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The SMS Staffing Playbook

Winning Strategies for Seasonal Recruitment

For many businesses, the need for flexible staffing solutions during peak seasons is crucial. As we explained in our blog post, “How to Simplify Seasonal Hiring with SMS,” mass texting is a powerful tool that can help you find the perfect candidates faster.

This comprehensive guide will explore essential strategies for evaluating candidates, creating impactful messages, and implementing automated text campaigns to streamline your seasonal hiring process. Enjoy!

Evaluating and Prioritizing Your Candidate List

Building an effective target list of candidates for seasonal staffing requires careful evaluation and prioritization. It’s important to make sure you have a previous relationship with the candidates you’re contacting, and you want to make sure you only reach out to candidates the job is relevant to.

To streamline the process, consider various factors that contribute to the success of your seasonal hiring efforts. Break down your candidate list into priority batches based on key criteria:

Job Fit

  • Assess candidates based on their skills, experience, and qualifications relevant to the seasonal positions you're offering.
  • Prioritize candidates who closely match the specific job roles and responsibilities required for seasonal work.


  • Consider the recency of candidates' experience and engagement with your recruitment efforts.
  • Recent engagement may indicate active job seekers, making them more likely to respond promptly.


  • Evaluate candidates' responsiveness to previous communications or interactions.
  • Prioritize those who have shown prompt and positive engagement, as they may be more inclined to participate in the hiring process.


  • Consider the geographical location of candidates in relation to your seasonal job opportunities.
  • Prioritize candidates who are in proximity to your business, as this can contribute to efficient onboarding and scheduling.

Other Relevant Criteria

  • Identify additional criteria specific to your seasonal staffing needs, such as availability during peak seasons or flexibility in working hours.
  • Prioritize candidates who align with these criteria to ensure a seamless integration into your seasonal workforce.

Breaking your candidate list into priority batches based on these factors will help you focus your efforts on the most promising candidates, increasing the efficiency of your seasonal hiring process. This targeted approach ensures that you engage with candidates who are qualified and well-suited to meet the demands of your seasonal staffing needs.

Worksheet: Candidate Persona Builder

Use this worksheet to gather essential information and insights that will aid in creating a detailed profile of your ideal seasonal candidate. By understanding their demographics, skills, preferences, and challenges, you can tailor your seasonal staffing strategies more effectively.

For easy organization, or if you love spreadsheets, consider transferring the information to a spreadsheet and having one candidate per row and each of the below sections in a column. This format will also make it easy to sort and filter potential hires based on your highest priority criteria. 

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Use this completed worksheet as a reference to inform your seasonal hiring strategy. By having a clear understanding of your ideal candidate persona, you can tailor your recruitment efforts to attract, engage, and retain the best-fit individuals for your seasonal positions.

Crafting Your Automated Message Sequence (+ Templates)

Crafting compelling messages and implementing effective staffing text messages is crucial for engaging candidates and streamlining the seasonal hiring process.

Follow the steps in the exercise below to create a personalized automated message sequence for each stage of the seasonal hiring process.


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Step 1: Define Your Audience

Refer to your Candidate Persona Worksheet to identify specific segments of your audience, such as seasonal job seekers, and tailor messages accordingly.

Step 2: Initial Contact

The first touchpoint is about introducing your seasonal hiring campaign. It's essential to convey enthusiasm and provide a clear call to action.

This message should prompt candidates to express their interest by replying with a simple "YES."

Suggested outline:

  • Include the candidate's name for a personalized touch.
  • Ensure clarity in expressing the purpose of your message.
  • Encourage candidates to express interest by replying or clicking on a link.


"Hello [Candidate's Name], it's the start of our seasonal hiring at TEA Trash & Recycling! Based on your previous work with us, we’d like you to consider joining us again this holiday season. We have openings in various roles. If interested, reply YES to learn more."

Step 3: Response Received

Next, you must develop an automated reply for candidates expressing interest.

Candidates who express interest will receive an automated reply acknowledging their interest and directing them to specific roles available. This step helps you gather information about preferences and guide prospects through the initial selection process.

