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Text Recruiting

July 27th, 2016

August, 1997. That’s when I got my first position in the staffing industry. I was a Staffing Coordinator for a light industrial staffing company. By 1999, I was a Branch Director for a $50M staffing firm, specializing in administrative and skilled trades staffing and in 2000, I went to work at one of the largest staffing companies in the country as a Technical Recruiter with an emphasis in automotive design and engineering. I was a phone warrior! I loved recruiting and 19 years later, I am still doing what I love, with one exception; I no longer use a telephone for recruiting. I only use a cell phone for texting and a computer for email. How has this impacted my placements, one might wonder? The simple answer is, my placements have never been better.
Let me back up a few years…on November 24, 2013 I was driving in the car when very suddenly, I had massive tinnitus and everything instantly sounded distorted. As it turned out, I suffered a very rare condition called SSHL (Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss). Suddenly, I found myself unable to understand most speech patterns and talking on the phone was no longer an option for me. I thought to myself, “How will I continue recruiting for a living? How will I support my family?” I was in panic mode, combined with depression since my entire life changed in a split second.
At that time, I was (and still am) fortunate enough to be working for CrossFire Group, a fantastic company that truly cares about their employee’s. My boss told me not to worry and we would figure it out. I was extremely grateful and more determined than ever to find a new way to continue doing what I love. This was my “new normal”. As such, I began texting potential candidates about job opportunities. The results were initially mixed and rather dismal. I realized that my texts could be misconstrued as being spam or even worse, a scam! I knew that I had to find a way to make a random text to a complete stranger appear to be legitimate and honest. Knowing that more and more people receive their emails via mobile phones, I started sending an email to candidates just before I sent them a text. This way, they would get two messages from me and know that I have both, their email address AND their cell phone number. Where else would someone get both of these points of contact? Their resume, of course. The results were much improved, yet still not good enough, so I continued to tweak my initial contact message, so that it included things, such as a brief explanation why I was texting, and included my name, company name, and email address. All things they could look up to verify the authenticity of my text.
What are some of the advantages to text recruiting? I was pleasantly surprised to discover there are several. Here are just a few; by copy and pasting, I was able to duplicate my process and contact for more candidates than calling them. I don’t get “stuck” on the phone with those “chatty folks”. I am able to engage in multiple conversations simultaneously with both, candidates and clients. I can reach those (preferred) candidates that are currently working because most of us can text while at work or on breaks, whereas it is much more difficult to have a private phone conversation for a lot of people. Texting is less intrusive than calling and I am comfortable sending a text at 6 AM or 10 PM. I always have the text history to reference information from a previous conversation, which also always allows me to have candidate phone numbers available, no matter where I am. Texting is short and to the point, i.e. a MAJOR time saver! Providing a candidate a status update on their interview feedback/decision has never been easier. I can be in the middle of something personal or professional and usually answer a question in less than 30 seconds. My candidates and clients have access to me 24/7 and they know I will be able to respond much faster than if they left me a voice message.
I like to think that I sort of reinvented the wheel because my recruiting success has far been better than it was back when I was a phone warrior.

-Bryan St. Onge, Sr. Technical Recruiter

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