How Accurate Are Chatbots in Screening Job Applicants?

To the user, chatbots seem to be “intelligent” due to their informative skills. However, chatbots are only as intelligent as the underlying database. –Peter Gentsch

Are chatbots really the future of recruitment? If so, how do you use them effectively in order to generate a pool of quality talents? To answer these questions let’s understand the basics.

Hiring can be time-consuming, costly, and tedious. It also contains multiple bottlenecks that harm the candidates experience during the recruiting process. However, by making AI-powered recruiting chatbots a part of your talent acquisition and hiring process, you can achieve the following benefits: 

  • Speed up your hiring process

On average, hiring managers spend 13 hours a week sourcing candidates for a single role.  Chatbots can streamline this process, reducing your workload and expediting time-consuming admin tasks- like parsing large volumes of resumes and job applications, contacting candidates, scheduling interviews, and booking interview rooms—allowing recruiters to focus on higher-value activities.

Plus, since chatbots can communicate with candidates via text message or chat box, they can actually improve candidate response times, eliminating the need to wait hours or even days to hear back via email.  

  • Improve the quality of your hires

Chatbots can pre-screen candidates before you ever see them yourself, giving you the power to sift through dozens of candidates and increase your qualified funnel—without ever having to look at a resume, job application, or pick up the phone.

  • Generate better candidate experience

Chatbots open the lines of communication. And since chatbots can respond instantly, candidates won’t feel like they’re being ghosted or like they’re sending their resumes into a black hole. This is especially important since 49% of all job applicants will believe they didn’t get the job if they haven’t heard back within two weeks of applying.  

  • Reduce human bias

Unconscious biases can distort hiring in a number of ways. Chatbots remove this human bias by relying on conversational cues to suggest candidates that are the right match for your roles based on skills, experience, and qualifications—rather than gender, age, and race. In this way, chatbots inject objectivity into the hiring process and ensure that all candidates are being treated equally.

However, if chatbots aren’t used carefully, they can backfire, giving candidates a negative impression of your organization. To use chatbots in order to produce maximum benefits, we need to address the reliability of a chatbot during the screening process of an applicant- how accurate are they?

The accuracy of a chatbot depends upon the screening criteria.

“Screening” is a process to determine that the applicant meets the minimum basic criteria for being considered for the role. It doesn’t mean that the applicant is suitable for the role, rather it measures whether the applicant is worth assessing because they meet the basic requirements. This could include that the recruiter is looking for certain qualifications or experience for the position due to the knowledge required for it. It may also target the location of work and the amount of time that the applicant is willing to work for. 

a. Chatbots can be 100% accurate if the screening criteria are accurate and objectively defined.  

However, you can get screening requirements wrong when we start to use mental shortcuts such as heuristics. In fact, heuristics should be identified and avoided as screening criteria. This is because of the following reasons:

  • The evaluation is only as good as the people who get to do it.
  • You have to do a good deal of analysis and thinking to make sure you choose the right heuristics in the first place. If this is wrong, no matter how good the experts are, you are likely to get less than optimum results.
  • Often the problems identified are not critical (or even real in some cases).

Similar concepts apply to assessments but all the more strictly.

b. To achieve accuracy, chatbots can be coupled with assessments of skills, knowledge and work styles (or work personality).

A chatbot interview can be combined with conversational assessments or integrated third-party assessments to make them even more accurate in identifying the right candidates for the job. This adds an additional layer of evaluation on top of screening criteria. However, not all interview chatbots can do this. impress.ai’s offering is one that does.

So when do we use a chatbot in the hiring process?

Now that we’ve evaluated the pros and cons of recruiting chatbots, let’s focus on when we can use them. Chatbots can improve efficiency and productivity for a variety of recruiting functions, including:

  • Pre-screening candidate applications

Once a candidate applies to your job, a chatbot can begin asking them about their work experience, skills, interest areas, and previous companies. As the chatbot assesses applicants, it can come up with a shortlist of the top candidates to present to you.

  • Scheduling interview dates and times

Intelligent chatbots can access your calendar, check your availability, and schedule interview dates, times, and locations. This can reduce drop-off rates and help find a  time that works for both you and the candidate.

  • Answering candidate questions

Chatbots can serve as an interactive, 24/7 FAQ, there to answer a candidate’s company and role-related questions without taking up your valuable time and resources. 

How to use chatbots the right way

Here are some best practices for using recruiting chatbots to improve the hiring experience based on the benefits and limitations of its accuracy:

  1. Don’t leave out the human touch

Chatbots still require a human touch to work effectively. In fact, 95% of workers agree that technology should assist during the recruitment process, not replace it entirely. One way to keep the human element is to make sure there are other ways for the candidate to contact you throughout the process (via phone, email, etc.). If it’s hard to get in touch with an actual human, your candidates’ experience can suffer.

2. Track chatbot performance

Continually evaluate what’s working and what’s not, to gauge the success of your chatbot and help tune your system. You can use tracking KPIs to do so.

Thus, we see how incorporating recruiting chatbots along, with a little human intervention into your hiring process is a strong way to fuel your talent pipeline, find the right talent for your vacancies more quickly, and ensure that candidates feel like they’re being respected and heard. With the right decisions, a chatbot might just make your recruiting process more human.

Here’s our CEO, Sudhanshu Ahuja, sharing information on the accuracy of chatbots: https://youtu.be/In2QHdk_Qks

Curious about whether to add a chatbot to your recruiting process? Talk to our team for a free consultation today by clicking here.

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