Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mind Your Texting Manners - Are Using Text Messages Ok on the Job Search?

Things may be advancing and going mobile but be careful when you take your conversations to text message or email. The Wall Street Journal reported that employers are getting turned off to text messages and casual emails from their candidates. From sending a SMS message to a recruiter after an interview in texting shorthand to adding the interviewer as a friend on Facebok... Some argue that it's a little too casual.

The trend may reflect a cultural divide between younger and older workers, says David Holtzman, author of "Privacy Lost: How Technology Is Endangering Your Privacy." "It's driven by the communication technology that each generation has grown up with," he adds. Workers in their 20s and younger are accustomed to online and cellphone messaging, and the abbreviated lingua franca that makes for quick exchanges, he says. "It's just natural for them. They don't realize that it's perceived to be disrespectful."

Read: Thx for the Iview, Wuld luv 2 Work 4 U!

I posed the question about use of mobile technology in your job search in an earlier post. This article seems to say that recruiters don't want job seekers to send them texts and emails with smiley faces and emoticons. It doesn't surprise me. The argument is that text languge is a little too casual and emoticons are unprofessional -- and may be costing candidates the job. While our generation is pretty savvy with our cell phones and use them to text, browse the internet, download music and just about anything else, it may not always be the appropriate means of communicating for every situation.

This year, hiring manager Cathy Chin received a thank you on her cellphone from a candidate for an entry-level job at ReThink Rewards Inc., a marketing firm based in Toronto. While she says her cell number is on her business card, which she gave to the candidate, all prior correspondence had been through her office phone and email. "It's infringing a bit on your personal space," she says, adding that the candidate wasn't hired partly for this reason.

Jennifer Porter on Job Boarders response to this article I think is a good one:

Text messaging is efficient for employee communication and certainly delivers prompt communications. However, why would a job seeker take a chance and potentially turn-off an employer? It can not be blamed on generational issues, it is a proper business practice that any job seeker should be educated on.

Many of our employers have complained about the casual nature of today's job
seekers in terms of interviews, thank-you letters and even career fair attire. As the market becomes more competitive (and companies start hiring more & more baby boomers due to the population surge among that demographic) younger job seekers need to embrace business etiquette in their job search.

Read: Text Messaging is great but not during a career search!

I think it's important to remember who you're talking to. If you are job seeker, know your boundaries. The recruiter, unless you've known them a long time, is not your friend. While it's ok to be yourself, you still want to maintain a sense of professionalism.

My personal practice is that I never text someone who I am unaquainted with. You don't know what that person has to pay for those text messages. Unless someone sends me a text message first, I usually do not intiate it. I also never call a cell phone of a professional contact unless specifically told or invited to. This practice might be a little conservative but I don't like to feel like I'm invading on people's personal space. Which was a complaint of the recruiter who received an unwelcomed text from a candidate.

When sending emails to a recruiter, keep it professional. Refrain from having cute signatures, emoticons and smiley faces for sending your resume and other coorespondence about the interview and job. Use spellcheck and reread your emails out loud before sending. Make sure your tone is one directed at someone you do not know.

It's not saying you shouldn't use email or even text messaging. Just be careful about when you're using it and the content you're sending. Think about your audience and what kind of message you're sending to a prospective employer when you're typing that emoticon.

Have a gr8t wkend! ;)


- Rosie Reilman
Photo by star5112


Jonathan Praklis said...

This is a definitely an age issue. Younger people in their 20's see this as a norm and as the older generations in the workforce retire, it will become acceptable.

This is much related to the larger use of web based tools & social media to get your work done. The younger generation is more adept to using the internet to get work done in a different manner. It definitely is a large generational gap that will take some time to change.

salesroles said...

I see there are a few recruiters targetting graduates in this market


Cody Fox said...

I don't think it has anything to do with age. All age groups now use text messaging as a primary means of communication.