How to Nurture Qualified Candidates via Email & SMS

Engaging qualified candidates in your pipeline with custom-tailored email nurtures is a no-brainer for your talent team today. Why? Because the ROI of well-planned, personalized email campaigns to prospects — both single and groups of candidates — is sizable.

To limit nurturing solely to email, though, means you may miss the chance to connect with leads of interest and move them into the interview process to meet with your hiring team.

The reason why is simple:

Not all candidates use the same communication mediums to learn about new career opportunities or engage with recruiters.

Some (if not most) job candidates prefer email, but others are increasingly in favor of using SMS to discover new roles and chat with potential employers.

Why automating personalized emails and texts to qualified candidates is the best nurture approach

Recent Talent Board research found just 28% of companies employed text-nurture campaigns in 2017 to engage top talent. Twelve months later, that figure climbed to 48%.

You can imagine just how popular the approach has become just five years later.

Odds are you and your fellow talent team members know many of the best practices related to nurturing prospects, regardless of the specific medium you use to interact with them:

  • Don’t go more than a day without responding to a candidate’s most recent message about a role
  • Test the schedule and cadence of nurture campaigns to see what leads to the most responses
  • Ensure your employer brand is factored into all nurture messaging and linked job descriptions

But if you don’t leverage both emails and texts in your respective nurture approach, that likely means you don’t have (or are simply not capitalizing on) a best-in-class candidate relationship management (CRM) solution to drive your prospect engagement strategy.

For instance, recruiting orgs that use LeverTRM, our native talent acquisition suite, and integrate it with high-volume hiring platform Grayscale can craft “interconnected” nurture strategies that intelligently use email and SMS to engage and advance job candidates.

Consider North Star Bluescope Steel (NSBS), a joint Lever and Grayscale customer:

  • Its recruiters wasted time with manual outreach to target prospects via both email and SMS.
  • By investing in our complete ATS + CRM solution and integrating the solution with its Grayscale account, though, the NSBS talent team was able to build a cohesive, unified nurture strategy that put most of its candidate engagement on relative autopilot — and it saves the business an average of 12 recruiter hours per requisition.
  • What’s more, the response rate for interview reminders increased dramatically for the company.
  • Senior Recruiter Kristen Neubert stated the NSBS talent team would rarely receive replies to interview reminders sent via email. So, the TA org tested out text updates instead.

The result? The no-show rate for prospects “significantly decreased,” per Kristen.

“When it comes to using automation, it’s important to find the balance between helpful and disruptive,” Grayscale Cofounder and CEO Ty Abernathy noted.

“Suppose you take a multichannel or omni-channel approach, as we like to call it,” Ty said. “In that case, it’s imperative to ensure you’re connecting with candidates when it matters most — not haphazardly and in a disjointed way.

“Using your ATS to sync up your text and email efforts can help you enhance the candidate experience, not create tension as you overwhelm them with messaging. If your recruiting systems are integrated, you can quickly review what a specific candidate has received.”

From there, Ty added, it’s easier to know exactly what to say when you reach back out.

qualified candidates

A “hybrid” nurture strategy: How to engage qualified candidates with a joint email-SMS campaign

Developing a high-touch process for nurturing candidates at scale, businesses with platforms like Grayscale as well as LeverTRM, which now offers Candidate Texting right out of the box, can more easily connect with leads via SMS and email.

Here’s an example of how you can use both solutions to inform alterations to your nurture approach over time to focus on engaged talent and avoid wasting time on candidates who simply aren’t good fits or don’t want to learn more about your roles:

  • Let’s say you rediscover a person in your talent pool (for Lever customers, your “archive” of prospects) you believe is a perfect fit for an open position.
  • You noticed your last communications with this individual was an email chain a year ago. However, you also noticed they took forever to reply, and, in the case of the final email you sent, ‘ghosted’ you.
  • Instead of adding this person to a campaign you built in LeverTRM, you decide to add them to a Grayscale-built nurture to see if text messages resonate better with them.
  • You set up a two-text cadence. The initial SMS reminds the candidate who you are and what your company does and offers brief info about the new role for which you think they’d be a strong fit. The second is a follow-up that is only sent if there’s no reply or engagement with the first text.
  • The prospect has three options: ignore your texts, reply to learn more, or click the job description link in one of the messages. Their engagement (or lack thereof) can inform your next actions.
  • If they reply wanting to learn more, you can send them an Easy Book link from your LeverTRM account to enable them to schedule an interview screen with you sometime in the next week.
  • If they click the job description but don’t reply, you can manually reach out as you see fit.
  • And if they ghost you once again, you can re-archive them and modify their LeverTRM profile (e.g., archive reason/’tag’) accordingly so you can at least keep a record of their lack of interest.

There are myriad scenarios, as it pertains to nurturing candidates today. No two companies will have the same nurture approach.

But this example elucidates the importance of ongoing experimentation and optimization, when it comes to reaching out to talent of interest.

“When we think about how to captivate and engage candidates, our number one piece of advice is to create a candidate-driven nurture process,” Ty explained.

“We use the in-depth reporting options in Grayscale to assess what templates are working best, what stage of the process people are falling off the radar at, and the surveys function to track overall candidate experience as they come to the end of the process.”

Using your wealth of nurture data can help you better focus your strategic efforts and recruiting “brainpower” to elevate your hiring process, per Ty.

“Sure, you can create a smooth process,” Ty said. “But, if you’re looking to supercharge your CX, you have to modify the process based on what your applicant’s behavior tells you.”

Download our eBook on candidate nurturing to learn the art and science of engaging candidates in your talent pool with personalized, automated messaging about open roles.

automated nurture for hiring at scale

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