At the heart of any recruiting strategy is communication. Effective communication. But is all communication created equal? Albert Einstein once said, “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the President of the university.” Notably, Einstein was referring to respect when he said this, but it does allow us to think further. Would our recruiting and communication strategy to hire a garbage man be the same as the President of a university? Certainly not. Recruiting executives and effectively reaching them in the search process is unique and does not follow a straight line.
Texting is a commonly accepted form of communication for executives, but your communication strategy through this medium must be impressive. Here are 5 ways to master your texting strategy to reach executives.
1. Be Discrete and Highly Confidential
Getting the contact information for an executive you are recruiting can be tough. What's tougher is getting them to be open with you through texting. Many executives are issued cell phones from the company and live and breathe through their device like most professionals. That doesn’t mean that they want to speak on any device that could be linked back to their organization or in a paper trail. When reaching out through text, be open about who you are, but establish their comfort level and restraints in texting out of the gate before you begin presenting the full opportunity. They will respect you more because of it.
2. Text Like a Human. Establish Credibility.
Even with an executive, people want to speak to people that they can relate to and who they can trust. The first way to build trust is establishing credibility and making your executive a partner in their search. This means discussing all communication methods you will use, including texting. Establish communication timelines and the reason behind your texting; meaning you will only text when a short and precise answer is needed. Don’t text a job description to an executive or a link to fill out a long, arduous application. You text as a business partner and only for an immediate responsive need.
3. Include Others in your Communication
At the executive level, the networks and circles they travel in can be smaller than imagined. From the outset, use your current board of directors, investors, and C-suite to connect to potential candidates first. Executives are more likely to respond to people whom they know in text versus a stranger. If your executives don’t have the time, use their name and their executive titles when texting candidates. This will increase your texting response rate and allow a an easier “in” with a hard to reach C-suite candidate.
4. Keep Messages Short and to the Point
Executives are easy to find, but harder to reach. Executives are busy and have a lot on their plate, so you need to grab their attention fast. Working in your favor is that executives want to hear from you! An Experteer Career Services Survey on C-level candidates stated that 97% of C-level candidates want to be found or be approached about relevant vacancies. Knowing this, have 3 quick bullet points ready to share about your opportunity in your text after you have garnered initial interest. These can include the value they will bring, why it is important and how
the role is key to the specific product or technology. Even sweeter is if you can keep it to 140 characters or less.
4. Go the Extra Mile in Creating a Personal Relationship
It’s well known that recruiting is about building relationships. What’s different though for executives is that during the search process you are not just their recruiter. You are their eyes and ears to the market, to the company and their lifeline. Most executives don’t make many career moves in comparisons to millenials. When they do make a career jump, it is thoughtful, calculated and meaningful. Your communication should go the extra mile. Be available after hours, invite them to dinner or a baseball game. Build a relationship so deep that you are just one text message away and a valued business partner who has their best interests at heart. The result? A future client, an offer accepted, more referrals, and a feather in your cap of credibility.
Ultimately, mastering the art of texting to an executive can be learned and mastered by being smart about the messaging and the frequency of communication method. Allow texting with your executive to open the door to future business conversations and be just a text away.