chapter two

Why We Built SmartMessage

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We combed through the market and noticed that existing texting solutions in talent acquisition cater towards power users only, ie. high volume recruiters. As we consider hiring manager collaboration to be a core driver of Hiring Success, we decided to build SmartMessage as part of the SmartRecruiters talent acquisition suite in order to democratize texting for the entire hiring team. Doing so allows our customers to 1) Keep the entire hiring team involved, 2) Include candidates from any and all backgrounds, 3) Remove the communications barrier.

Keep the Entire Hiring Team Involved

SmartRecruiters believes messaging should be available to every member of the hiring team, not just power users. According to recent findings from Josh Bersin, collaboration between recruiting and hiring managers is the number one indicator of high-performance talent acquisition.

We decided to democratize texting for the entire hiring team by lowering the barrier of entry and accommodating the infrequent messaging needs of hiring managers. It also improves Hiring Success when the hiring team has a collaborative communication process where the entire team can view and participate in the ongoing conversation with the candidate and have a comprehensive messaging history for transparency (and compliance, which we will address later).

Include Candidates From Any and All Backgrounds

In order to enhance the communications experience for both hiring teams and candidates, SmartRecruiters looked at how to bring the most value to the sourcing and screening processes. Globally, there are 5.2 billion cell phone users according to GSMA Intelligence, compared with 3.8 billion email users. Many candidates have been unable to apply for jobs or hear back from companies due to a lack of email address.

According to SmartMessage customers, more than 60% of their candidates prefer to or can only be reached by text message.

Reaching candidates on channels that are available to them is key. Globally, 2.5 billion people use messaging apps on a daily basis, with different apps dominating different regions. Looking at Europe, 48% of the population use WhatsApp as their primary communication channel. According to MessengerPeople, there are only 25 countries in the world where WhatsApp is not the market leader. However, among these 25 countries are the US and China. US workers are more likely to use SMS and Facebook Messenger. Chinese workers primarily use WeChat and QQ Mobile. SmartMessage currently offers SMS and WhatsApp and given that SmartMessage is natively built, there is potential for other channels in the future as well.

Remove the Communications Barrier

SmartRecruiters aims to remove the communications barrier between hiring teams and candidates globally, and make jobs accessible to candidates from any and all backgrounds, whether they are constantly on-the-move, have no stable access to the internet, or don’t have an email address. These are underserved candidates who are at a disadvantage because of a mismatch of communication channels. SmartMessage leverages SMS & WhatsApp so companies can reach candidates wherever they are in the world, regardless of status.

Modern organizations simply cannot afford to ignore texting as part of their talent attraction strategy. Today, 89% of job seekers think mobile devices play an important role in the job-hunting process, with 45% of all candidates searching for jobs on their mobile devices daily. Research also shows that mobile messaging is most effective for high-volume roles—core workers in retail, transportation, hospitality—as this demographic more often relies on these devices than desktop computers.

Benefit from A Natively-Built Solution

Guaranteed Data Compliance

Organizations are responsible for making sure that candidate communications data remain safe. In fact, as data controllers it’s their most important duty, or else they face penalties up to 4% of their company’s annual revenue. The solution to avoiding fines or other legal ramifications is to contain all hiring activity in one system where you can ensure proper controls, consent, and data retention policies.

As the industry’s first natively-built text recruiting solution, SmartMessage can guarantee data compliance. Centralizing communication channels, ie. SMS, WhatsApp, and email on 1 secure platform protects candidates as much as it does organizations, allowing you to focus on the task at hand: hiring great talent.

Foundation for End-to-End Conversational Recruiting Capabilities

There is no shortage of conversational recruiting solutions on the market today. Some are full-fledged AI-powered, while others are add-ons with a small footprint that work atop an existing ATS. We chose to design and develop SmartMessage from the ground up for two primary reasons. First, we wanted it to be the most seamless and intuitive experience for our users. Businesses large and small employ specific hiring workflows that include details like permissions across user types and hiring team roles. Out of the box, SmartMessage takes these hiring processes into consideration with no additional third-party integrations or complicated administrator configurations. Everything lives within the SmartRecruiters talent acquisition suite.

Second, the first release of SmartMessage lays the groundwork for a rich conversational recruiting service that takes your team from source to hire. The in-house approach means we have the opportunity to carefully consider each step of the hiring process. We can optimize for features like text automation in the future to work synergistically within workflows or tasks. It means that users building a texting campaign with SmartCRM will not have to dramatically re-learn campaign builder or try a bolt-on system.

