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Target using text messaging for mobile recruitment push

Target is using text messages to find new employees for the busy holiday shopping season as part of a test in 170 stores.

The retailer said it is testing a program that lets interested job applicants send a text message from their mobile phones to get information about seasonal positions. The goal is to make it easier and more convenient for busy guests to apply for these positions.

“While they can still apply online at or at our in-store kiosks, we’re testing the texting campaign to bolster our hiring efforts in about 170 stores in 30 states nationwide,” said Eddie Baeb, a spokeswoman at Target, Minneapolis.

Applying made easy
Target hired more than 92,000 seasonal store associates nationwide last year, and is planning to hire slightly more than that this year.

The retailer has been active in the mobile space and has mobile apps as well as mobile pharmacy services and is testing instant offers.

The mobile recruitment push puts Target among the growing legions of hirers using mobile for recruitment purposes. Mobile human resources apps that give employees access to important information are also gaining traction.

The results from the Target test are promising so far, with approximately one-third of the people who text Target about a job actually following and applying for a position.

“While it’s still early in the season, we’ve been pleased by the number of texts we’re getting.” Mr. Baeb said. “So we think our guests are appreciating the convenience.”

Signs in the stores participating in the test direct guests to text the keyword JOBS along with their email address to Target’s vanity short code TARGET.

Target responds with a text message that contains a link to the careers section of its Web site.

On the site, candidates can find information about seasonal positions and apply for them.

Target also sends a follow-up email.

“We understand that our guests and prospective team members are busy,” Mr. Baeb said.

“We’re trying to make it easier and more convenient for our busy guests to apply.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York