‘Just Text Me:’ The New Way to Conduct Job Interviews

By Erin Price

Oct. 11, 2019

We live in a technological world, and it seems as if we now communicate more through our electronic devices than we do in person. Yet, one interpersonal mechanism necessary for securing a job has remained largely sacrosanct — interviews.

Recently, employers have taken up a new trend, eliminating visibility in favor of efficiency by conducting interviews by text. In the constantly evolving hiring market, employers can gain a significant competitive advantage by understanding how this new process works, the benefits it can afford and strategies to implement the practice.

How Does it Work?

Given that text is the most utilized data service worldwide, with approximately 23 billion texts sent every day, it seems apparent that it can be used in hiring. Surprisingly, many employers have not yet capitalized on the practice.

More akin to traditional interviews, some employers utilizing the practice still prefer a live method, where the interviewer and interviewee designate a time window to talk. Generally, this style mirrors a question and answer format, i.ethe interviewer does not provide the next question until the interviewee provides the answer to the previous question. While this method maintains formal questioning, it promotes focused interactivity between the participants and allows each person to mindfully craft their question or answer without extraneous pressures.

Meanwhile, questionnaire formats entail sending all questions to the interviewee at once, who then returns all answers in one message once completed. At the same time, it facilitates reasoned responses, this approach also allows the candidate greater opportunity to research or obtain other help on the answers, which may not be a desired or intended result.

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Additionally, interviewers can use the asynchronous process to conduct multiple interviews simultaneously and take as much time as needed to review answers and send the next questions, and interviewees can enjoy little to no disruption of their daily lives.

Why Should Employers Do it?

In theory, technology often aims to streamline processes. In practice, results often vary. Interview by text, however, promises a multitude of benefits for employers. Whether a small business or an international corporation, an employer can contact potential candidates that were previously unreachable.

Interviewing by text allows you to operate outside of the confines of a normal workday and geographical time differences, and the response time is often less than one minute. In so doing, you prioritize efficiency by reducing: (a) the amount of time spent on disinterested candidates and for hiring decisions overall; (b) the travel costs and environmental impact not spent on travel; and (c) the likelihood of losing a valuable candidate due to lack of engagement.

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Not only can interview by text facilitate progress through internal processes, but it can also promote external growth by perpetuating a contemporary brand image. Instant gratification is ensured by satisfying candidate desire for the hiring process to be convenient and easy. Employers have boundless potential to reinvent their image and desirability merely by doing something they likely already do — pick up the phone.

How to Make It Happen

In most cases, interview by text can likely be implemented with limited changes to an existing hiring practice. Mass text messaging may be the most efficient means to secure seasonal workers but may not be appropriate for a single high-level position. Therefore, it is important for you to consider what goals you seek to achieve.

First, consider creating a policy outlining text message etiquette. You can specify how and when to initiate contact through text, whether short-form communication or use of slang is appropriate and the frequency with which texts should be sent. This guidance ensures that expectations remain clear, privacy boundaries are set and control over public image is maintained.

Second, further ensure quality control by choosing how communications are preserved. You can manage text messaging in one central location through recruitment marketing software that keeps all communications in one place — including candidate applications, email communications, file notes and any text messages.

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Comprehensive and diligent recordkeeping also limits legal exposure. For example, interviews by text could protect an employer against a failure to hire claim based on race discrimination in that the employee conducting the interview did not see the candidate’s face, body language or mannerisms. Eliminating many identifiers and maintaining a record of the interview can deflate a potential bias argument.

Speed, efficiency, and innovation allow employers to attract a modern workforce. Undoubtedly, participating in popular technological movements such as text messaging can make employers relevant. Nonetheless, each employer must determine whether adapting its hiring practices to this new forum is feasible and prudent.


Erin Price is an associate attorney with labor and employment law firm Fisher Phillips in Sacramento, Calif. She may be reached at

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