To recruit today’s socially engaged and digitally connected candidates, talent acquisition teams are always looking at new communication channels that can help extend the reach of their employer brands. But before you add another social media account to manage, there’s another way to think about candidate communications: not where, but how.
This was the breakthrough thinking that led thredUP to try text recruiting, and the results show why they’re now huge fans: texting reduced thredUP’s time to hire by 30% while doubling the number of hires that their 5 recruiters can manage.
Here’s what we learned from thredUP’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Natalie Breece, about how they use text recruiting to be more responsive and accessible to candidates, and in turn gain the advantage of speed to hire faster.
Director of Talent Acquisition, thredUP
thredUP is a fashion resale website for consumers to buy and sell secondhand clothing online.
- Fast-growing company – thredUP was opening 3 new retail stores in a 3-4 month timeframe, at the same time their warehouse and distribution centers were rapidly expanding
- High-volume recruiting – their 5-person recruiting team needed to hire 100 people per week to meet the business’s needs
- Highly competitive market – recruiters had to move fast from sourcing to screening to interview to offer, with many candidates “on the market” for only a matter of days
- Hard to reach – the hourly workforce that thredUP hires isn’t on email very much, certainly not during the day when candidates are likely at their current job
- Hard to manage – recruiting that volume in that timeframe made it difficult for recruiters to manage emails, calls and voicemails, with response rates from candidates typically low
What thredUP likes about text recruiting
- Is a universal communications method – every candidate has a mobile phone
- Texting provides faster response times than email or phone, and eliminates the lag time that email tag and voicemails create in the recruiting process
- Allows thredUP to add and remove candidates to their funnel quickly – candidates can text to apply, and can decline a recruiter’s reach-out or unsubscribe from receiving future texts. These features come with the texting solution that thredUP uses from TextRecruit (Note: TextRecruit is a sponsor of Rally).
- Recruiters can use text throughout the entire candidate funnel, such as to schedule interviews or to remind candidates to complete onboarding paperwork, even about their start date and time
- You can have a lot more touch points with a candidate and it doesn’t feel like the recruiter is overwhelming the candidate
- Is a way to source among thredUP customers visiting their retail stores – smartly placed advertisements in-store invite customers to text the shortcode “thredUP” to learn about jobs
- Enables recruiters to ignite a conversation with a candidate more easily and quickly than typical sourcing methods
- After a candidate applies, because they provide their mobile phone number, it allows thredUP’s recruiters to move quickly to make contact and capture interest
What text recruiting looks like
The ROI of text recruiting
- Primary benefit is response rate – the thredUP team sent 7,000 messages in one month and got a 75% response rate
- The other primary benefit is speed of response – the thredUP team texted 500 candidates who had applied and received 150 responses within 15 minutes, and 200 responses within 1 hour
- Because they’ve gained the advantage of speed, thredUP reduced their time to hire by 30% for distribution center jobs
- In addition, their team of 5 recruiters has been able to double the number of hires they can make each week
- Texting improves the candidate experience – it feels more personal than email, so candidates feel they can get in touch with recruiters immediately and feel that thredUP is accessible throughout the candidate experience
- Texting helps build relationships – new hires will text thredUP’s recruiters to continue the relationship to ask for help with onboarding or say thanks on their first day
- Natalie surveyed 40 recent hires, and overwhelmingly they said the interview process and communications with the recruiter was easy due to texting
- thredUP’s recruiters now say they don’t know how they recruited before using text messaging!
Natalie’s tips for successful text recruiting
- Have a clear call to action (CTA), such as ask the candidate to respond with a yes/no if you’re still interested in thredUP, and you’ll get a higher response rate
- Decide up front what tone is right for your employer brand – at thredUP, they’re ok with abbreviating and using more casual language
- Personalize your texts with the candidate’s name and the location or job they applied to, or the date you received their resume – so they feel you’re speaking one-on-one with them
- Test sending texts at different times of day to see when you get a higher response – thredUP determined that sending messages at 5pm is good because candidates are wrapping up their workday and respond quickly
- Identify a cheerleader, an early adopter on your talent acquisition team, and help them to have success quickly, so they share that with the rest of the team and build the team’s confidence to try something new
- Before you implement a team-wide texting strategy, think through what the communications flow should look like from sourcing to hire – look for texting tools that provide templates to make this easier and consistent
To get more examples of text recruiting, we recommend two resources:
Watching this 26-minute presentation from RallyFwd™ of Trilogy Health’s John Turner who shares how they use text recruiting for one-on-one messaging and for bulk texting campaigns to complement their email marketing efforts.
Download the Rally How-To Guide: 4 Ways to Text the Modern Candidate, sponsored by TextRecruit. (Note: TextRecruit is a sponsor of Rally. Their sponsorship fee helps us to create educational content and events on Recruitment Marketing.)