12 min read

How recruitment agencies and HR departments use messenger apps to inspire applicants

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The struggle over finding new talents is real! Almost any industry is currently facing a shortage of skilled workers. So, how can you reach qualified people fast and efficiently, and convince them to join your company? Through messaging apps! In the following, we explain why recruiting is more effective on messenger apps, and how HR departments around the world are using messaging solutions to improve their recruitment process. 

Why you should adopt messenger apps in recruiting

If you wonder why you should include messaging apps into your HR process, the answer is fairly simple: that's where you can reach applicants! Because they're already using and engaging with companies on messaging channels, it only makes sense for businesses to reach out to new talents on the channels they already use. For Nils Gerstenkorn, Head of Education at the German manufacturing company Aurubis, messenger apps are the way to go in recruiting!

Quote Nils Gerstenkorn Aurubis recruiting

Your target group communicates on the move

Depending on your target group and region, different messaging apps might be more interesting than others. India, for example, is the biggest WhatsApp market, and people use WhatsApp for everything: getting a government ID, catching an Uber ride, and reading news. In the US, iMessage and Facebook Messenger are very popular messaging channels, and in the UK, WhatsApp also dominates. If you're recruting talents in Central and Eastern Europe, Viber is the way to go, and in Spain, Telegram is an up and coming messenger app.

Regardless of the messaging app, you'll see similar numbers around messaging around the world:

  • open rates around 90%
  • 90% of people read a message on their smartphone within 15 minutes of receiving it
  • full attention: no competition through algorithm, real-time delivery, push notifications on the lock screen
  • faster and more successful recruiting by using the channels your target group loves
  • users are actually looking for personal conversations with businesses on messaging apps

Achieve cost benefit and reduce workload through automation

In addition, messaging apps are an ideal platform for integrating automated solutions like chatbots. Especially in the recruitment process, messenger apps and chatbots can help you save valuable resources. For example, if you use a chatbot to pre-qualify applicants and their inquiries, you relieve your team of additional work. You can use the resources this frees up for personal applicant consulting and interviewing.

Use speed and multimedia for an optimized application process

With notifications on messenger apps, you can reach applicants in almost real time. Studies show that over 90% of all messages are read within the first 15 minutes of receiving them. That's why you'll be so much more effective in reaching the right applicants faster on messenger apps than, for instance, via e-mail. In addition, messenger apps also allow you to integrate multimedia options, so it's very easy to send voice messages, images, attach a CV file, or send videos. This allows you to easily explain complex issues in a more engaging way, and it also makes it easier for applicants to send you relevant information.

In which phases of the application process can recruiters and HR successfully use professional messenger communication?

From informing interested talents about open job opportunities to sending a reminder for the interview appointment to onboarding new hires: using messenger apps in different stages of the recruitment process can be a huge advantage.

1. Information stage: How can you inform interested talents about open job positions? 

People that are interested in a new job are typically already searching for opportunities themselves. So, often, it's a matter of finding the right people on the right platform. For Olaife Orolade, marketing manager at the trucking recruitment platform TruckHero, it's clear that companies can reach a lot more candidates if they use messaging apps to send out information about open positions.

Quote by Olaife Orolade TruckHero

Especially in combination with one-to-many notifications on messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, or iMessage, it's easy to let interested talents know that you're looking for applicants. And, as Orolade points out, even if one job position isn't the right fit now, it's easy to use the same channel in the future as well (which is also a lot cheaper than having to spend ad money on Google ads or job platforms).

"Talk to the CEO" and other creative ideas for getting information to potential applicants

When using messenger apps for recruiting, we recommend focusing on the conversational strength of the channel. So make the process interactive! For example, set up a WhatsApp session where applicants can ask your CEO questions. It'll make the recruitment process more engaging, and you'll probably also find out a lot of things about what candidates are looking for in your industry.

You can also integrate playful elements, such as a job quiz. The German Federal Employment agency, for example, uses a WhatsApp chatbot called "WhatsMeBot" where trainees complete a job quiz to find out what type of job best fits them.

The results:

  • After six weeks, already more than 180,000 users
  • 89% answered questions till the end
  • 64,000 participants sought direct contact with the Federal Employment Agency
  • 20,000 young people advised per day, more than usual in the whole year

This is a great example of how messaging apps can make recruiting more fun and engaging, and also reach more applicants faster.

2. Search stage: What positions does your company offer?

Now that applicants know where and how they can contact your company easily, quickly and conveniently on instant messaging apps, the next step in the recruitment process is to get available jobs to them as quickly as possible.

