I was contacted over the phone by a recruiter about a position. I did the typical phone screening process and he asked me if I had questions to send him a text message directly.

I have his email address as well but he seemed like he wanted me to text him instead. I'm afraid if I email him I might get a response back but also feel send texts to a recruiter seems a little unprofessional.

Advice on this strange predicament?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Dukeling, Masked Man, Draken, gnat, JasonJ Oct 13 '17 at 12:41

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    Why is sending text message unprofessional? – Masked Man Oct 13 '17 at 0:46
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    Texting is professional (assuming you both have an unlimited plan). Texts get seen right away. Texts are usually short and to the point. Plus, if you flake on an appointment, it's better you text him right away than sending him an email that he may only read at the end of the day. If you have a list of questions that can wait, you can always email him. But if you need to contact him quickly, send a text. Personally, I tell people to text me as well because I prefer texts instead of phone calls. Because I am usually indisposed, but I hate checking my voicemail, I prefer reading texts instead. – Stephan Branczyk Oct 13 '17 at 8:30
  • Is the issue that you don't have an unlimited plan? Or don't have a cell phone with SMS? If you don't, you can always create yourself a free Google Voice account (or something similar in your country that would allow you to text for free). Because if there is a predicament, I just don't see it. – Stephan Branczyk Oct 13 '17 at 8:36
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    "I'm afraid if I email him I might get a response back" What? That is typically how email works – RJFalconer Oct 13 '17 at 9:34
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    My problem with texts is that if I have a detailed question, it's harder to give an answer over texts. I have called before and he did not answer. I did some digging and found that he works for a recruiting firm and filling a contract position for one of their clients. The more I researched, the more I'm leaning towards declining as there's basically no benefits to speak of. – Noah4343 Oct 13 '17 at 12:50

As @Dukeling mentioned in his comment, if the recruiter asked you to send a text message, that is what you should do.

There are a number of possible reasons that he might have suggested this:

  1. Many people have their telephones with them at all times, but may not have immediate access to their email accounts. I rarely check my email on the weekends, for example, but since I have my phone with me all the time, I always know when I have received a text message.
  2. Many younger people I know are much less attentive to their email accounts. Both of my children are currently in college, and neither of them checks their email accounts regularly. If I want to be sure they see a message I send them, I will send them a text message, not an email.
  3. Cell phone data plans (at least here in the US) are more expensive than text messaging. It may be that he has a limited data plan, but unlimited text messaging, and so prefers to receive a text.
  4. Many employers in the US have a policy against using employer-provided equipment (such as a computer) for personal reasons. And, many companies regularly monitor email sent via their internet connection (whether the email is sent from an professional or personal email account). At best, it can be ethically challenging to use a current employers equipment to seek a new job--and at worst, it could lead to being fired. Sending or receiving a text message, particularly if you are using a personal cell phone, not one provided by your employer, bypasses any of these ethical/legal issues.

Email is generally considered more asynchronous than text. Generally an SMS message is picked up immediately, or at least very rapidly, as most individuals keep their phones with them

Email may not be picked up until they reach a computer. And depending on the vagaries of email systems, may go astray altogether or end up in a spam bin.

I'd suggest they want to be able to respond quickly to you.

Not very strange at all.


Texting is a fairly mainstream method of communication and has been for nearly two decades now, it's not like he's asking you to communicate via singing telegram or carrier pigeon.

As both magerber and Rory Alsop point out it allows for a good degree of immediacy and sureity of delivery while remaining asynchronous enough to allow him time to get the answers to any questions you have without playing phone tennis.

So there's nothing unprofessional about communicating via text with a recruiter when that is their preferred method, what would be unprofessional would be to ignore his preferences.

  • you might think that I would not – Neuromancer Oct 13 '17 at 10:08

I find it very strange that the existing answers don't find communication over text with a recruiter to be strange or problematic. I like to have an easy access to past communications. Texting, in my experiences, doesn't make it easy to handle searching messages. Longer messages are also harder to manage. Unless you use Google Voice or your carrier provides a service, they are also limited to access on your phone and could even be lost if you replace your device and don't move them over.

I'm not sure I would call texting "unprofessional". Recruiters and interviewers have given me their cell phone numbers and told me I could text them. It has a place - if something comes up on the trip to an interview or to let them know that you've arrived (especially if the company doesn't have a receptionist or front desk). But it's not the most robust or reliable method of communication.

If, for some reason, you don't feel comfortable communicating over text with your recruiter, you should let them know and why. Personally, I would prefer email communication (with phone calls when necessary) for the reasons I outlined above. If the recruiter isn't able or willing to make such a simple accommodation, that speaks volumes about the recruiter (and if the recruiter is working specifically for a company, the company itself).

  • It is often more robust than email, and much more accessible. – Rory Alsop Oct 13 '17 at 16:04
  • @RoryAlsop How is texting more robust or accessible than email? Emails can support longer messages, usually including formatting, attachments. They are also available on both mobile devices and computers and aren't tied to a specific device. Emails are far, far more robust and accessible than emails by just about every definition, especially in today's world where most people have a smart device (and I would expect recruiters to have one). – Thomas Owens Oct 13 '17 at 16:23
  • I feel the opposite is true for those statements. email is unreliable in many and email on mobiles is not always possible, but I always have my mobile available to receive texts. I may not be able to receive emails until I get home - I certainly wouldn't want a recruiter to send to my work email. – Rory Alsop Oct 13 '17 at 16:34
  • Also, formatting in emails is one of the things I dislike most about them. Text only is my preferred option for non verbal communication, with email for sending attachments. – Rory Alsop Oct 13 '17 at 16:36

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