AI (Artificial Intelligence) in Recruiting: Do Chatbots Work?

(Cover Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash)

Among the technological advances that are influencing the world of recruiting, chatbots rank amongst the most promising. We’ll see why in this post.

First, what is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a software application designed to simulate conversation with human users. If you’re unaware, a chatbot looks something like this.

There are different kinds of chatbots, and they are used for different purposes. In this case, though, we’re concerned with recruiting.

What can a chatbot do for recruiting?

Generally, a recruiting chatbot involves a list of pre-programmed questions and answers used to gain information about prospects, and thus to qualify them. Its main functions include:

  • Segmentation
    Based on the individual chatbot programming, chatbots can segment candidates by location, role, language, etc.)
  • Engage/Communicate with prospects
    Chatbots interact with candidates automatically (as soon as they land on a specific page) and respond (almost) instantaneously to prompts.
  • Screening candidates
    Chatbots pre-qualify candidates by asking them simple questions. This seems like a small step, but it’s immensely beneficial for businesses, especially those who deal with high volumes of hires. Did you know that 75% of applications are from unqualified or irrelevant candidates?
  • Route candidates
    Chatbots can be programmed to route candidates to the appropriate personnel; in other words, sending the right information to the right people instantly.
  • Schedule interviews, meetings or calls

OK, but what are the benefits?

1) Improve the candidate experience

With chatbots, the candidates visiting your website are being engaged pro-actively (chatbots initiate conversations automatically) as opposed to passively.

This can jumpstart the application process, making it easier and quicker for candidates to communicate with you and/or apply.

It also makes the process more enjoyable for candidates; 66% of candidates are comfortable interacting with a chatbot during the recruiting process, according to a study made by Allegis Global Solutions.

In addition, because the responses are automatic, there is no more gap between submitting an application and getting a response from a recruiter.

2) Reduce bias

I hope I don’t need to convince you that we are creatures prone to error, especially when it comes to our thinking.

We are notoriously bad critical thinkers, being easily deceived by others, by ourselves and by our environment. This has been demonstrated over and over again. For example, we have a strong tendency to confirm/reinforce what we already believe (i.e. confirmation bias), which expresses itself in the way we look for, interpret, value and remember evidence. These biases operate both at the conscious and unconscious levels.

When it comes to recruiting, it’s no different. Our biases express themselves in the way we perceive, evaluate, rank and communicate with candidates. See here for specific examples of how they affect interviewing, for one.

Chatbots reduce bias because, well, they’re machines. Unlike us, chatbots aren’t affected by certain notoriously misleading factors like appearance, age, the order of evaluation, our psychological state (at the time of recruitment, screening, hiring, etc.), the choice of words, body language, and others.

By removing the potential for bias, you dramatically increase the likelihood of selecting quality candidates.

3) Save time and money

Chatbots can accomplish many recruiting tasks that are usually performed by HR staff, recruiters and/or recruitment agencies. Depending on the type and functionality of your chatbot, it can perform any of the functions listed above, which include engaging with prospects, screening candidates, routing candidates, scheduling interviews and more. These are usually the repetitive, mundane, low skill-cap tasks; the ones that sap your time and energy.

One thing to note about AI is that its aim is not to completely replace the work of humans; in fact, there will always be tasks that machines cannot accomplish, and/or that humans do better. No, the primary use of AI is to make existing processes better; to make them easier, quicker, more intelligent, less error-prone, and of higher quality.

Overall, integrating AI solutions into recruiting allows HR staff to focus on more important and interesting parts of their job, freeing them up for the highest ROI and highest impact activities.

4) Customization

The beauty about chatbots is that you can customize them.  You choose the questions and answers that will be sent to candidates as they interact with your chatbot. At any point in time, you can change the specific programming of the chatbot(s) you are using.

For example, let’s say you have a chatbot set up with a series of pre-made questions and answers you currently use on your website for recruiting. The chatbot sends you information about every single interaction it has with candidates (i.e. how much time (on average) a person spends with your chatbot, how many successful/failed conversations, where conversations failed, etc.). In this instance, you notice that many people start a conversation, but quickly leave the page (after the third question). Knowing this, you identify the problem and make changes accordingly.

In other words, you can test what’s working and what isn’t.

We specialize in helping recruiters scale their recruitment efforts through such optimizations. We’ll be releasing a mini crash course on these topics to have you able to do this for yourself. You’ll see, it’s much simpler than it sounds once you get the ball rolling.

Sources

  1. Cotton, Ben. “The Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).” HubSpot Blog, 24 Jan. 2019, hubspot.com/marketing/conversion-rate-optimization-guide.
  2. White, Caitlin. “9 Things You Should Be Doing on Your Company’s Careers Website.” LinkedIn Talent Blog, LinkedIn, 26 Oct. 2015, linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/employer-brand/2015/9-things-you-should-be-doing-on-your-companys-careers-website.
  3. Howell, Cat. “What is a Facebook Pixel – Best Explanation Ever!”. Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, March 10, 2016. Web. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5BeNCBpRNs
  4. Ho, Betty. “[Infographic] The Power of Retargeting: Travel by the Numbers.” Criteo, 14AD, https://www.criteo.co”m/insights/dynamic-retargeting-for-travel/
  5. Padychova, Zuzana. “How Page Load Time Affects Conversion Rates: 12 Case Studies [Infographic]”. Hubspot Blog, Mar 23. 2017, https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/page-load-time-conversion-rates
  6. https://www.brightedge.com/resources/research-reports/brightedge-2018-mid-year-mobile-research-roundup
  7. Spero, Jason. “How to make every mobile moment a brand-builder”. Google. September 2017.
    https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-mobile-brand-content-interaction/
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