Smiley face and thumbs up? Texting, emojis enter the job interview

Register now

Setting up an initial interview with a candidate can be a nail-biting experience for employers in today’s tight job market. To cut some of the stress, Canvas’ text-based interviewing platform aims to shorten the candidate introduction and job interview time by using text and emojis.

In late July, the Indianapolis-based firm added bitmojis as a feature to its Smartphone and tablet based app to make the experience even more personal. While emojis are standard cartoon-like symbols such as a smiley face or a thumbs-up, bitmojis allow the user to create a personalized avatar of themselves that can have different facial expressions.

When looking to hire nursing and other medical professional candidates, Scott Sendelweck, HR digital marketing manager at the Indianapolis-based hospital and healthcare company Community Health Network says it was far from a speedy process.

“When we used e-mail or phone to reach out to candidates, it would take about a week to establish initial communication,” he says. “Via text, it is instantaneous.”

Since CHN started using Canvas for its initial contact with potential employees in May, their response rate rose from 40 to 60 % through e-mail and phone and to 83% through text.

Once job candidates submit their application, HCN’s HR team uses Canvas’s text platform to reach out to the applicant. Canvas has been helpful in hiring nurses and other health practitioners because most nurses do not have laptops with them at work, according to Sendelweck.

“Those nurses that are spending their precious time helping patients, they are the nurses we want to hire,” he says. “Not the one sitting by a laptop.”

Recruiters can download the Canvas application that can used either as a standalone app or can be integrated with the employers’ applicant tracking system. The mobile-enabled Canvas supports both iOS and Android smartphones.

The applicant does not need to download any software, and they can respond via text message, says Aman Brar, president and CEO of Canvas.

And candidates don’t need the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy in order to respond to a potential employer. “Even an old candy-bar phone,” he says, “it is a highly democratized experience.”

Brar sees the text and emoji-flavored job interview as a business-casual experience. He adds that using emojis and bitmojis add a personal touch without steering away from professionalism.

“The same way that I would text my friends differently than with my mom,” he says. “Candidates are smart; they know how to communicate with people. They don’t talk the same way on the phone, they don’t email the same, they certainly don’t text the same. They text according to the audience.”

Sendelweck agrees. “There is a lot of information you can get from a text conversation about a potential employee,” he says. He has observed that text conversations would usually start very formal and become less formal as emojis are introduced into the conversation.

The HCN recruiter typically starts using emojis to let the candidate feel more at ease. This way, Sendelweck says, the recruiter can find out the candidate’s feelings and their love for their job.

“It helps the recruiter learn more about the candidate,” he says.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.
Recruiting tools Recruiting HR Technology Employee relations Employee engagement Employee communications