I have a confession to make. I’ve been trolling job boards.

It’s not what you think. I wasn’t there to spy on competitive talent recruiting solutions. I was the talent. And I was looking for a great job. Can I be blunt for a minute? The experience stunk.

After endless uploads of my resume and completing pages and pages of online applications, nothing happened. Nada. Zilch. It was if I’d dropped a handful of rocks into a black hole, and they never hit bottom. Not one. This at a time when the country has 7 million jobs and not enough job seekers to fill them.

Before you question the quality of my resume, I’m now gainfully employed by WorkHere, a talent acquisition company whose geo-fenced recruiting platform is fast gaining converts among workers and employers. But there’s more to WorkHere than hyperlocal recruiting. The company has mastered the art and tech of SMS chat, with a novel approach that connects a live chat team member with a job-seeker within 60 seconds of clicking the chat request. This lightning-fast, black hole busting response increases seeker-to-applicant conversion by a whopping 12+ times (26%) over the conversion rate of traditional job boards of 2%.

So what is it about WorkHere’s live chats that capture the attention of casual job-seekers? 

First out of the box is that it’s just so refreshingly different to get a nearly instantaneous response in a world where job seekers feel like they’re in solitary confinement. Heck, most people who click WorkHere’s chat button are still reading through the job description when the live chat box appears.

Next is something WorkHere likes to call “Becca versus the Bots” after the company’s first official chat team member. Becca and her colleagues are real, live people, dedicated to connecting people to employers and careers. Chatting with Becca about a job is like chatting with your BFF, except Becca does a lot more listening than a BFF to get to know individual job-seekers. 

It’s a purposeful strategy that enables the WorkHere chat team to establish personal relationships with job seekers while making the first impression of the employer’s brand a positive one. As part of the initial conversation, the chat team walks through preliminary screening questions of the client employer. If the person is a good fit, the chat team moves them into the employer’s talent pipeline. If not, they’re empowered to suggest other positions that may be a better fit. Finally, when closing a conversation, the chat team member sets expectations on if the job seeker is a great candidate for the position and when they might hear something from the employer — no more black hole.

Would an automated chatbot have the capacity to do this? Probably not. But I’m leaving out another major benefit of the WorkHere live chat platform.

The chats are via SMS – aka text messaging – on WorkHere’s proprietary chat platform that converts web chats into SMS. There are several reasons for this. First, people prefer text and/or instant messaging because of ease and immediacy. According to Pew Research, 97% of smartphone owners text, and 98% of texts are read within the first ten minutes of receipt. This is true, regardless of age. By comparison, phone calls are perceived as too invasive while emails are seen as slow and cumbersome. Thus it’s good business to us the platform of preference.

Here’s another reason: webchats die when the job-seeker browses away from the website. With WorkHere’s SMS chat platform, conversations and the relationships they launch are preserved. This makes it easy to follow-ups with job seekers as in, “Hey, did company A’s recruiter set up an interview with you? Yes? Congratulations!” or “No? Let me send them a reminder for you.” Additional follow-ups can be scheduled at predetermined intervals.

Rather than seeing the live chat as invasive, most job seekers appreciate the fact that someone is taking a personal interest in their job search and application process. They, too, like the fact that the conversation can be ongoing. In fact, one job-seeker who had scored an interview and then couldn’t find the right location for her appointment actually texted WorkHere asking for help. The chat team was able to reach the employer, who located the lost candidate and get her to the interview. If WorkHere hadn’t achieved such a high level of engagement with the job seeker through the live chat, this never would have happened. 

See how WorkHere obliterates the black hole?

At this time, no other recruiting platform offers a live SMS chat feature like that of WorkHere’s. It truly is an industry first. Large, national employers are struggling to increase their funnels of qualified candidates are taking notice. The ability to accelerate response time, level of engagement and quality of candidates is a major advantage in the battle to recruit talent, particularly in highly competitive industries like health care, manufacturing, trucking, automotive services, and other service industries.

As for me, I’m still trolling. This time for employers that want the fastest way to engage, qualify, and ultimately hire the best people for their companies.