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SMS Job Alerts

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 7:00pm Tuesday 08 September 2009    Print Article

SMS is an excellent communication tool - fast, cheap, easy to send and easy to receive. But, are SMS job alerts that effective in the recruitment process?

Earlier in the year I wrote a very informative article titled Using SMS in Recruitment, and only slightly touched on sending SMS job alerts. Using SMS in the recruitment process is NOT new or revolutionary. Employers, recruiters and job boards have been using it for years to deliver notifications.
  • The personal nature of mobile phones makes SMS marketing a very powerful tool.
  • Most mobile users keep it on them all the time - meaning they can be effective for time sensitive messages.
  • Users are inclined to read virtually every SMS they get - unlike email and other means of advertising.
  • Bulk SMS marketing is very economical and one can send thousands of text messages to consumers at low prices.
  • Bulk SMS saves time - instead of writing a message and then sending it to each mobile subscriber, one message is created and then sent to a whole group of subscribers.
SMS works great in the temp/casual sectors because you can quickly distribute your message and receive an immediate response. Ask yourself...
  • Why are we communicating via SMS in the first place?
  • Is there urgency for contacting the person?
  • Is it easier to make a phone call or send an email with more information?
Over the past few days while integrating SMS Job Alerts into our online recruitment system, I continue to identify 2 main problems with using SMS.
  1. The MESSAGE
  2. The PROCESS
A SMS can be between 140 - 160 characters long per message. Within that message we need to quickly identify the reason for sending the SMS (header) and include un-subscription details (footer).

If you are going to set up SMS job alerts, allow users to set the maximum number of SMS's received per day/week/month and set up specific search criteria for users to receive alerts - location, category, work type or keywords.

There are various methods for a user to automatically unsubscribe - send a SMS back the sender or visit a URL and enter the mobile phone number. Either way, this is mandatory!

eg. "New job alert!" (14 chars) + space (1 char) + MESSAGE + space (1 char) + "NOSMS?" (27 chars) = 43 characters used, leaving 117 for the job details.

Surly 160 characters are enough to explain the job? Not really, the SMS will inform the user to perform another step in this process - SMS/call back, check email, view website. Again, these steps need to be relayed in the message.

What ever method you use, remember to measure the open rate, traffic flow to website, replies or responce numbers/rate and un-subscription.
Are SMS job alerts that effective? Have you used SMS in the recruitment process before?

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Article Tags: sms mobile recruitment sms marketing marketing recruitment marketing job alerts sms job alerts recruitment process mobile phone

Comments Hide Comments (4)

Feel free to join in on the conversation. All comments are moderated before publishing. Comments posted by subscribers don't necessarily reflect the views of Recruitment Directory.

 robWise (7:45pm Saturday 12 September 2009)

The world is moving away from having to be stuck behind a clumsy computer, even laptop size in order to access the information repository and the services provided by the web. As the iPhone demonstrates we are demanding more mobility and job ads like many other web based services will migrate. launches September 09 and will allow JobSeekers to receive sms'd job ads to their mobile and then if interested apply for them using a reply sms. This will send their application including resume to the employer advertising the role.

Not having to lock yourself down behind a computer for hours to first find and then apply for jobs is just a part of a movement that allows this service to be woven into your normal daily activity. And in the hope that web spiders are not far away.

Rob Wise

 Thomas Shaw (3:46pm Sunday 13 September 2009)

Hi Rob, thanks for stopping by. Your service does bring up a number of questions

1. Can we legally be charging candidates to receive premium SMS job alerts?

2. Are these jobs UNIQUE to your site. ie candidates can sign up to SEEK/CareerOne email alerts for free why should I be charged $1.10 for each sms received and 55 cents to reply to the SMS?

3. How relevant are the jobs being sent in a SMS job alert? I assume that there would have to be an exact match between my profile and the job before I was charged for the service?

4. There is still my initial problems with both the MESSAGE and the PROCESS. Even if I sign up to receive SMS job alerts, I still have to perform another step to view or inquire about the job - either call the person, or visit the website for the full job advertisement.