Cover Global Markets with Multiple Channels

The evolution of digital communication has opened up international markets to businesses, connecting organizations to people around the globe with unprecedented ease. Within an organization, globally distributed teams need to leverage communication channels that appeal to the local candidates. For candidates, hiring teams that contact them on their preferred communication channels will stand out. In the US, SMS reaches more than 90% of the workforce. In Europe, 85% of the workforce prefers WhatsApp. SmartRecruiters customers post jobs in 176 countries. When we set out to build SmartMessage, our goal was to make instant messaging for recruiting available to our customers in as many countries as possible. This is why we decided to build WhatsApp in addition to SMS into SmartMessage, despite significant technical and operational complexities.

SmartMessage is global ready for two-way conversations with WhatsApp—the ideal solution to reach candidates globally due to its 2 billion person user base. As Edwin Carvahlo of Vonage summarizes,

Despite being one of the most popular mediums for real time communications and used in many high priority and time sensitive applications, global SMS delivery is not always perfect and the distributed design of the telecommunication industry means that many different factors can intervene in the delivery of any SMS.

Simply put, there is no guarantee of SMS message delivery when crossing international lines, let alone assurance of two-way conversation feasibility. The opacity has to do with policy adoption and service plan offerings for individual telecom operators (read more about why SMS deliveries fail at Vonage). This even applies within the EU, where regulations protect consumers against unfair roaming charges while traveling from country to country.

With SmartMessage, customers will be able to choose which channels they would like to use for their company and hiring process—SMS only, WhatsApp only, or both (though not simultaneously). Hiring team users can select the channel (SMS or WhatsApp) when sending messages to candidates and prospects. Within the Inbox, both SMS and WhatsApp messages are viewed together in an ongoing conversation. In the Candidate-Application or Prospect-Community pages, the messages are separated by channel. The following diagrams show how messages relay between SmartMessage users and candidates.

SMS

SMS Flow

WhatsApp

Whatsapp Flow

Share Transparent Communication History

The importance of collaborative hiring is undeniable, and a good text recruiting solution will help the entire hiring team stay connected with candidates. There are many instances in which talent acquisition teams have to read and re-read through communications with a candidate. This could be verifying a small detail about an upcoming virtual interview; calling out a specific attribute, point-of-experience or certification to a hiring manager that might be missing from a resume; reviewing candidate correspondence with another team member who is helping with the application; part of a comprehensive review before making an offer to a promising candidate.

Case in Point

Talent acquisition leaders at an enterprise IT consulting firm recently shared with us the value of seeing the complete candidate communications journey. For them, it was an integral part of their decision making process for late-stage candidates deep in the hiring pipeline. Their team members would manually collect emails, notes from phone calls, and text messages from personal mobile devices and map them into a spreadsheet for a full picture of the candidate’s communication style and cadence with the hiring team. The communications story should be easily visualized within the ATS, which has been cumbersome until now.

We saw an opportunity to improve collaboration and communications management by building SmartRecruiters Inbox, which enables hiring teams and sourcing teams (SmartCRM) to manage all their communications in one place. It is an entirely new way to view, manage, and send messages to candidates and prospects without having to step through individual pages. It combines email, SMS and WhatsApp together into a comprehensive conversation for each candidate-application (or prospect-community) ordered by most recent message.

Multichannel

Hiring team users will still be able to message within the candidate-application and prospect-community pages, but Inbox provides an organized way to address communications quickly and efficiently.

User Spotlight: Re-engage Dormant Candidates with SmartMessage

Jeff Goody, Talent Acquisition Manager at Salud Family Health Centers, found SmartMessage to be particularly useful in re-engaging dormant candidates. Candidates sometimes missed emails that accidentally ended up in their spam folders, coming to the erroneous conclusion that the hiring team wasn’t interested.

Jeff decided to give SmartMessage a try to better stay in touch with candidates.

And it did just that. A combination of messages and phone calls, drawing attention to next steps, helped to reactivate dormant candidates. The overall candidate response rate increased significantly. In fact, he and his team were hugely impressed when they realized that oftentimes, candidates reply to messages within a matter of seconds; a mark of incomparable engagement compared to email and telephone.

Impressed with the results, Jeff decided to adopt SmartMessage as part of a multichannel communications strategy—one that would bolster candidate engagement.

With SmartMessage, candidates are more accessible and much faster to respond.
– Jeff Goody
TA Leader
Salud Family Health Centers