email, basic etiquette and common sense will get you far with Text Recruiting however there are some US and Canadian federal regulations and recommended best-practices that recruiters need to be aware of. 

As the co-founder of a text recruiting software company a big part of my responsibility to our industry is to educate and inform recruiting teams on the Do’s and Dont’s of Text Recruiting which I’ve summarized below. 


What to do:

As per TCPA regulations, make sure your candidate is happy to communicate via text before you start texting them – enable them to opt-in on a job application or ask them directly.

Greet & introduce yourself – make sure your candidate knows who you are, the company you are from and why you are texting them.

Give your candidates a clear method of opting-out from future text messages (Text Recruiting Software takes care of this for you).

Be polite, professional and genuine in your message content (but don’t forget to show your personality!).

Always make sure the message content is always relevant and appropriate to each candidate.

Keep your messages personal and concise – each message should be no longer than approximately 240 characters. If you need to send a long message then consider using email instead.

If sending campaigns, make sure to personalize the messages to candidates using our built-in hot keys for First Name, Last Name, and Company.

Spell check your texts and read the message out loud before hitting ‘send’ to catch any grammar issues.

Be mindful of the time when texting candidates. During normal working hours is ideal (9 -5) but if this isn’t possible, send texts no earlier than 8am and no later than 8pm.

Phone calls with candidates are still relevant during the recruitment process so use texts to set up calls (not to replace phone calls altogether).

Reply to text messages quickly to show your candidate that you care about them and value their time. This also keeps the momentum going and the candidate engaged.

Include a Call-to-Action (CTA) so that the candidate knows what the next steps are. Ideally you’ll keep the CTA to come via text 😉

Finally, use Text Recruiting Software to communicate with your candidates via text instead of your personal cell phone.


What NOT to do:

Don’t text with candidates who do not want to be contacted via text message.

Don’t send text messages to candidates who have previously opted out (Text Recruiting Software safeguards you against this).

Avoid sending any text messages that could be considered spammy or unprofessional.

While emojis can add personality and tone to a message, avoid using too many emojis in the same message as it’s unprofessional.

Minimise your use of slang and acronyms such as LOL, OMG, BTW etc.

Stay away from using EXCESSIVE ALL CAPS, punctuation and special characters such as ‘Hi how are YOU???????’

Avoid sending text messages early in the morning, late at night, or during the weekends (unless your candidate given your permission to do so).

Don’t use texting when the nature of the message requires detail or deeper context. E.g.  during salary negotiations and or declining candidates.

Harassing candidates by sending them multiple unanswered texts is a big no-no.

Don’t use your personal cell phone for text recruiting.


‍If you’re not sure…

Overall, use common professional sense and text with candidates in the same way that you’d expect to be texted by them if your roles were reversed. However, if you’re not sure whether a text you are about to send falls within the best practice guidelines then we recommend that you play-it-safe and don’t send it – if you’re not sure if it’s a good idea then it’s probably not!

Brian Thompson

Starting his recruiting career in 2005, Brian Thompson is a self-confessed recruitment geek and is fascinated by using technology to solve important problems in the recruitment industry. He co-founded Rectxt after realizing that there was no good and affordable text recruiting software available for the SMB market. Rectxt’s mission is to democratize text recruiting and is genuinely designed by recruiters for recruiters to be the most simple and affordable text recruiting software in the market.