The use of artificial intelligence in recruiting is one of the most significant trends in talent acquisition. These solutions are driving candidate management and engagement in many ways, including through chatbot technology.
Chatbots have become much more advanced in the past few years, as natural language processing continues to improve. Much of the evolution is due to the improved technology that can read and respond more naturally to candidates.
Additionally, the growing popularity of products like the Amazon Echo or Google Home shows that people enjoy the convenience of chatbot technology.
Improving the Candidate Experience
As the talent landscape continues to tighten, a competitive candidate experience is essential to attract and engage the best talent. In addition, candidates have come to expect a consumer-like application and hiring experience that is similar to other interactions they’re having online and on their smartphones every day. Chatbots can help improve the candidate experience and address these challenges through their ability to interact with candidates on demand, streamlining and assisting throughout the application process on the channels candidates prefer and when they are available.
Chatbots are effective tools for candidate engagement, and they are continuously evolving to make the application process easier for the candidate. Many candidates need to complete application processes outside of normal business hours. Chatbots allow candidates to receive answers to questions immediately, at any time of day. They can also answer candidate questions on company policies, benefits or culture, and when it gets stumped, a chatbot can contact a human recruiter.
Through chatbot functionality, candidates can contact organizations around the clock.
Chatbots can also take on some tasks throughout the application process that would typically be done by recruiters over the phone or through email. Extended job application forms may feel time-consuming to job candidates. Through a chatbot, candidates can provide that same information in a conversational way that feels less daunting.
Streamlining the Process for Recruiters
Throughout the recruiting process, recruiters often take on tasks that are necessary but don’t add value for candidates. Chatbots can allow recruiters to spend more time with the strongest candidates by taking on some of the administrative tasks.
Chatbots can handle tasks like scheduling interviews. With a strong candidate experience enhanced by chatbot technology, recruiters will have a wider and stronger pool of applicants, which enables them to identify and engage with the best talent more quickly.
Additionally, one of the most significant issues facing us all is time. Chatbots can help recruiters gain more time in their days by taking on some of the time-consuming tasks that recruiters handle, like responding to simple questions, scheduling interviews and gathering basic information from candidates.
In this tight talent market, that extra time that recruiters spend with strong candidates will give employers an edge. The unemployment rate in the United States is around record low levels, so strong candidates will have several options. When a recruiter has more time to spend with those candidates, it increases the likelihood that the candidate will choose that employer.
Implementing Chatbots in your Recruiting
When rolling out chatbots in your recruiting program, it’s important to remember to strike the right balance between automated communication via chatbots and communication from a recruiter. Chatbots should be used for repeatable, automatable interactions, giving organizations the opportunity to enable recruiters to engage with best candidates in more high-value ways.
It’s important to remember that chatbots shouldn’t take on all of the candidate communication. They can automate some of the hiring processes, but candidates still need to interact with a recruiter. Studies show that candidates want an experience that includes a balanced mix of technology and human interaction – not just one or the other.
It is also important to keep in mind that simply launching a chatbot does not ensure success. Organizations need to take steps to continuously make their chatbots more attuned and responsive in order to drive successful engagements. This can take time, as well as the resources needed to understand the technology behind AI-enabled chatbots.
It’s also important to recognize that not all chatbot technology is created equal. Low-quality technology could mean that a chatbot would have a hard time answering common questions or respond inappropriately. That would harm the employer brand even more than relying on slower, more traditional communication. To make sure that the technology can effectively communicate, employers should look for a chatbot that is part of a larger technology solution that works throughout the entire application process.
For example, in Affinix™, PeopleScout’s proprietary talent technology platform, chatbot assistance is integrated within the technology stack in order to engage with and assist candidates during the application process. Through Affinix, we can integrate chatbot technology on an organization’s career page, during the interview scheduling process and to help candidates and recruiters prep for an interview, among other use cases.
Chatbots can play an essential role in creating an improved candidate experience, but the talent acquisition industry has moved well beyond using just chatbots for communication. Now, AI and machine learning are transforming the industry. Rules-based onboarding functions, candidate sourcing, interview scheduling and candidate matching are being automated to enable talent acquisition professionals to spend more time with the best candidates and on critical talent acquisition functions that involve creative and strategic thinking. In addition to these evolutions, candidates may soon interact with chatbots primarily through voice, like Siri from Apple or Alexa from Amazon, rather than through text.
While chatbots, automation and AI are fundamentally changing candidate communications, we believe that striking the right balance between personalized technology and human interaction is key to success. PeopleScout uses AI and other emerging technologies that personalize the candidate experience while also enabling our talent professionals to spend more time on critical functions. Employers should look for a talent partner with a comprehensive technology solution, where chatbots are just one piece of the puzzle.