Send open job positions through a broadcast

As mentioned before, the one-to-many message feature on messenger apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, or Facebook Messenger is an easy way to send out a position you want to fill to many people with just one single message. You can also combine this broadcast with a chatbot. Once somebody replies and is interested in a job, you can integrate a chatbot that asks candidates questions, such as, what position they're applying for and some personal information. This data can then already be sent to a recruiter who, in a next step, can reach out to applicants in a more efficient and personalized way.

Best Practice: Alex, the WhatsApp chatbot from Merkuria

The delivery company Merkuria works with WhatsApp in their recruitment process. Applicants can just contact the company through the keyword "apply", which then triggers a bot flow with their HR bot "Alex" to gather important information. Even if it turns out that there's no suitable job available at the moment, the automated system will notify the applicant when something is available.

Merkuria delivery HR WhatsApp chatbot 1
Merkuria delivery HR WhatsApp chatbot 2
Merkuria delivery HR WhatsApp chatbot 3

With a professional WhatsApp recruitment solution that allows for a seamless CRM integration, it's also easy to upload this data into your own database where recruiters can access it. This will save you a lot of time, and also make sure that nobody falls through the cracks in the recruitment process.

Best practice: A WhatsApp chatbot for health care jobs 

KCS Medical is an HR company that specializes in health care jobs. They connect health care providers and applicants by using a WhatsApp chatbot. The bot "Zoe" helps job seekers to find, for example, new jobs as a nurse or maternity professional.

KCS Medical WhatsApp chatbot EN 1
KCS Medical WhatsApp chatbot EN 2
KCS Medical WhatsApp chatbot EN 3

Best practice: Personalized job offer

Messenger apps can make your recruitment process highly personalized. As marketing notifications on platforms like WhatsApp or Apple Messages for Business make it very easy to set up personalized target groups for your notifications, they can be a very effective tool in reaching the best candidates for a job.

Azubiyo, an HR company that helps trainees and students to find jobs and internships, first asks applicants to set up a profile on their website. Using these profiles, they can then send out the most fitting job positions to the candidates.

Azubiyo WhatsApp chatbot EN 1
Azubiyo WhatsApp chatbot EN 2

Azubiyo only sends out one job position at a time. If someone isn't satisfied with the offer, they can use the command #more to request another vacant position, to which they can apply on WhatsApp as well. This avoids a message overload for the users, and makes sure that the candidates are getting the most fitting job offers.

Best practice: Advanced automation for more complex needs

If your company has several HR departments or a more complex recruiting process a simple FAQ bot might not be enough for you. It still doesn't mean that you can't offer a smooth and efficient conversational solution! 

Take, for instance, Foyer, a major insurance provider from Luxembourg. Their HR departments receives a large number of questions every day, and most of them are repetitive in nature, so the agents end up having to provide the exact same answers over and over again. That's neither fun for the team, nor efficient for the company and the applicants. That's why Foyer decided to automate the process. 

With the help of a Conversational AI messaging solution, Foyer implemented a smart chatbot that now helps the HR team with their daily tasks. As a result:

  • Foyer now is available for questions 24/7
  • The chatbot handles 80% of all HR requests
  • The satisfaction rate in the team improved significantly

💡Read more about AI chatbots for your company

3. Application stage: How can your company support candidates with messenger apps?

After applicants have learned about your company and found suitable jobs they want to apply for, the next phase in the recruiting process is to use messenger apps to help candidates with their applications.

3.1 Send tips for the application 

If you support new recruits during the application process, you get better applications, save time on the back-and-forth if something is not submitted correctly, and you already show the recruits that you are interested in them, so it'll motivate them even more to apply. 

Migros, Switzerland's biggest retailer, for example, set up "Mino", a WhatsApp chatbot that's specifically there to engage potential candidates. The chatbot uses text, but also images to make the process more engaging. 

By the way, of course, you can also use other messaging apps besides WhatsApp. The BMW Group for example supports trainees and dual students via Notify App when they're applying for suitable positions. With tips and simplified application procedures (just send in your CV), the company encourages trainees to start their careers there. This is supported by the use of multimedia (for example, videos) and by testimonials from employees. It's a clever way to mix both, showing potential candidates what the BMW Group offers for their careers, and encouraging them to apply.

3.2 Submit the application directly

The standard at many companies is still a central application form, which is usually not mobile optimized. However, applicants want to apply quickly and in a meaningful way. And since especially young talents are part of a cell phone first generation, they also prefer job offers where they can complete the entire application process on their mobile devices. 

Messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Messages for Business allow you to do just that! Another advantage: applicants can submit their documents to the company using a channel they're familiar with. Companies, in turn, have direct and personal contact with the applicant. The entire application process is faster and more effective for both sides.

HR WhatsApp chatbot application directly EN

Best practice: Sending application documents 

At Sinch Engage Europe, applicants can apply directly via WhatsApp. To do so, they have to go to our "job" page, where they can directly access our WhatsApp support channel through a widget. After providing relevant personal information, applicants can get in direct contact with our HR colleagues under the "application" section. In further course of the chat, the application can be sent via WhatsApp.

After providing their basic information, they can use the keyword "application" to get in touch with our HR team, and also send in their application on WhatsApp. 

MessengerPeople widget EN
application messengerpeople en no logo

3.3 Find out the current status of the application via WhatsApp notification

Applicants understandably want to know the current status of their application. In order to avoid additional work for the company in providing this information, you can automate this task through notifications. Let the applicants know that they'll be informed about the application status on the messaging app, and then you can contact them when there's an update.

HR notification application lock screen EN

If you use a professional messaging platform, such as Sinch Engage, you can easily link the WhatsApp chats with your CRM and even automate the process. 

Another advantage for you: you can enrich the notification with different file and media formats (PDF, images, videos, voice messages). Notifications on messaging apps, such as WhatsApp or iMessage are messages that companies can send to their customers or applicants on various occasions if they use the WhatsApp Business Platform.

These notifications are similar to a service SMS that customers also receive as a push message on their phones. The same is possible with messaging apps! Of course, the applicant must actively register or give their consent to receive these messages.

For HR teams, the following notifications can work during the recruitment process:

  • Updates: Send out a broadcast message whenever there's a new job that matches the applicant's profile.
  • Service notifications: Let applicants know that you have received their information.
  • Appointment reminders: Send automated messages to remind applicants of an upcoming interview.

4. Onboarding: How to support your new co-workers in the beginning?

In the final stage of the recruitment process, your company has found a great new person that you hired. Now, the next task is to onboard the new co-worker as quickly and as smoothly as possible. And, you've guessed it, messaging apps are a great tool in this process as well! 

Arrive at the new company via a fun onboarding chatbot

Whenever somebody starts out at a new company, there's a lot of information coming at them at once. You can, of course, send all of that to them as PDF files or have them read a dozen website... or, you can make it really engaging by teaching them important information through a quiz on a messaging app. 

Ask them, for example: 

  • Who is the CMO?
  • How is the sales department organized?
  • At which levels do you serve the best coffee?
  • What values does the company stand for?
  • What are the most important products?
  • Etc.

Creative idea for an onboarding quiz

Have the new hire play an onboarding quiz. Each question offers multiple choice answers. The more questions the new colleague answers correctly, the cooler the prizes they get. If all questions are answered correctly, they get the opportunity to meet with the CEO to talk about their experience around the application process.  If a question is answered incorrectly, the correct result is displayed and the users are encouraged to keep going. 

ACME onboarding quiz WhatsApp 1
ACME onboarding quiz WhatsApp 2

Efficient and secure: How to implement messenger apps safely in recruiting

If you want to use messenger apps for recruiting, you need a professional solution. That's the only way to guarantee a variety of useful features, such as automations and data privacy (after all, you're dealing with highly personal data). 

The all-in-one messaging platform Sinch Engage offers you easy access to all the mentioned recruitment features, including CRM integrations, plus 100% data privacy. You can use Sinch Engage right away (no complicated set-up process), and it's browser-based, so you can use it conveniently on a larger computer. It offers you access to the most relevant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct, Viber, Apple Messages for Business, and Telegram. Even when applicants contact you on different instant messengers, you get all the messages in one inbox, and can manage them all from one central place. 

Sinch Engage Conversations

The auto-routing option in our Conversations tool lets you direct the incoming questions to the right person in your HR team, which makes answering questions faster, more efficient, and will save your team a lot of time. Plus, applicants can talk to the right person from the beginning. This creates less friction and back-and-forth, and shows new talents that they're in good hands with your company. 

Sinch Engage also has a drag-and-drop chatbot builder that you can use to build your own HR chatbot in minutes that will help you reduce the workload of your employees even more. Check out Sinch Engage, your go-to tool for recruiting on messenger apps! 

Try Sinch Engage for free


Kai Viertel, Head of Demand Generation, Sinch
Written by: Kai Viertel
Head of Demand Generation