The premium SMS business model does not work unless you are sending a large number of sms's per month. Assuming that you use a shared shortcode keyword

ie. Monthly line rental $50.00
Tel service charge per sms ~ $0.35
Service platform fee ~$0.10
Total variables $0.45

Therefore to break even on just the SMS service cost you would need to be sending 500 SMS's sent per month. This is excluding all overheads - initial set up of 19** number approx $900.00, company set up, rent, marketing, wages and the like.

I wish you the best of luck. Cheers. Thomas

 robWise (4:28pm Sunday 13 September 2009)

Good questions.

1. Yes if the user has agreed to receive premium sms’s in accordance with a bunch of telco rules & regs it is all legal.

The process of registering explains the costs & causes a verifying email and sms to be dispatched both of which need to be activated to verify the user is wanting to be involved.

The user can set, in their user account, the max No of sms’s or max spend per month. and after $30 pm spend we have to send a free sms notifying same and we have to suspend an account after $100 pm usage.

2. The site is a job board in its own right. All innovation tends to be a movement in a direction of an end point and so the foundation of our system, while moving folks away from having to be web bound, will also offer the same comfort as the familiar web based environment and concepts typical of the present day incarnation of the service.

We are looking for our own advertisers as any job board does, so in time we are looking to have ads unique to our site which no doubt will be those unique to our demographic.

To this end ours will be a less expensive experience for advertisers and so not just a unique medium but also a financial incentive to find unique advertisers.

At first however we will job ad share so there is a relevance for users to try our service.

$1.65 is the cost of receiving and applying for an ad from anywhere you have mobile reception.

Back in the good old days we used to had to buy a newspaper paper, print/copy our resumes, sometimes bind and then post them - all at a cost. The concept of a cost to apply for a job (as an investment) is not new at all.

The web experience has made those costs less cash like but what value your continued access to the net for the purposes of job hunting and / or the time cost spent seeking and there is also an opportunity cost of a non timely response to an ad that you missed or haven’t had the time to seek out.

Besides there is plenty of evidence around that the generation likely to pick up the technology will spend on a phone based convenience, just look at the proliferation of iphone apps.

We would be just like a bunch – too many others being another job ad portal. Our is to sell a convenience in the way you find a job. While sms ads are not new the ability to apply from the handset in real time is our USP.

We also encourage anyone able to receive email to their mobile to turn off the sms capability and receive the email version of the job ad. You can still send an sms having read that and apply for the role, anywhere you have mobile reception – anytime of the day.

3. We allow the user to select their preferences from a huge range of categories and sub categories and locations. We understand folks do not want to be receiving ads not suited to them. I don’t doubt that this system will evolve and refine over time.

4. There will be enough information to apply there and then because we use a double sms for each ad, which in part explains the cost to receive an ad, so we put out more information per single (which is really a double) sms. We believe enough for you to be able to reply –apply there and then from the mobile.

Those ads that do suit your preference will also be emailed to you and popped into your web based account, so at least if you need more information the full ad is easily accessible for you.

5. Frankly the set up costs of the premium sms has been nothing compared to the cost of setting up the entire concept / web presence. I don’t doubt more costs ahead of us but hey

Thanks for the well wishes.

Rob W

 robWise (7:51pm Saturday 17 October 2009)

So given the avalanche of interest in by job seekers. If it were a free job ad service we have decided to not to charge for sending out the job ads by SMS. There is still the functionality that allows a Job seeker to reply and in doing so motivate an application for a role, including sending the resume.

This reply SMS however is something over which we have not cost control so users will be charged by their telco. This charge depending on your telco plan you may pay nothing up to 25 cents maximum.

Still not bad to have a job ad delivered to you and to make an application at your convenience anywhere anytime. We have also introduced researchers behind the scene that, if we do not have the job type you require on our site will hunt down appropriate roles and post them as an SMS.

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