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How to use WhatsApp to improve candidate engagement

Used the right way, WhatsApp can give recruiters a strong competitive edge in a high-demand talent market

WhatsApp is where conversations happen. For most of the world outside of US, Japan, China, the platform needs no introduction. It is THE place where people talk. With over 1.5 billion monthly active users, it is by far the world’s most popular messaging platform. For recruiters looking to connect with talent, it makes sense to meet them there.

Already back in 2016, there was 3x more messages sent via WhatsApp than via SMS worldwide

One way for employers to elevate their brand is to deliver candidate experiences that are natural and comfortable to them, and there is nothing more natural for most of the world than to be chatting on WhatsApp.

Source: Hootsuite

When done correctly and through verified partners, WhatsApp can help recruiters tap into a world of opportunities. We’ve outlined a few below…

WhatsApp has incredible engagement rates

Emails and phone calls often go unanswered. Not so with mobile messages, with a 98% read rate… In fact, 90% of them get opened within 3 seconds of being received. The only way you could have a more instantaneous response from candidates is by using a channel of communication that spikes their interest to have a conversation with you — fast and right! Enter WhatsApp.

Outbound: Re-engage past candidate databases

WhatsApp now lets you engage with past candidates via Talkpush’s CRM by creating outbound campaigns. These campaigns allow you to send job opportunities to candidates who have already engaged with your brand in the past. Naturally, you should be cautious not to ruin these re-engagement campaign at a reasonable frequency, somewhere between 2 and 4 times a year ideally, and only if they’ve given you written consent to write to them about job opportunities.

Faster response time using conversational AI at critical points of the recruitment process

Each WhatsApp business account comes fully integrated with its own WhatsApp chatbot. This enables businesses to respond to any message instantly 24/7, and handle all those frequently asked questions — so you don’t have to. This a big improvement over a manual process, where candidates are often asked to wait for days for an answer, defeating the whole purpose of opening a messaging line of communication.

The chatbot is also trained to manage inbound inquiries, automate interview scheduling and status updates, so your team can focus on doing what it does best: building relationships. Businesses can even choose to customize their chatbot’s script to their specific brand and engagement objectives. This allows you to automate the entire prescreening process for hundreds of candidates at the same time, while providing a personalized experience.

Keep it personal: send individual notes from your recruiters

While the conversational AI is great to handle most of the traffic, recruiters still need to be sending personal notes to candidates on a regular basis. WhatsApp’s ‘bot-to-human-handover’ feature means recruiters can send WhatsApp messages to candidates directly through the Talkpush CRM.

Stop burning through SIM cards with Verified Business Accounts

WhatsApp has started handing out “Verified Business” stamps to certain WhatsApp numbers, associating those numbers with a Business API, a logo, a website, and a short description. This is meant to build trust with anyone interacting with this number, as the WhatsApp ecosystem is otherwise rich with impostors.

Make your employer brand available to the world’s biggest messaging platform

This verified label makes your WhatsApp number a brand real presence on the messaging platform and a credible communication channel for jobseekers to turn to when looking for key information about a business and its job openings.

Using WhatsApp as an outbound channel can be perfectly safe and GDPR compliant when using trusted and verified accounts. The next 2-minute video featuring our CEO, Max Armbruster, will explain in detail why.


Why its essential to get a “Verified Account” from WhatsApp

Delivery analytics and SMS fall-back

The WhatsApp Business app and API provide key insights to understand the effectiveness of your messaging, showing you which messages have been delivered, and read. In the rare instances when WhatsApp messages are not received, we fall back to SMS. Beyond the delivery metrics, Talkpush will also deliver chatbot analytics, such as interview completion rates, interview completion times, user sentiment analysis, top user messages, and engagement levels.

Recruiters can leverage top incoming message data and amplify their understanding of who their candidates are and what they’re looking for

How to connect WhatsApp to your various sourcing channels

WhatsApp is the ideal tool to reach your audience, build a connection, promote your brand, and communicate with your candidates in real time. On top of that, Talkpush integrates with all your existing inbound sourcing channels to provide seamless interactions no matter where your candidate may be coming from. Here’s how:

Connecting Paid Traffic

Capture key data the moment your candidates submit their resume online

When WhatsApp is activated with your Talkpush account, it becomes the priority communication channel whether your candidates are coming from online job boards, a Facebook Lead Ad form, LinkedIn, or any other sourcing channel.

