Maximizing Candidate Engagement: The Importance of Timing in Email and SMS Communication

By Amanda Awange

At Konfir, we offer an employment verification service that utilises secure, user permissioned data sharing to verify a candidate’s employment history. This means we reach out to candidates to gain their consent in accordance with GDPR before accessing their payment data sources to provide instant verification. 

Candidate response rate refers to the percentage of candidates who respond to an SMS or Email effort, to give their consent and connect their data sources. Traditional Business hours are usually considered to be Monday through Friday, anytime from 9 am to 5 pm.

Creating trust and driving immediate response is the ultimate goal when reaching out to candidates. The question is, how can we achieve this?  Well, for starters, we took a look at the rate and time at which candidates were responding to SMS  they received during typical “business hours”, regardless of the actual time.

Initial Candidate Response Rates

What did we do about it?

In an effort to get candidates to respond to messages more promptly, we introduced a second chaser SMS and email around 2 pm on the same day, increasing the first-day response rate from 58% to 72%.

Below are candidate response rates changes in one month after introducing strategic follow-up messaging.

November: Candidate Response rates

The Results: What have we learned from sending emails and SMS to candidates at different times of the day?

Studies have shown that SMS open rates are generally higher than email open rates with text messages having a 98% open rate within the first three minutes of receipt. However, for SMS that requires actions, open rates are different from response rates. 
Open Versus Response rate: When can you get the highest open rate? For our candidates, over half of all opens occurred between 8 am and 4 pm.  SMS that was sent at 8 am were opened within 30 minutes as users commuted to work, or got ready to work from home.  However, the time they responded to the message told a different story.

Candidate Response Times

The highest response rates as seen above were during the early morning (around 9 am to 12 noon) and another spike by 3 pm triggered by the second same-day reminder.  The lowest open rates were seen on weekends and evenings


It’s a good idea to take into account holidays and other peak times when sending emails and SMS to candidates. During holiday seasons, such as Christmas or Thanksgiving, many people may be away from their inboxes or have a large volume of emails to sort through, which can make it harder for your email or SMS to stand out.

December 2022: Candidate Response Rate

This was the same case with our candidates as well, as can be seen above.  the response rate within the first 24 hours dipped in December,  from 72% to 67%. It’s essential to test additional days and times to see what works best for your specific audience and to keep an eye on your email open rates and click-through rates to make adjustments as needed

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