How Text to Apply Text Recruiting Boosts Recruitment Funnels
Ben Nebesky
Business Messaging Strategist
Updated: Jul 11, 2021

Learn how text-to-apply and text-to-hire text recruiting campaigns complement your recruitment strategies

Everyone from the largest companies in the world to small local businesses are scrambling to find and hire the right employees.

There’s a lot of competition out there. This means you need more than hiring bonuses and incentives to fill positions with the right people. So it's time to review and evaluate your recruitment strategies.

Why is recruitment so important? It’s common knowledge that people and organizational culture correlate directly with success. The type of people you hire influences:

  • The quality of your product or service
  • Your team productivity and efficiency
  • Overall morale and health
  • And more

Your short-term temptation may be to fill positions with warm bodies. But qualified candidates will always serve you and your organization better in the long run.

The challenge in your recruitment process then is to balance the number of job applicants with the quality of job candidates. Which often requires communication.

This is why organizations are now incorporating text messaging into their recruitment strategies.

We elaborate by walking you through some recruitment funnel basics. We also show how text-to-apply and text-to-hire campaigns can increase your number of applicants and improve the quality of your hires.

But before we dive in, it’s worth explaining and elaborating on what a recruitment funnel is. Read on for more.

Try business texting for free. No payment required.

What is a Recruitment Funnel?

A recruitment funnel (or talent acquisition funnel) helps you visualize where all of your recruits and candidates are at in your recruitment and hiring process. Effective recruitment strategies have clearly defined processes and procedures. This helps job candidates move from one stage in the recruitment funnel to the next. A recruitment funnel consists of the following six stages broken down into two processes: recruitment and hiring.

Recruitment Funnel Stages

1. Awareness (recruitment process)

At the awareness stage in your recruitment funnel, the job candidate is aware of your job. But they’re not sure if they’d like to apply.

2. Consideration (recruitment process)

In the consideration stage, the job candidate is aware of your job posting. But they’re evaluating your position against competing positions and other job opportunities as well.

3. Interest (recruitment process)

At the interest stage, the job candidate determines that your organization is preliminarily a good fit for them. But they may have questions or reservations about submitting an application or reaching out directly.

4. Application (hiring process)

By the application stage, the candidate has enough info or is motivated enough to submit an application.

5. Selection (hiring process)

At the selection stage, it’s up to your organization to pool applications. This is where you decide who gets hired or who advances to the next stage of the recruitment process.

6. Hired (hiring process)

At the end of the application and selection process job candidates get hired. They then progress on to onboarding and orientation into your organization.


Recruitment funnels are essential to effective recruitment strategies. Each step in the process comes with clear definitions for why a candidate is in a specific stage. How you determine those definitions depends on how your recruitment process starts.

Effective Recruitment Strategies

There are two main types of recruitment strategies: passive and active. Most recruitment strategies fall into the passive category, but it’s important to understand and have a healthy balance of both.

Passive recruiting strategies:

Passive recruiting is a recruiting strategy that requires job applicants to initiate a conversation or submit an application. With a passive recruiting strategy you wait for the candidate to act.

Think of this strategy as casting a wide net. Whoever stumbles upon your opportunity falls into your recruitment process. While this strategy may produce a lot of passive candidates, it does present you with the problem of filtering for quality.

The challenge for HR professionals is making sure that quality candidates move further down the funnel.

Examples of passive recruiting strategies:

  • Posting a job on an online job board like Linkedin or Indeed
  • Text-to-apply and text-to-hire campaigns
  • Inbound phone calls where potential applicants inquire about open positions
  • Form submissions from a job openings page on a website

Active recruiting strategies:

Active recruiting strategies require the recruiter, HR professional, or hiring manager to initiate conversations with job seekers.

With active recruiting, you’re the spear. You choose who to reach out to.

Examples of active recruiting strategies:

  • Texting, emailing or calling applicants from a targeted list
  • Directly messaging a candidate on LinkedIn or Indeed asking if they are interested in the position you’re advertising

How to Move Job Candidates Through Your Recruitment Funnel with Text Messages

Just as in sales and marketing, a recruitment operation needs to move it’s prospects down the funnel.

So how do you do that?

Start by mapping out your organization's recruitment funnel into the six stages: awareness, consideration, interest, application, selection, hiring. Once you do that, you can determine what communication tools you need at each stage in your funnel.

Texting vs Emailing vs Calling for Recruitment

Text messages have some clear advantages over email and voice for both internal employee communication and recruitment. There’s some debate about which is best. But it all comes down to choosing the right tool for moving job candidates through your funnel.

Looking for more direct, quick engagement? Texts have up to a 90% open rate and a near 45% response rate. Compare that to email with around a 20% open rate and 6% response rate.

