Mobility

CBP job applicants sign up for text messages

text messager

SMS messages can make the federal job application process less frustrating by providing immediate updates and reminders, CBP says. (Stock image)

A six-month-old SMS text messaging program implemented to keep U.S. Customs and Border Protection in better touch with job applicants is transforming the hiring process, according to the agency’s Office of Human Resources Management.

Beginning with its entry-level Border Patrol Agent job opportunity announcements on Feb. 20 and as part of the agency’s online application process, the new system allows CBP job applicants to receive SMS text messages on their mobile device as they progress through the selection process. Of the first 1,000 applicants offered the choice, according to a June 27 statement on HRM’s web page, 343 opted to receive the messages. Applicants can choose to receive or opt out of receiving text messages at any time during the selection process by contacting CBP’s Minneapolis Hiring Center.

With the increasing popularity of mobile phones and tablets, CBP said, SMS capabilities provide the opportunity to connect with the growing number of people who actively use text messaging. CBP officials declined to detail the cost of implementing the new system, but said the agency was pleased with the investment. They stressed that SMS is more familiar to younger applicants than the phone or e-mail as their primary means of communicating, and is often given greater attention than voicemail or other electronic messages.

HRM said it has been using several pre-programmed SMS text message templates, reminding applicants of pending deadlines for required forms or documents, as well as the date and time of their upcoming medical and fitness examinations and interviews. SMS also provides the department with the capability to create and send more personalized messages when needed.

SMS text messaging, said the agency, helps promote timely responses to document deadlines, reduce the number of missed appointments, and increase applicant satisfaction with the hiring process by creating a higher sense of engagement and awareness of processing requirements. It also expects SMS use to boost applicant flow and retention in the process, allowing reductions to overall applicant processing time and costs. HRM said it is monitoring the impact of SMS and planning additional uses for text-based communication, such as providing notification of important changes in an applicant’s status.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Mon, Jul 8, 2013

What ever happened to personal responsibility and being able to complete a job application per the stated rules? Now you have to handhold a job applicant who relies on text messages to function to ensure he/she/it gets all the steps done correctly? Wonder, if they get hired, will they also need periodic reminders to get the job done correctly too?

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group