‘First Question’ – The SMS Interview Trend

Earlier this month, Recruitment Grapevine reported on a new industry trend: SMS interviews. Some have claimed that screening candidates via text message will sacrifice quality for efficiency, but we see things a little differently…

The benefits of interviewing potential new employees by text message are easy to see. Firstly, recruiters will save time with the ability to send questions to multiple candidates instantaneously. Not only will recruiters be able to send out the necessary questions at the same time, but they will also be able to sift through and reject unsuitable applicants quickly. Rather than waste time with a lengthy telephone conversation to discover that an applicant doesn’t have the right traits, availability or passion for the role, recruiters can simply judge an applicant’s response to key criteria.

SMS, the preferred channel

What was surprising was the level of applicants who stated that they would prefer a SMS interview. Recruitment Grapevine quoted that 73% of Americans and Brits prefer texting to phone calls, and in our latest study we found that over 92% of our respondents sent text messages every single day – which would certainly support a shift towards mobile-first communications. What’s more, previous candidates who were looking for a new role whilst still at their current positions highlighted the ease and discretion of SMS interviews. The ability to reply in real time, rather than negotiate convenient times for both recruiter and candidate, benefits both parties and makes what can be a daunting and stressful experience that little bit easier for the candidate.

An opportunity worth considering?

However, not all in the industry are supportive of this new method. Some recruiters commented that text interviews would not allow them to gather the plethora of information they can get from a phone interview such as the tone of voice used, level of enthusiasm and passion for the role. But is this a reason to immediately dismiss SMS interviews? Nobody is saying that the whole interview process should be conducted from a phone screen; SMS interviews are simply the first step. After filtering through applicants from their text replies, phone and in-person interviews can then be conducted to dig deeper to find the perfect person for the role.

Basic tech competence skills

Furthermore, as much as face to face and conversation skills are of course important assets that a recruiter must ascertain about an applicant, in today’s tech-savvy and mobile-first world, surely good online communication skills are also important? Even those working in a customer-facing role will most likely need to be computer-literate – think about it, how many restaurants have you been to where the front of house staff store reservation information digitally and take orders on tablets? SMS interviews could hold an additional intrinsic value of showing whether a candidate has basic tech competence.

Get in touch with the team today

Inserting this first step of a quick, hassle-free initial interview stage simply saves time for the busy recruiter with multiple applicants and allows candidates to apply for roles at their own convenience. Get in touch with us if you’re looking to drive efficiency in your recruitment agency.

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