Careers

Forget the phone—your next employer wants to interview you over text messages

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The next time you apply for a job, don't be surprised if the recruiter follows up with you via text message. It may sound like a scam, but a growing number of hiring managers are using text-based screenings as a way to recruit talent.

"I wouldn't be surprised, at least for newer professionals, if it becomes a pretty commonplace thing," TopResume's career expert Amanda Augustine tells CNBC Make It.

Augustine explains that time is money for many recruiters, whose pay is contingent upon placing candidates quickly. Communicating with a candidate over text instead of the phone can be a more efficient method for some companies.

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"A recruiter's initial mindset is, 'Who can I get rid of out of the pile and narrow it down to a smaller group of who is best for the role,'" she says. "So I see text messaging as being another way for recruiters to say, 'I don't have to waste my time on a phone call.'"

Aman Brar, CEO of text-based interviewing platform Canvas, naturally agrees. He launched his company in June 2017, after noticing just how time consuming it could be for recruiters to connect with candidates through the traditional processes.

"Even when you are talking with family and friends you are often texting," he says. "Just imagine if you use Bumble or Match.com and you had to have a phone conversation to connect with someone. So I thought we could create a platform to make [hiring] less awkward and create authentic conversations up front."

According to a Gallup poll, sending and receiving text messages is the most common form of communication for many Americans under 50. As companies continue to find ways to connect with the next generation of employees, Brar says that it only makes sense for texting to make its way to the recruiting process.

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In less than a year, he says his platform has caught the attention of many Fortune 500 companies and startups who are looking for more effective ways to recruit talent. One company that was an early adopter of Canvas is OpenTable. Before Canvas was launched to the public, Brar and his team worked with the reservation service company to test how texting would impact its hiring process.

OpenTable SVP Scott Day says that in addition to allowing recruiters to have multiple conversations with different candidates at once, communicating over text helps the company to zero-in on ways it can improve its recruitment questions. Unlike a traditional phone conversation, he says a transcript of a text conversation provides insight into what questions a candidate takes longer to respond to and at if at any point a candidate seems to have lost interest.

"It becomes a test for us in terms of figuring out which questions are best for the type of candidate we are looking for," he says.

Day adds that text-based screenings also allow OpenTable to give applicants an inside view of the company's culture via pictures and video before they come in for an in-person interview.

He admits that texting with recruiters may still seem awkward to many job seekers, which is why the company still gives candidates the option to have a traditional phone screening if they choose. However, he says few candidates take the company up on this offer.

"It's literally in the single digits since we started nearly a year ago," he explains.

Augustine predicts that OpenTable's method will soon be the most common form of recruitment communication.

"Emails can get lost and people don't want to wait for a response," she says. "I think text messaging is a channel that hasn't been saturated yet, particularly from the recruiting standpoint, and I don't see it going away anywhere any time soon."

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