Our system first parses key candidate data like the email and phone number received from the candidate’s resume or job application form. If the parsed phone number is active on WhatsApp, the candidate will receive an invitation to apply via WhatsApp. If the candidate does not have WhatsApp installed or has poor phone signal strength, this message will be delivered via SMS. This is to ensure higher read and response rates, and lower costs both for our clients and candidates.

In addition, Facebook offers an ad targeting feature that allows recruiters to use Instagram or Facebook to send ad traffic to WhatsApp. You can customize the ad’s layout and target audience demographics from Facebook’s Ads Manager.

From an ad to a WhatsApp conversation in just a click

Once the ad is published, candidates will be able to view it on their social media newsfeed. Clicking on the Call to Action (CTA) button prompts the WhatsApp app to open and the candidate to message your WhatsApp business profile.

Note: These ‘Send to WhatsApp’ ads are currently only available for a mobile phone audience

Connecting via Parsed Resumes

Directing Traffic from Your Careers Page

Another way to capture more leads via WhatsApp is by placing a widget button on your website, so job seekers can quickly start a conversation with you. This is a great way to promote your WhatsApp chatbot and distinguish your brand as a leader in innovative recruitment technology.

Connecting Offline to Online Communities

Capture leads from real world advertisement like career fairs, business cards, and posters

WhatsApp QR Codes can also be used to increase the value of your print ads, billboards, posters, business cards, and brochures. Potential candidates could be on the subway, reading your billboard advertisement, or walking down the street and with the push of a button be immediately taken to follow-up information or a job application via WhatsApp.

Because college students are heavy smartphone users and particularly tech-savvy, WhatsApp is a great communication channel which should be embedded into all aspects of campus recruiting.

Developing a multi-channel engagement strategy will not only get you great conversion rates, it’ll help you learn more about your candidates and will make your employer brand feel more relatable. People want to work for companies who care about their experience, and understand their style of communication.

The numbers also speak for themselves. We’ve found that since integrating Whatsapp as a communication channel for some of our clients, their average interview completion rate across all channels had increased by more than 10%. This demonstrates Whatsapp’s enormous potential and ability to achieve higher read and response rates from candidates— when done correctly.

There are numerous benefits for the candidate, namely:

  • It’s instant. They can get in touch with a recruiter quickly and easily from the palm of their hands or from their desktop app.
  • It’s discreet. Candidates can apply on WhatsApp within minutes without having to worry about their manager monitoring their activity on LinkedIn or the amount of times they duck out to take a phone call, for example.
  • No spam. Flooded with marketing messages in daily life and targeted ads on social media, job seekers value the power of human connections facilitated by direct, open, two-way communication. WhatsApp helps to filter out the noise by preventing companies from sending unapproved messages to their users after the fixed 24-hour support window. Any message sent outside of this window needs to be a message template, which the candidate needs to give consent before it gets delivered. This encourages businesses to only speak when spoken to, and build relationships with the most interested candidates.
  • It’s conversational. WhatsApp allows prospective candidates instantly communicate with a business and get all the necessary information to support their decision-making process. Having a WhatApp chatbot means that candidates are encouraged to continue the conversation for longer, ask questions about certain aspects of a job, and learn about the employer brand — boosting their interest to submit an application.
  • It ends the recruitment “Black Hole.” Seventy five percent of candidates reports they never hear back from the employer after their job application. With WhatsApp, every jobseeker now receives real-time alerts about the status of their application, can schedule an interview, and is informed about their candidacy for the role they are applying for.

Stand out from the competition

Fast, flexible, personable — and still underutilized — WhatsApp is the unconventional recruitment tool you need to stay ahead of the game in a competitive job market.

As WhatsApp opens its user base to businesses, it is hyper-focused on making sure that all participation is GDPR compliant, with no spam and high delivery and response rates.

Many vendors proclaim they integrate with WhatsApp . In reality, most of these solutions are just using a standard sandbox and are not following security and GDPR practices as they should.

The key to using WhatsApp effectively within your company is to make it about quality interactions. It’s important not to abuse the relationship and measure your communications, so you can continuously learn how to bring value.

Talkpush is the new way employers and candidates connect all over the world. We believe hiring is about starting conversations; and are on a mission to level up the recruitment experience.

Want to try out our Whatsapp bot? Add Talkpush Careers at +1 (650) 281–2190 and start chatting to Stanley 😁

If you like what you read, share using #Letthetalenttalk or #levelup and don’t be shy with your 👏👏👏

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