Ok, so the tool itself isn't that new, but maybe its application is new. How many of us send out an email to a prospective candidate, or leave a message for that candidate, only to have the email or voicemail go ignored? Happens all the time, right? Ever notice that emails, and particularly voicemails, are even less likely to be returned by the "Millennials"? Hell, I myself am a millennial I suppose (born 1983) and unless I happen to know the person leaving the voicemail, I rarely respond to the call. Send me a text message though...I'm more likely to respond...it's just easier.
Like I said, this isn't new technology. Email-to-SMS (text message) has been around since text messages have existed. In a nutshell, it allows you to send an email, via text message, to someone's phone. Instead of the email showing up in their inbox, it shows up on their phone as a text message. Before you can start using this technology, there are two pieces of information you need.
The first thing you need is the person's cell phone number - which is a standard piece of information we recruiters collect. The second thing you need to know is the person's carrier (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.) information. Fortunately for us, there are websites out there that will allow you to look up the carrier information of a cell phone number, thus saving you the time, and potential awkwardness, of asking a candidate who their cellphone carrier is. There are several carrier lookup websites, but the best one I've found is www.carrierlookup.com. Pretty straight-forward title huh? It is a pay-as-you-go web service, but it's relatively inexpensive. For $50 you can look-up 5,000 cell numbers. For $100 you can look-up 10,000.
Once you have the person's cell phone number and carrier information, the last thing you need is a listing of the various Email-to-SMS suffixes for each carrier. Again, fortunately for us, someone has already done the work. The website for the Email-to-SMS suffix for every carrier currently operating is listed here (http://www.emailtextmessages.com/). From there it simply becomes a matter of matching the person’s carrier to the email suffix and then combining their number with the suffix. For example, if my number is 222-222-2222 and my carrier is Verizon, my email-to-SMS address would be firstname.lastname@example.org. If I send an email to that address, it will show up as a text message on my phone.
Your mental wheels are probably already spinning with potential applications for this tool. For me, I find it most handy when I am trying to coordinate or schedule and interview. If I call a candidate and get their voicemail, I’ll leave the voicemail but then send an email to their text address and quite often, I get a response more quickly that way then if I emailed them or waited for them to call me back. After all, for those of us with cellphones (which is about 99% of the working population) we have them on us at all times.
There are a myriad of other uses for it - marketing, scheduling and keeping in touch among others. One thing I’ve also done is for each candidate in our database, I went and logged each of their email-to-SMS addresses - mainly so I never have to look up their information again. It’s in there and ready for me to use when the need arises. I’m curious to know if there are others of you out there who have used this technology? What has been your experience?