Good at Texting? It Might Land You a Job

By Kelsey Gee

Struggling to get candidates to pick up the phone, employers try text messages for early-stage interviews

Your next job interview might happen via text message. Srsly.

Claiming that prospective hires are too slow to pick up the phone or respond to emails, employers are trying out apps that allow them to screen candidates and conduct early-stage interviews with texts.

“People don’t want to have that ten-minute [phone] conversation any more if they could just reply with a quick text,” said Kirby Cuniffe, chief executive of staffing firm Aegis Worldwide LLC. After Aegis recruiters reported that fewer potential hires were answering their phones, the firm decided to try texting. Since March, Indianapolis-based Aegis and Priceline Group ’s restaurant-booking service OpenTable have been using Canvas, a messaging app from Canvas Talent Inc. for text-based job interviews.

The app suggests interview questions employers can use, such as: “What motivates you?”

Its software analyzes candidates’ responses. Interviewers can rate answers with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down visible only to the employer and share transcripts of those text exchanges with co-workers.

Canvas charges employers around $300 per recruiter, and competes with similar apps such as Monster Worldwide Inc.’s Jobr.

The use of smartphone-based tools for job interviews shows how employers are trying to adapt to young workers’ communication habits. Some 12% of millennials—defined as those born between 1980 and the early 2000s—prefer the phone for business communication, according to a 2016 report on internet trends from venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. By contrast, 45% prefer chatting online or exchanging messages by email or text.

Read the rest of the WSJ.com article

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