A MESSAGE for You! (ERE Repost by K.C. Donovan)

Posted on Posted in our blog

There have been a handful of seismic shifts in talent acquisition over the years …
… job boards
… applicant tracking systems
… social media recruiting
… LinkedIn answering the “who is” question (for the most part …)

These changes were so effective they were swiftly adopted. Everyone just as rapidly forgot what was being replaced, and the new activity became like breathing.

It may be time once again to grab for the oxygen mask, because the sands are shifting. Talent engagement with our digital focus on email, social networks, mobile apps, and more is about to be turned on its head.

The game changer is called “conversational commerce.” It’s an activity common throughout Asia that is just now appearing in America, and I believe will spread faster than Uber’s global domination. It allows for a direct 1-1 digital engagement with consumers at the beginning of their decision-making process. All of this occurs within their mobile messaging or texting tools, and as the name implies, the engagement potential of this as a talent-acquisition application is enormous.

For years, companies like PepsiCo, P&G, and Coke have used big data to learn what motivates specific consumer segments during actual day parts, and then target brand messages to these groups at those times. Conversational commerce side steps this “group” approach by allowing consumers to invite brands and services directly into their messaging dialog in real time to help procure anything that interests them (career options are an obvious possibility).

This is quickly being adopted for the simple fact that:
• We live on our smartphones
• Messaging is the most popular smartphone activity by a whopping 97 percent (Pew Research)
• We’re tired of apps; 80 percent of the time we only use three of them (ComScore)

Getting help for the things we want — in a place where we spend most of our time — without having to down load anything to get it … that’s a change I bet most will easily accept. If this sounds far-fetched, think again.

Messaging program giants in Asia (like WeChat) have offered this for years and have become giant portals in their own right, connecting billions of users to businesses, on-demand services, games, and more. In addition, the four largest messaging apps in 2015 had more users than the four largest social networks, according to BI Intelligence. In the coming weeks and months there will be a stampede of program releases that will enhance the messaging experience.

Some are already here like, Uber access available on Facebook Messenger, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are programs currently available that access all sorts of experiences for travel, fitness, hospitality, shopping, entertainment, banking, delivery … just about anything. For example, if you’re texting with friends about plans for a night out, within your messenger program you can decide where to eat, ask about dinner specials, make reservations, chat about what show to see, purchase tickets, get your favorite outfit from the cleaners and order a ride to get you there. For career-interested chatters, just think how simple it would be to switch this night out example with a conversation about career interests, motivations, or job openings.

In the U.S., our largest tech companies, Facebook, Google, WhatsApp (Facebook owned), Snapchat, Slack, and a host of well backed startups (Assist, Magic, Peach, Operator, Fin) are releasing messaging products. Many have text versions of Siri, Google Now, or Cortana, that field requests in real time with texts instead of voice and maintain a database of your interests (consider the impact on prospect cultivation).

“Text is often more comfortable [than voice] even if it’s less convenient,” investor Jonathan Libov wrote last year. “Text-based interaction is fast, fun, funny, flexible, intimate, descriptive, and even consistent in ways that voice and user interface often are not.”

It’s hard to disagree with Jonathon, and his text interaction example is similar to the type of recruiting conversations I strive to have (OK, maybe not so intimate). It would work by using a “chat bot” like “Siri for recruiting” that textually answers simple recruiting questions and directs career consumers to places of interest (like a career page). If the programmable limits of the Chat Bot are met, the text exchange can be routed to a live sourcer or recruiter to continue the messaging conversation by adding the needed human context (Facebook M, now available only in California, offers this today).

As CEO of messaging concierge company Operator, Robin Chan emphatically states, “Messaging commerce is such a mega-trend that almost every large application is moving toward this.”

Even if Siri for recruiting takes a bit longer to arrive than I think, messaging commerce services are here with more coming every day. Your prospects and candidates are being driven further into the messaging universe and this is where you’ll want and need to engage with them.

At the core, our stock in trade is the ability to attract and engage career minded people, and the thought of being invited to interact with organic career conversations that happen every single day in messaging programs is breath taking.

Certainly exciting times for talent engagement. What do you think?