The Ultimate Guide: WhatsApp Messaging for Recruiters
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.
Table of Contents
Best Practices for WhatsApp Recruitment (and standing out from the competition)
Benefits of Using WhatsApp for Recruitment
Over 1.5 billion people use the messaging app on a monthly basis. What started as a handy app to circumvent hefty text messaging charges has now become a major global communication channel. WhatsApp’s success is largely due to its functionality on both iPhone and Android and its light-touch interface: no need to create a “profile,” automatic import of contacts from your phone and of course: it’s free.
It was cleverly designed to become an extension of what your phone already offers and that’s how it became the standard messaging app in most of the world.
Traditionally WhatsApp has been used to communicate with family and friends, but gradually it is becoming the place where business conversations happen.
Asynchronous communications are so much more efficient than live phone calls and much less intrusive! Small businesses started using it to book appointments, answer questions, send locations, etc. But until recently, there was no way to do this at scale.
That’s when WhatsApp decided to step in and make it official and manageable for larger companies with its WhatsApp for Business API. The platform was able to get businesses verified and allow companies to automate their messaging.
WhatsApp for Business has had widespread adoption, especially from the marketing teams. The casual vibe of the messaging app makes it an excellent medium to express creativity and cash in on the most fun aspects of communicating with customers (or in our case, with candidates).
This platform is a great place to let go of formalities, take advantage of rich media, and show off your company personality via fun GIFs and stickers to attract and retain talent.
It wasn't long before recruiters got it on it, but now it's time to make it official.
The good news: WhatsApp is still a great differentiator as most employer brands have been slow to make the jump into the platform.
Create that candidate experience today, and you will still be perceived as one of the early adopters.
Giving candidates the option to interact with you via their favorite messaging app already scores some major points.
Beyond the initial interaction, WhatsApp is a great way for candidates to:
Receive status updates on their job application.
Take advantage of automation by allowing them to ask questions on next steps, or about the company 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Get to know your brand personality and assess for culture fit
Complete their application in just a few minutes
What makes it such a great tool for recruitment?
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.” 75% of candidates report 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.
10 Ways to Use WhatsApp to Improve Candidate Engagement
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.
When done correctly and through verified partners, WhatsApp can help recruiters tap into a world of opportunities.
Check them out 👇
Outbound: re-engage past candidate databases
WhatsApp now lets you engage with past candidates via CRM or ATS 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 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, Talkpush falls back to SMS.
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.
You can direct candidates to WhatsApp applications, no matter how they found you, or where they're coming from.
It's optional, but they'll appreciate the option.
Connect WhatsApp to your traffic ads
Capture key data the moment your candidates submit their resume online.
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
You can make the application experience a lot more engaging with a little resume parsing tech.
After candidates upload their resume to your careers page, a CRM can pull out info like name and phone number, save it on their candidate profile, and promptly send them an opt-in message if they're a WhatsApp user.
That way you're giving them the option to continue the conversation where they're most likely to be comfortable.
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.
Connect your offline efforts to your 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 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%.
What does this prove?
WhatsApp’s enormous potential and ability to achieve higher read and response rates from candidates— when done correctly.
Level up your hiring efforts on WhatsApp with Talkpush
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.
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:
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.
The conversations happening on WhatsApp are all part of the flow inside the CRM, so all recruiters with access can see and take over whenever a human is needed.
Curious to learn more about how Talkpush can help your team recruit better and faster on WhatsApp?
Best Practices for WhatsApp Recruitment (and standing 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.
Here are a few tips that are guaranteed to help you stand out:
1. Use GIFS and stickers
Have a little fun! Show complicity with your candidates by using pop culture references with GIFS and stickers, the more relevant the better. Be careful in overdoing it and only use them when truly appropriate. Think about the kind of talent you’re trying to attract when deciding what types of jokes to send out. Are they millennials? Are they tech oriented? College grads?
Studies show that messages with emojis have higher response rates than those without 😉. We encourage you to study which of them have the highest impact within your target audience, as well as the most commonly used ones in the industry. We’re fans of this little bot 🤖
3. Develop a tone that fits your company
But also the platform: WhatsApp is a casual environment, so try not to be too formal. You can maintain a professional and courteous tone, but still use simple words, abbreviations, and humor.
4. Keep your messages short
Develop copy that is to the point and gets the information across in a few lines. Long pieces of text are jarring on WhatsApp and will most likely be skimmed.
5. Keep as most of the process as possible inside WhatsApp
It’s no secret that any extra steps are likely to deter candidates from finishing their application. When using WhatsApp as a way to shortlist candidates, (more information here) make sure it can all be completed inside the messaging app.
6. Use humor
Sparingly and poignantly. One good joke is better than four mediocre ones.
For example, check out how Vixie reminds candidates that they haven’t completed their application:
1. What is WhatsApp Business API?
The WhatsApp Business API was designed after WhatsApp for Business was extremely successful for small businesses. It was made for larger companies who need to connect with their customers (and their talent pool) in scaleable ways. It comes with GDPR protections and different rules, allowing customers to opt-in to WhatsApp notifications and avoid spam inside the platform.
2. What is the difference between WhatsApp, WhatsApp for Business, and WhatsApp Business API?
WhatsApp is for individual use, although many recruiters around the world use it to text candidates. The main problem with this approach is that there's no way to formalize the communication and create a unified experience at scale. WhatsApp for Business was created for small businesses so that they could easily communicate with their customers and speed up purchases, reservations and bookings.
WhatsApp Business API is an expansion of this, so that medium and large businesses can connect the platform to their CRMs and other management tools, allowing them to track all communications and centralizing messaging in one single system (and phone number), available to all employees with access.
3. What are the benefits of using WhatsApp for recruitment?
The messaging platform is a terrific tool for recruiters to connect with their candidates asynchronously. Allowing them to decide when to continue the conversation, quickly re-engaging with candidates that drop off somewhere along the process (boosting completion rates!) and giving them a better experience.
4. How can I connect WhatsApp job applications to my social media media channels?
Thanks to the WhatsApp Business API, talent acquisition teams can direct Facebook traffic ads to a WhatsApp application, as well as regular job posts, just by providing a link.
5. Can candidates send resumes and other documents via WhatsApp?
Yes! WhatsApp allows every party to send rich media (videos and photos) as well as PDF's and other documents. Not only can candidates send you their resumes via WhatsApp, they can also send you voice recordings, and videos, and your recruiters or hiring managers can send them rich media right back! This is the recipe for a personal experience with thousands of candidates at the same time.
👉Get your own WhatsApp chatbot with Talkpush's automated recruitment platform.