Is the Text Message Interview a Scam?


Written by: Makeda Waterman

If you think you know technology, the text messaging interview tops our list. The reality is most job seekers will not be prepared when an unexpected text arrives on the smartphone. With the rapid pace of technology, you need to know more than the most common interview questions

Before you accept your next text interview, we included the pros, cons and why it is becoming popular across the globe.

Why Text Message Recruiting is Popular

According to a Gallup News article, “sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent form of communication for Americans younger than 50.” 

HR staff at organizations have realized that emails can get lost in spam folders, but people take the time to check their phones a few times a day. Online tools such as Google Voice give recruiters an opportunity to send a text message from their computer. 

The Android and iPhone have voice dictation tools that help them to create a text message without the use of their cell phone or keyboard. Sounds like an easy way for employers to find top talent.

SMS Interview Tips

The entire purpose of SMS interviews is for recruiters to screen out applicants without having to spend countless hours on the telephone or play cat and mouse phone tag to connect with applicants successfully. An SMS message may come as a surprise. Here are messages to avoid sending if you receive one.

  • CU later!
  • XOXO :D
  • Thx for the invite!
  • Gr8! C U Soon

What to consider when sending a professional SMS message:

  • Try to avoid sending long text messages if you have a basic question like directions to find the location of the interview. 
  • When you need help with a more detailed inquiry, send an email or call the recruiter. Keep your messages within a 140 character tweet limit.
  • Emojis are casual but are not professional when communicating with an HR rep. If you can avoid using slang and check for spelling errors, you are well on your way.
  • Send your responses during regular business hours. A text to a recruiter at 3 am may not be looked at as professional hours.

The Benefits of Text-based Interviewing

There is a belief that text-based interviewing minimizes bias when recruiters hire top talent. The recruiter is less distracted with personality or accents and can stay focused on how the applicant answers their questions. 

It helps to improve the chances of qualifying the right candidates to come in for an interview. The conversation with a recruiter can end quicker if they choose not to move forward. The information can stay on record and text messages can be shared with managers throughout the hiring process.

The Cons of Interviewing via Text

Not all applicants understand the do’s and don’ts of how to be professional when replying to text-based interviews. An applicant that adds an emoji or sends a casual response might be a qualified candidate. Depending on the person that receives the text, he or she may not have an interest in carrying on an interview via SMS. It is fair to say that not all millennials or job seekers appreciate texting over a one on one connection with a live recruiter.

Text Message Recruitment Scams

Doesn’t it sound like a convenient way to communicate? Yes, indeed. The other side of this text-friendly recruitment practice is scammed becoming popular. 

On Indeed, job seekers shared their experiences of generic text messages from illegitimate companies. Beware of the text message that asks you to send your full name, date of birth, address and Social Security Number. A recruiter from a real company will not ask you for this information. If this happens to you, we strongly recommend that you hold onto the message and report it to your local authorities.

The next time you receive an SMS from an HR recruiter, think of it like an in-person interview. It takes a few seconds to use autocorrect and think of a pleasant and professional way to answer a question. You most likely are one out of the many people that will receive it. Do your best to wow the recruiter and good luck!