Congratulations! You’ve written a winning resume and were invited to an interview. However, this is a text interview.
Job interviews via artificial intelligence software may become more common soon, as we wrote about before. Another form of a job interview that is picking up steam is interviewing via text messaging. A Gallup poll recently said that text messaging is the most common form of communication among American adults under 50 years old, so younger generations of recruits and hiring managers are taking advantage of that fact.
Time is money for most recruiters, and their pay depends on placing job candidates quickly at companies. Screening job candidates over text instead of phone or video chats can be a much more efficient way to do things.
The text-based interviewing platform Canvas launched in 2017 after the CEO and founder, Aman Brar, noticed how time-consuming it was for recruiters and hiring managers to connect with job candidates through the traditional process, such as email. The Canvas platform caught on in less than a year with many Fortune 500 companies and startups.
For companies, there are several advantages to text interviews. Managers and recruiters can have conversations with several candidates at once, and it also helps companies better determine ways to improve questions and recruitment practices. Every conversation has a transcript, so companies can see which questions candidates take the longest to answer and when some candidates begin to lose interest.
Text-based interviews also benefit job candidates, but one big drawback is that they are one of the prime ways scammers dupe people. Job-related scams involving text messages have surged in recent years, and even the Better Business Bureau has warned the general public about the prevalence of these scams.
We’ll let you know what texting interviews are, including the best ways to answer questions via text and the signs that a text interview request may be a scam.
Be Wary of Scammers
A company might do a job interview via text messaging for several reasons, including streamlining the interviewing process, appealing to younger candidates, and assessing several candidates at once. Since so much business is conducted over email and texting these days, some companies are doing interviews via text now, too. Most companies that conduct text-based interviews usually do it to replace the initial phone screening rather than more complex interviews later in the hiring process.
The first thing to remember with texting interviews is to be wary of scammers. Some fraudsters pretend to be a job interview via text message but are really an attempt to steal personal information from you. The scammers might ask for your name, address, social security number, or date of birth. Remember that legitimate companies doing a text interview will rarely ask for this type of info in the interview process. A genuine text interviewer may ask for your name to confirm they have the right person, but usually nothing beyond that.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has tracked several of these employment scams, sometimes via text message but also via email and social media platforms. The fake recruiter initially seems professional, claiming to have seen your resume. After a quick interview, the scammer will enthusiastically say you got the job and then ask for your personal information, including your banking info, claiming they need to add you to their direct deposit. If you give up this information, you can quickly become the victim of identity theft.
Remember to be Professional!
If you’re confident that the text interview is authentic, the second thing to remember is to use proper grammar and spelling during the message exchange. You may be used to responding as a casual member to family and friends in texting, but a texting job interview should be different. Capitalize words appropriately, use appropriate punctuation, spell everything correctly, and write in complete sentences. Treat the texting interview the same way you would in responding to a professional email from a recruiter.
In some industries, you may not need to be as formal in texting interviewing responses, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution. You may be texting with a live person, or you could be texting with an AI chatbot, but either way, your messages are being transcribed and will be reviewed by someone later. Since this may be the first direct interaction with the company, you’ll want to impress them with your professionalism.
One thing you should avoid is the use of emojis. Emojis are often used in texting conversations, but they may seem unprofessional for a job interview. Once you’re hired and get to know your co-workers, emojis may become acceptable. But at an early stage in the interview process, it’s generally best to avoid them. If what you say needs to be softened or indicated as a joke or sarcasm, reconsider your response and how you’re saying it instead of using an emoji.
The last thing to remember is to send a follow up thank you email or a handwritten note to the hiring manager or recruiter after the texting interview. It may be tempting to thank the interviewer at the end of the text conversation. And while you can still do that, it’s always best to follow up with a thank you note. This is especially important because you can’t be sure if you are talking to a live person or AI chatbot.
Not the Same as Texting with Your Bestie
It may seem odd initially, but text messaging interviews are becoming more common in the work world. About 44% of recruiters have used text messaging to source candidates, and 66% of hiring managers have talked with job candidates via text, according to Jobvite’s 2020 Recruiter Nation Survey. Given that survey was done in 2020, the numbers may be even higher now, especially as more and more companies lean into new technologies such as remote-only workplaces and AI-powered interview processes.
For younger people like those in Generation Z, texting is a more natural form of communication and the one they use most. Talking to someone on the phone, like in the old days, isn’t the preferred way to do things anymore. But even if you’re a digital native and can text super-fast, you still need to remember to be as professional as possible during a texting interview. The mode of communication is the same, but it’s not the same as talking with your bestie.
Stay tuned to our blog for more helpful insights on careers and employment, such as articles like How to Use Social Media to Get a Job, Becoming a Freelance Writer, and How to Respond to a Job Offer While Waiting for Other Opportunities.