Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

October 2017

 Feature Story


 Believe it or not, your next job interview might happen via text message, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

That’s because employers are now trying out apps that allow them to screen candidates and conduct early-stage interviews with texts, claiming that prospective hires are too slow to pick up the phone or respond to emails.

“People don’t want to have that 10-minute [phone] conversation any more if they could just reply with quick text,” Kirby Cuniffe, chief executive of staffing firm Aegis Worldwide LLC, told the newspaper.

After Aegis recruiters reported that fewer potential hires were answering their phones, the firm decided to try by texting. Since March, Indianapolis-based Aegis and Priceline Group’s restaurant-booking service Open Table have been using Canvas, a messaging app from Canvas Talent Inc. for text-based interviews.

The app suggests interview questions employers can use, such as “What motivates you?”

Its software analyzes candidates’ responses. Interviewers can rate answers with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, visible only to the employer, and share transcripts of those text exchanges with co-workers.

Canvas charges employers around $300 per recruiter, and competes with similar apps such as Monster Worldwide Inc.’s Jobr.

According to the article, the use of smartphone-based tools for job interviews shows employers are trying to adapt to young workers’ communication habits.

Some 12 percent of millennials—defined as those born between 1980 and the early 2000s—prefer the phone for business communication, according to a 2016 report on Internet trends from venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. By contrast, 45 percent prefer chatting online or exchanging messages by email or text.

At Aegis, recruiters who used to schedule back-to-back phone calls with 30 or more potential hires every day can now juggle more conversations via texts, which take less time, the article pointed out. Cuniffe said each of his 10 recruiters who use the Canvas app can now handle conversations with 90 to 120 candidates at a time.

The app is useful for interacting with workers who have narrow windows of free time at odd hours, the article noted.

Cuniffe, 48, said millennial employees were far less skeptical than he was about adopting the new technology. “To them, it was like ‘Duh, why wouldn’t we use this, since that’s how we communicate now,” he said.

San Francisco-based Open Table’s text-based interviews with engineers and programmers are intended to show prospective hires the 1,000-person company isn’t just another boring software firm—important because the firm competes for talent with Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, said Scott Day, a human-resources executive.

Etiquette for job-interview texting is a work in progress. When Erin Scott, a recent Butler University graduate, received a message from Canvas Chief Executive Aman Brar about a possible job with the company, she was unsure if she should reply right away. She was cheerleading on the sidelines of a Saturday basketball game, and decided to wait to respond until Monday.

“I just remember thinking okay this is nice to get questions and be able to sit on them for as long as I want and answer exactly what I want to say,” Scott told the newspaper via text.


Bob Larson, President of BLK, presented at the National Association of Personal Services conference in Denver was well received.  Bob’s topic “Talent Acquisition Lessons Learned on the Yoga Mat” was attended by junior and senior recruiters alike.  Bob’s favorite compliment was from a very experienced recruiter with 20 plus years of experience who said “You have sealed the recruitment process into a few targeted simply executed steps.  I can’t thank you enough your tips will help me bring the best candidates to my clients’ in the most timely matter”

As for the job market the low unemployment numbers continue to create competition for top talent and 4th quarter hiring targets from many of our clients are extremely aggressive. To all clients and job-seekers we so thank you for your support for the past 37 years.  It is truly an honor to serve your employment options.