Suggested outline: 

  • Acknowledge the candidate's interest by name.
  • Clearly present the available roles and prompt the candidate to choose.
  • Direct candidates to respond with their preferred role.


"Great, [Candidate's Name]! We have roles in [List Roles]. Reply with the role you're interested in."

Step 4: Role Selected

In this step, you will create an automated reply for candidates who choose a specific role.

After the candidate selects a preferred role, they will receive an automated reply that shares a link to the job description and application.

This step facilitates a seamless transition to the next stage, ensuring candidates receive detailed information about the role and the application process.

Suggested Outline:

  • Express gratitude using the candidate's name.
  • Share a URL for the job description.
    Let them know when they will receive more communication from you.


"Thank you for your interest in the [Selected Role], [Candidate's Name]. Here is the link to the job description and application. Once you apply, we’ll text you to let you know we’ve received your application."

Step 5: Application Received

In this step, you will develop a text template to confirm receipt of the job application. This text message assures the candidate that their application is in progress and sets the expectation of receiving further communication from the hiring team.

By creating a text template, you can quickly send your message for each application instead of having to type out an individual response each time.

Suggested outline:

  • Use the candidate's name and express appreciation.
  • Confirm receipt of the application and provide any necessary next steps.
  • Set expectations for the next phase in the hiring process.


"Dear [Candidate's Name], we've received your application for the [Selected Role]. Our team will review it and get back to you soon."

Step 6: Post-Review

Finally, it’s time to follow up with a personalized SMS message based on your review of all applications.

Send a congratulatory message to successful candidates, prompting them to schedule an interview. For all others, you can send a polite message that communicates the decision and expresses the intention to consider them for future opportunities, maintaining a positive connection.

If selected for an interview:

"Congratulations [Candidate's Name]! Your application for the [Selected Role] has been shortlisted. Please reply with a suitable date and time for the interview."

If not selected:

"Dear [Candidate's Name], thank you for your application for the [Selected Role]. While we were impressed with your skills, we have decided to move forward with other candidates. We'll keep your details on file for future opportunities."

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Other Automated Campaigns to Streamline Staffing

When it comes to seasonal staffing, there are many more ways to incorporate automated campaigns to keep potential and past candidates engaged and informed. Here are some examples:

1. Job Alerts

Keep potential candidates informed about new job openings or opportunities that match their skills and interests.

Example Text: "Receive personalized job alerts for new opportunities that match your skills. Reply YES to enroll."

2. Application Status Updates

Regularly update applicants on the status of their applications to keep them engaged and reduce uncertainty.

Example Text: "Your application for [Job Title] is under review. We'll update you on its status soon. Thank you for your patience!"

3. Interview Scheduling

Automate the process of scheduling interviews by proposing dates and times through text messages.

Example Text: "We'd like to schedule an interview for [Job Title]. Are you available on [Proposed Date] at [Proposed Time]? Reply CONFIRM to accept this meeting time or reply RESCHEDULE to suggest an alternative."

4. Onboarding Information

Provide hired applicants with essential information about their first day, including location, reporting details, and items to bring.

Example Text: "Congratulations on joining TEA Trash & Recycling! Your first-day details: [Location], [Reporting Time], [Items to Bring]. We look forward to welcoming you!"

5. Shift Reminders

For seasonal staff with irregular hours, send automated reminders about upcoming shifts to ensure timely attendance.

Example Text: "Reminder: Your shift for [Date] is approaching. Be ready to make a positive impact!"

6. Training and Development

Remind staff about required training sessions and provide necessary details to facilitate a smooth learning experience.

Example Text: "Training session alert: Join us on [Date] at [Location]. Bring your enthusiasm and questions!"

7. Employee Engagement

RBoost morale and engagement with occasional messages, including motivational quotes, company news, or shout-outs to exceptional performers

Example Text: "Training session alert: Join us on [Date] at [Location]. Bring your enthusiasm and questions!"

8. End-of-Season Thank You's

Express gratitude to all staff at the end of the season, leaving a positive impression and fostering goodwill for future engagements.

