Text-based hiring process speeds staffing at Community Health Network

Community Health Network in Indianapolis is using a text-based communication tool on smartphones to expedite the hiring and screening process.

The tool is installed on applicants’ and recruiters’ smartphones and is intended to speed the recruiting, screening and onboarding processes, shortening it to a matter of days, rather than weeks.

Like many organizations, Community Health, a nine-hospital delivery system, traditionally used email and the phone as it worked with applicants seeking open positions for physicians, nurses, service representatives, social workers, housekeepers, food service, security professionals, environmental services and behavioral health experts, among other opportunities.

Community Health offers 500 to 800 jobs a month, and the organization was looking for a better way to get talent in the door quicker, says Scott Sendelweck, human resources digital marketing manager.

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For starters, it could take several days to contact applicants who had submitted an application or resume, and using email and phone calls can become cumbersome and inefficient.

Community Health turned to software vendor Canvas, which offered a text-based recruiting and interview platform and went live at the end of April. Now, recruiters can connect with candidates within minutes of receiving an application or resume via text messaging and from this point, the hiring process can speed up considerably, according to Sendelweck.

“We communicate instantly when a person applies, and the person within three days could be in front of a hiring manager, having been fully screened,” he explains. “We are at least 75 percent faster in responding to applicants and days faster for the interview process, which used to take seven days and now is down to two days. It’s definitely a speed tool.”

Now, Community Health loads hiring documents into a library on the Canvas platform, delivers documents to applicants and receives documents from applicants, all done via phone-based texting.

Before using the Canvas system, it took as long as 72 hours just to have an initial conversation with an applicant, Sendelweck recalls. If a recruiter was working with 10 candidates and was leaving phone messages, only about half of them would respond within 24 hours. Now, more than 80 percent of candidates are responding very rapidly via text.

“A recruiter can send 20 messages to applicants on a Friday afternoon, get 15 responses in 20 minutes, and applicants can have interviews on Monday,” Sendelweck says. “Some recruiters did not understand how fast text recruiting could be and how ready candidates were to use text messaging. Applicants were quicker than us, so we learned we had to be on the ball.”

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