While U.S. recruiters debate the value of text messaging, one of the largest franchise operators in the Middle East has jumped in with enthusiasm.
“From now on,” says Nic Beesley, a senior HR vice president with M.H. Alshaya Co., “All jobseekers applying for Alshaya vacancies will henceforth know exactly where they stand. Whether they are short-listed or called for an interview, every candidate will receive real-time SMS updates, regardless of which part of the world they live in.”
The company operates some 1400 retail outlets for brands such as Starbucks, Estee Lauder, Mothercare, Foot Locker and Pearle Opticians. More than 14,000 people work for Alshaya in 15 countries, mostly in the Middle East, but also including Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic.
As the company expands outside its Middle East base it wanted a fast and efficient way to keep in touch with applicants. The company settled on SMS (short message service) because of the immediacy and because more people have cell phones than they do access to email.
“The SMS solution is part of our hiring strategy to compete with the best. Mobile phone penetration is higher and more accessible than email the world over and we wanted to capitalise on this before anybody else in this region,” explains Paul Williams, Alshaya HR Director – Middle East.
Adds Beesley, “”Candidates need to be spared the agony of second-guessing the status of their application. We are in a business where candidates are also customers and by enhancing candidate experience with features like SMS and email updates, we hope it will reflect well on Alshaya.”
Article Continues Below
News of the company’s adoption of SMS for its recruitment CRM was released by Hiring Solutions Company (profile; site) maker of recruitment platform Sniperhire. Alshaya has been using Sniperhire across all its brands to build a talent database accessible to all its recruiters and hiring managers. The ATS screens, scores and ranks candidates and can integrate pre-employment assessments.
Although Sniperhire comes with SMS capability, Alshaya is the first company in the Middle East to make widespread use of texting for communicating with candidates. The implementation also includes hiring managers and others in the hiring loop.
According to Hiring Solutions, job req approvals are texted to hiring managers. They also are texted the sourcing channels that are being used. Applicants get an initial text message acknowledging receipt of their application. They are sent regular status updates with the top candidates getting instructions on how to schedule an interview. Follow-up messages, including thank yous, are all texted to the candidate. Successful candidates even first learn of a job offer via SMS.
Says Ben Fawcett, Hiring Solutions Director, “The SMS feature is just one small part of the recruitment platform and yet has lasting impact both for the company and the candidates.”