Email will always be the standard for longer, more formal communications. It’s easy to compose a message and send an email blast. But it isn’t necessarily great for getting quick responses and sending short, direct, messages.

Job candidates frequently research and apply to several jobs. They’re often reading and responding to a lot of emails. This means you may have to fight for attention in their inbox and hope for a timely response.

And what if your candidates don’t always have direct access to email? Imagine having a call list and how long it would take just to leave a voice message.

This is where text messaging can help.

Email and voice will always have their place. But texting works better for large-scale, direct messaging. It’s more engaging, personal, and immediate than email, but just as scalable.

And just about everyone has a text-enabled cell phone. This means that candidates who don’t always have email access can still get text alerts. And with text to apply, you can even start more conversations earlier on in the recruiting process.

Communication tools at the awareness stage in the recruitment process

The awareness stage is all about finding the right quantity of candidates and making sure that your opportunity is visible.

At this stage, you’re often relying on passive recruitment strategies to help you build awareness. This is where posting on a job board like Linkedin or Indeed can be useful for extending reach.

Both platforms make it easy to spin up paid and non-paid advertised job postings. But there are some additional active communications strategies you can use.

Create a text-to-apply campaign

Depending on the type of job you’re hiring for, text-to-apply campaigns can be particularly effective.

A text-to-apply campaign starts with a keyword like APPLY. Organizations typically display this keyword on a banner or some form of advertisement.

Once you have a keyword, set up an autoresponse using a business text messaging application. When a candidate texts the word “APPLY” they get a link to the job application or job description with additional info.

Text-to-apply campaigns save you time and drive awareness by:

  • Helping you start more conversations before the interview
  • Making it easy for candidates to initiate the recruitment process and submit an application
  • Guiding applicants through the hiring process
  • Simplifying the follow-up process for setting up interviews and collecting more info
  • Helping you pre-screen applicants before they interview without scheduling a phone call

Send texts and emails asking existing employees for a referral

78% of recruiters say that they find their best quality applicants through referrals.

Some organizations have formal referral programs with applicant tracking systems. But you can start recruiting informally with text and email campaigns. This could be as simple as a company-wide email asking current employees to spread the word about an open position.

You can also use business text messaging to communicate with employees. Texts work well because they’re direct and simple. A simple referral recruitment text message could look like this:

Hey {{ FirstName }}, we are hiring! Positions include receptionist, administrative assistant, and accounts manager. Please text/email us the contact information of anyone who may be interested and what position they are interested in.

Communication tools at the consideration stage in the recruitment process

Once a candidate becomes aware of your job, they frequently need more information to help them move through the consideration stage. This is your chance to get them to see the value in working with you.

Here are some ways to do that:

Text and email follow-ups after sending links to recruitment forms:

Moving down to the interest stage requires you to answer questions and pitch why they should work with you. The best way to do this is simply to start a conversation that showcases your company culture.

Start by adding a form to your website to capture your recruitment leads and start more conversations.

Some business text messaging services like MessageDesk will even help you send an automated message once a candidate submits a form. Your message could look like these:

Thank you for your interest in the open positions at Paul’s Logistics. Please out this form to get started and fill out the attached document. Indicate what role you're interested in:

We hear you’re interested in the open position with us in our Sales Department. We would love to answer any questions that you may have by texting this number. Just make sure you fill out this form so we know who you are! {{ ContactForm }}

Communication tools at the interest stage in the recruitment process

In the interest stage, the candidate decides that your job opening might be a good fit for them.

Your main objective now is to prompt them to actually apply for your job posting. There are a couple of things you can do to nudge them in the right direction.

Advertise your text-to-apply number:

By advertising your text-to-apply number you’re making yourself available as a resource.

Recruits may not want to apply right away, you want to show them why you are the employer they should choose.

That way, candidates can text “APPLY” to your number to get a link to the application. Or they could request more information if they aren’t ready to apply.

Communication tools at the application stage in the hiring process

In the application stage, the candidate has submitted their application. This is a sign that they’re committed to working with your organization.

Now, you just need to get the candidate to the finish line.

Text and email interview reminders

The last thing you would want is an applicant to miss an interview.

Schedule texts and emails to go out the morning of the interview to confirm that you’re expecting them. Many texting platforms make it easy to send text reminders with interview time and location.

Your text message could look like this:

Hi {{ FirstName }}, just sending you a reminder for your interview today. You’re scheduled with Jamie at 3 pm in our main conference room. Looking forward to meeting you.

Communication tools at the selection stage in the hiring process

In the selection stage, the recruit has little control beyond removing themselves from consideration. During this time, you want to keep the communication channels open.

Even if they aren’t selected, it’s important that you provide them with a transparent experience.

