Review: Emissary.ai Puts Automation in Your Hands With Text Messaging Tools for Recruiters

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It’s harder and harder to reach candidates these days. Candidates aren’t just hard to find, they’re also not using email. The open rate for recruiting emails has declined over time to below 20 percent. It’s not just Gen Z that doesn’t check email on their phones. Most of the people I know who are over 40 (elder Millennials) don’t even have email alerts turned on, but they do have text message alerts! 

Review: Emissary.ai Puts Automation in Your Hands With Text Messaging Tools for Recruiters

Candidates today are not email-focused; they are mobile phone-focused. Text messaging sees nearly a 100 percent open rate and the response time is about 60 times faster via text than it is via email. Additionally, when they find a job they want to apply for, candidates cannot apply with a work email; they have to switch to a personal email like Gmail, and recruiter emails often end up in a junk folder.

As someone who has used text messaging to support recruiting efforts and as a consultant, I have seen how effective text messaging can be for candidate outreach, communication, and engagement. Everyone has their phone in front of them, they don’t check email but they do check text messages.

So how can we reach candidates by text quickly and easily? In comes Emissary.ai, a full-service text recruiting platform built to bridge the communication gap between recruiters and candidates. 

Candidate Communication Made Easy – at Your Fingertips

 

Emissary built a series of tools to help facilitate communication and I had the opportunity to go through a product demo with them. It’s really amazing and I haven’t seen anything like it out there. I’ll run through some highlights here:

One-to-one texting allows recruiters to send a text message from any web-based platform they are using through a browser extension with just one click. Once they turn the tool on, it recognizes phone numbers in an ATS, CRM, LinkedIn, Indeed, – any browser-based tool that displays phone numbers (and it recognizes mobile numbers apart from landlines). This also means that you can add text functionality to any system that you’re already using in minutes – without having to transfer data or learn how to use a new system or platform. You can also schedule individual text messages so that they don’t have to send in real time. A lot of recruiters are working into the late hours and you might not want to send a text message to a candidate at 11pm, so you can schedule it to go out the next morning.

Text campaigns allows recruiters to plug in a list of candidates and text them all at once without having to type in their messages individually. The scheduling templates built into the system along with personalization makes this automation super easy. This is all done in one dashboard. The functionality is really similar to a mail merge (and easy) where you upload a CSV file, the system reads your file and sends your texts. The end-user cannot tell that it’s part of a group campaign because the texts go out individually. It also scans your file and flags any landlines so that you’re only including candidates with mobile numbers. This is also where you can personalize the messaging with variables. This would be a great way to use lists of candidates that you want to re-engage. You can also create drip campaigns via text in the same way you would for email.

Recruiting chatbot, which is all text message-based and is a top of the funnel talent engagement tool. It asks prequalifying questions using AI. This is so important for recruiting teams because we know how much time screening can take. This is great for high-volume recruiting because candidates can text a word to a code and get a response, then screening questions and job title-specific prequalifying questions. For hourly roles, candidates do not want to spend 45 minutes applying for a job, then answering screening questions. This allows them to apply and get prequalified quickly and easily right on their phones.

Users are assigned their own phone number and they can choose the area code that fits them the best. The candidates see a real text message from a real phone number even though you’re sending from the Emissary platform (and you can enable call forwarding in case a candidate calls the number instead of texting you back). You can send links, such as a calendar invite link or Calendly schedule link. 

Here’s the really cool thing: With the Emissary Chrome or Edge extensions, text recruiting conversations aren’t restricted to a single site. If you start texting a candidate from inside LinkedIn, for example, you can continue the conversation from within your ATS and your chat history and other details stick with the same message. The same goes for your templates; they follow you from site to site along with the conversation history.

How Emissary.ai Texting Integrations Work 

 

Emissary supports texting integrations with Workday, Greenhouse, Success Factors and a growing list of other leading applicant tracking and human capital management platforms that includes two-way data sync, triggered texting and more. 

These integrations allow recruiters to store the conversation history directly into the candidate profiles. Within Workday, for example, it stores a transcript of text conversations that anyone in the company has had with the candidate. It’s tied to the phone number, so it can even store conversations that took place outside of that system so if a recruiter engaged the candidate on Indeed and then that candidate applies through Workday, it will retroactively pick up that previous conversation history with date and time stamps based on a match with the candidate’s phone number. 

These are real API-powered, full-featured integrations and having a date and time-stamped record of these conversations makes it super easy if you have a compliance audit.  

How the Emissary.ai Dashboard Works 

 

The Emissary dashboard is super intuitive. If you’ve used any basic browser-based email or CMS, it looks and feels similar, but it gives recruiters a single place from which to text candidates, create campaigns, manage and edit your templates, and it also organizes everything you need right at your fingertips. You don’t even have to have it open all day long if you enable notifications on your desktop.

Because we’re typically working with such a high volume of candidates, this organizational aspect is so important. On the left sidebar, you can sort your unread text messages, flag candidates as “important” (in a similar way as you flag your email messages – if anyone is still doing that!), and even manually add candidates to your list if they are referrals or you meet them at a hiring event so you will remember to engage them. 

You can also create tags to sort candidates, and the tags are internal so the candidate doesn’t see them. Your tags can be requisition numbers, job titles, where the candidate was sourced from…there are endless possibilities and you can have multiple tags on candidates that allow you to cross-reference and sort by tags just by clicking on them. Additionally, when you send campaigns, it automatically creates a tag for that campaign and adds those candidates. I can see a lot of ways to use this feature – hiring events, interview reminders, map links. 

One thing I really love is that you can download the app and have this dashboard at your fingertips on your phone so you can respond or create messages when you’re not at your desk. On the candidate’s side, it looks like you’re texting whether you’re on a browser or on your phone. 

The second thing I thought was really amazing is that you can change who “owns” the account. For example, let’s say you work on a team of recruiters and each has an Emissary account associated with a phone number. One recruiter is out on vacation and another can fill in as that recruiter using that phone number. Or if someone leaves your team; you simply assign that phone number to someone else and you don’t lose contact information, conversation history, anything. I think this is absolutely brilliant because information is currency in our business. If recruiters are texting from their own phone numbers and leave, they take it with them. With Emissary, it stays with you and your company.

And speaking of teams, Emissary also has a team view in the dashboard so everyone can be on the same page. This helps you avoid accidentally sending messages from different recruiters to the same candidate.

Interested in more information? Click here to book a demo with Emissary to learn how they can help you harness the power of text to reach more candidates, quickly and easily. 

FTC Disclosure: We received compensation for mentioning and reviewing the product listed above as part of one of the services we offer our clients. Regardless, we only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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