Example Text: "As the season ends, we want to express our heartfelt thanks to each of you for your dedication and hard work. We look forward to future seasons together!"

These automated campaigns contribute to a seamless and positive experience for both candidates and seasonal staff, fostering effective communication throughout the entire employment lifecycle.

Read: Six Best Practices for Texting Staffing Candidates

Tracking Success and Knowing When to Tweak Your Strategy

Successfully implementing an automated text campaign for seasonal staffing involves continuous monitoring and adjustments based on key performance indicators (KPIs). Here's how to gauge success and when to tweak your strategy:

1. Delivery Rates and Response Rates

In the staffing industry, a typical benchmark for delivery rates is around 95-98%, indicating the percentage of messages successfully delivered. For response rates, it’s a good rule of thumb to aim for about 20-30%.

Track the delivery and response rates to assess the effectiveness of your campaign. If delivery rates are consistently high but response rates are low, it may indicate a need for adjustments in your messaging or targeting.

2. Reasons for Candidate Ghosting

Understand that candidate ghosting can be relatively common, often due to various reasons such as changing priorities, finding alternative opportunities, or personal circumstances.

To minimize ghosting, ensure your messages are clear and provide valuable information. Include essential details like pay rates, expected hours, and links to job descriptions. Remind candidates why they are receiving the message, reinforcing that they signed up for job alerts.

3. Information That Encourages Response

Craft messages that are clear, concise, and directly relevant to the candidate's interests. Include key details such as pay rates, job descriptions, and expected hours to provide comprehensive information.

To catch your candidates’ attention, address them by name and use personalization to tailor messages based on their preferences.

In addition, always provide opt-out options in your messages to respect candidates' time and reduce frustration.

4. Analyzing Feedback and Metrics

Give candidates opportunities to share feedback, such as surveys or response prompts, to gather insights about their experience directly.

In addition, regularly analyze metrics related to open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to understand how candidates interact with your messages.

5. A/B Testing

Conduct A/B testing on different message formats, delivery times, or call-to-action elements. Learn from the results and iterate on your strategy accordingly.

Aim for continuous improvement, making adjustments based on performance data to optimize your automated campaigns over time.

By closely monitoring these metrics and understanding candidate behavior, you can make informed decisions to enhance the effectiveness of your automated text campaigns. Recognize that refining your strategy is an ongoing process, and staying adaptable to changing dynamics is key to sustained success in seasonal staffing.

Quiz: Are You Ready for Seasonal Hiring?

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SMS for Staffing Case Studies

In the fast-paced world of staffing, the ability to communicate quickly and effectively with potential employees is the key to filling open roles with the right talent. 

Below are a few examples of companies that have harnessed the power of Text-Em-All to completely revamp their outreach and recruitment processes.

Baker Electric, Inc. – Construction Business

Baker Electric, Inc. uses Text-Em-All to send general communications or announcements to its mobile workforce. The company has between 300 and 500 field employees who rotate through different projects according to labor needs, so communicating through the foreman isn’t always the easiest way.

“With the ability to export & upload phone numbers easily, we can always be sure we are texting only those that are actively employed,” said Konny Goff, HR Manager at Baker Electric. “No matter which project they are working on, we can send special communications to everyone.”

Hey Chef – Chef Staffing Business

Another example of a chef staffing agency that uses Text-Em-All to communicate its staffing needs is specializes in placing chefs, servers, and bartenders in vacation homes for dining experiences that are personal, distinctive, and effortless. The company has a talent pool of over 50 culinary professionals.

“When job assignments become available, I used to pick up the phone and start calling people. It took too much time from my day to call someone, leave a voice mail, get their call back, hear their voice mail, and then call them again to confirm they wanted a job. Then, one of my friends who's an administrator of a church told me about Text-Em-All!” Holly Verbeck, the CFO of said. “We set up Text-Em-All in about 20 minutes. And then, VOILA!! I could send out job openings and get replies in a fraction of the time...actually, a fraction of a fraction of the time! This service cut my workload by 90%!”