Send emails and texts to collect feedback

At this stage, you might need to follow up and ask for additional information or schedule additional meetings. You might also consider taking this time as an opportunity to gain insights into your HR recruitment process.

Texting candidates is a quick and easy way to ask for more information, schedule additional meetings or ask for feedback with a survey. You can also text and email links to a lengthier questionnaire.

A survey can be as simple as a single multiple-choice rating. Or it can be a more formal survey that is sent in the form of a link.

Texting or emailing surveys make it easy for recruits to respond, which means a better response rate. It also makes it easy for you to collect the responses and look at the feedback easily. Here’s an example:

Hey {{ FirstName }}, we need your feedback! Tell us about your experience in the hiring process with {{ OrganizationName }}. Please reply with the corresponding number.

Communication tools at the onboarding and retention stages in the hiring process

Once the candidate gets hired, your strategy should focus on employee satisfaction. This is because the financial loss of losing an employee is staggering.

It can cost you around 33% of the employee’s salary for every turnover. That’s a $15,000 loss if the employee who quits made $45,000.

One of the ways you can prevent this is with good communication.

Once an employee is on your payroll, it’s important to keep the line of communication open. It’s even more important if they are a contractor. Filling shifts or open jobs for the day keeps your organization running smoothly.

How to Integrate Text-to-Apply Text Recruiting with Your Existing Recruitment Strategies

1.Text-enable your existing business number

Step one is to text-enable your existing business number or create a new dedicated texting line.

Many business texting platforms allow you to text from a variety of number types. These often include five or six-digit short-codes, toll-free numbers, and ten-digit numbers with a local area code.

A local area code with a ten-digit number is the best option for SMS recruitment. These numbers look familiar, so job candidates won’t disregard the message as spam.

You can also text-enable your existing office phone number through number porting. This allows you to keep your current voice provider and send and receive texts.

2. Set up keyword-based text-to-apply campaigns

When a job candidate texts your phone number with a keyword like APPLY, they automatically get a text message back.

The response could link them to an application, give them details about a position, or even list open jobs.

With text-to-apply you can:

  • Make it easy for job applicants to submit an application
  • Easily pre-screen applicants before they interview without scheduling a phone call
  • Simplify the follow-up interview scheduling process

Texting your keyword will also auto-assign that contact to a specific contact group associated with that keyword and autoresponder. This makes it easy to follow up and send more messages.

3. Create recruitment forms to start conversations and collect information

Often, applicants have a sense of doubt in the application process. Mostly because they don’t have any other place, besides an application, to demonstrate their interest in the position.

That’s why you see flakey responses, last-minute interview cancellations, and no-shows.

A recruiter or HR manager should be there to quell doubts and ease concerns. For applicants who aren’t ready to submit an official application, have them submit a recruitment form.

A recruitment form collects candidates’ basic information so you can start a conversation. Whatever information you collect syncs directly with your text messaging platform.

A headline like, “Not ready to submit an application? Talk to us” speaks directly to those who are interested but unsure.

4. Update, organize and group your applicants

Grouping your applicants based on common traits helps you to deliver more relevant messages.

It’s easy to send mass text messages out to all of your candidates when you need to send reminders. But not giving candidates information that’s relevant to them can be a waste of time.

Texting platforms make it easy to:

  • Filter contacts based on their status in the recruitment process
  • Keep a current employees contact list
  • Keep a list of people with applications on file
  • Keep a list of independent contractors who are open to work
  • An up to date list of people who have texted a keyword
  • Segment your applicants based on who needs to be receiving certain info

5.Use scheduled messages and autoresponders

Text recruiting software makes it easy to automate the process of enrolling recruits into groups.

A keyword is a short, memorable word that's specific to an enrollment group. You can set it to any phrase you choose. For instance, you can select HR or APPLY as your keywords.

You then invite job seekers to text the keyword to your number to receive information on their phones. Recruits can even get an application sent to them automatically.

Submitting a keyword segments them into a group so that every person who texted in the keyword can be reached later.

6. Create text message templates

Ever find yourself sending the same messages over and over again?

Texting applications allow you to create templates for those frequently texted messages. You can even personalize them to make messages more personal, using a dynamic tag like “Hey {{ FirstName }}.”

The texting application automatically inserts the first name of the contact receiving the message.

Try business texting for free. No payment required.

Ready to start texting job candidates, recruits, and employees? MessageDesk is here to complement your HR recruitment strategies with smarter, simpler business text messaging.

Visit our learning center for information on how to get started with MessageDesk. You’ll find a quick start guide to texting, a features overview, and more.

You’ll also want to check out our list of free SMS text message templates. Just copy and paste to start texting.

Finally, feel free to start a free MesageDesk trial.

Get weekly messaging tips and tricks

Join 3000+ businesses who are growing and gaining knowledge.