Technology is so intricately intertwined with human lives these days that it is difficult to imagine one without the other. It won’t be unfair to say that technology dominates our lives in ways one couldn’t have imagined earlier. With new advancements and cutting-edge innovations, technology is beginning to emulate the human mind and behaviour. Alan Turing, who is considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, once said that a computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human. With intuitive chatbots, we can safely say that the time has come. Chatbots are being used in businesses in scenarios that were hitherto unheard of. More specifically, chatbots are helping in the growth of enterprises.
Apart from their various uses in transforming businesses, chatbots have found a special place in recruitment. Hiring, which was till recently, a conservative sector, has evolved in this new age of technology. Earlier the process involved the recruiters to write job descriptions, post on job boards and interview candidates. Applicants, on the other hand, had little say in the entire process and would have to wait endlessly to hear from the recruiter. However, in recent times the power needle has taken a full 180-degree turn and how. Companies are trying hard to woo skilled candidates to build a talented workforce. As per a survey by SHRM, a staggering 83% of HR professionals said they were facing troubles in finding the right candidate.
In this scenario, when businesses are competing to attract talent, candidates expect a high level of engagement. They expect a seamless hiring process with complete transparency and regular feedback. Recruitment chatbots, coupled with AI, are supporting recruiters in improving the overall hiring scene. Let’s dig deeper to understand what recruitment chatbots are, how they work and the benefits they bring to the table.
What is recruitment chatbot?
A recruitment chatbot is an AI-powered tool that can converse like a human with the candidates. It can be defined more accurately as a conversational agent or a recruiter’s assistant. It is a software application that uses natural language processing and machine learning to understand a conversation and respond appropriately.
Here are the tasks that it can do on behalf of a recruiter.
- Greet a candidate on the company’s website and ask if the visitor is looking for any specific information.
- Ask for personal information from the applicant so that the recruiter can contact at a convenient time.
- Answer candidate queries and provide general information. The chatbot can be equipped to handle more complex queries about work-life balance, office timings etc.
- Assist in the recruitment process by asking relevant questions related to experience and interest. This can be used to pre-qualify the candidates.
- Scheduling the first round of interview.
What are the benefits of recruitment chatbots for an enterprise organisation?
Enterprise organisations have an immense scope of expansion. Needless to say, they cannot grow unless there is a corresponding growth in their workforce. This growth has to be both qualitative and quantitative for the organisation to become a market leader. This puts tremendous pressure on the HR department to recruit and retain a talented workforce.
However, it is also a fact that HR professionals find it difficult to run HR processes efficiently due to lack of resources. SHRM corroborated this in their survey report of 2016.
A recruiter’s work responsibilities include a host of activities like:
- Writing attractive and accurate job descriptions.
- Screening a vast number of applications to pin down the most qualified candidates.
- Scanning the market to find passive candidates who can perfectly fit into the open positions.
- Engaging the candidates right from the first point of interaction until they are on-boarded.
- Completing operational tasks like scheduling interviews, negotiating offers, rolling out offer letters and ensuring a smooth onboarding.
Amidst all this, the recruiter gets little time to give strategic inputs at the workplace. Moreover, candidates expect constant engagement or they may lose interest in the job. As per a study by CareerBuilder, 78% of candidates said they use their hiring experience to gauge how the company will treat them. In this scenario, one can only imagine the immense workload that recruiters get buried under.
Enterprise organisations, that at are the cusp of expansion, can benefit from chatbots in the following ways.
- Saving time – Since a recruiter is burdened with so many tasks, there may be no time to engage prospective candidates and build relationships. As per Fornstack, 55% of recruiters lose 8 hours in a week to manual and administrative tasks. Chatbots can ease this challenge by taking on several of these tasks. For instance, it can handle candidate queries and schedule interviews. They can also be customised to take preliminary interviews and qualify candidates. This can, in turn, increase the productivity of recruiters.
- Enhanced candidate experience – As per a survey by Allegis, 58% of candidates are comfortable interacting AI apps during the initial stages of the hiring process. Since the chatbot will be available 24X7, a candidate will always have “somebody” to talk to. This can drastically improve the candidate experience who regularly complain about low levels of communication.
- Reduced time to hire – The Allegis survey also found that 66% of candidates were comfortable with a chatbot scheduling their interviews. Considering this benefit, coupled with the previous one, the time to hire can be reduced drastically.
Intelligent chatbot can be developed on Impress platform that can give you several benefits along with the ones mentioned above.
What are the challenges of using recruitment chatbots?
- Language differences – People may use slangs or short forms while texting. It can become challenging to program a chatbot to understand all these variations. Impress, however, has solutions to cater to such localisation of the language.
- Lack of emotional quotient – A robotic chatbot may defeat the purpose of using them. To bring in a human context, there has to be a mix of humour and slangs for building a better connect with the candidates. Digging deeper into this issue, Impress has personalised chatbots to deliver an emotional connect.
- Unknown situations – Although chatbots can learn from their past experiences, they may still encounter unknown situations. They may not know how to respond in such circumstances and may even spoil the candidate experience. However, such occurrences may be far and few.
How are organisations using recruitment chatbots?
Impress has collaborated with esteemed organisations to develop their custom chatbots. Two such cases are illustrated below.
- JIM – DBS along with Impress developed JIM to hire wealth managers more efficiently. Short for Job Intelligence Maestro, JIM has automated a significant portion of the hiring process by reviewing applications and collecting applicants’ responses for pre-screening questions. Besides, JIM can also conduct psychometric profiling assessments for further information. The main objective was to reduce the workload of recruiters so that they can give more strategic contribution and also to fulfil the demand for a vast number of wealth managers. This initiative saw a huge positive response from the candidates where 90% of them were satisfied with its performance.
- EVA – Impress worked with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to develop EVA to assess candidates in the early stages of the application process. The colleges receive about 4000 applications every year and it would take around 470 man-hours to go through the individual write-ups. EVA has reduced this time to 2 hours and simplified the screening process
Apart from other benefits, Impress chatbot can offer further advantages like:
- Scalability – Since it is based on technology, the chatbot can be empowered to hold several simultaneous conversations. This is an outstanding feature as a human can only talk to one person at a time.
- Eliminating human bias – Hiring managers and recruiters can inadvertently bring in an element of unconscious bias in the recruitment process. Such bias can cost hugely by losing some really talented candidates. Chatbots can remove human bias and support in building a diverse and inclusive workforce.
- Real-time response – As per careerarc, 65% of applicants said they rarely or never receive any information about their application. 51% of those who did say the response takes more than a month to come their way. Chatbots can give real-time responses and resolve such alarming situations.
- Automating FAQs – Candidates hesitate to ask certain questions to a human face. However, they are more comfortable talking to a bot that they know won’t judge them. Thus chatbots can effectively handle queries about working hours, work-life balance, leadership and culture.
- Customisable – When it comes to bots, one size does not fit all. For instance, volume hiring is significantly different than niche recruitment. Impress allows you to customise your bots as per your role and organisation.
Impress has improved the hiring process considerably by achieving the following metrics*.
- 75% reduction in time to qualify for a candidate.
- 30% reduction in the cost of hire.
- 30 minutes screening process instead of 7 days.
- Increases the quality of hire by 2 times.
- 95% of candidates had a positive recruitment experience.
Recruitment chatbots, with their several advantages, are here to stay. They are fast, intuitive and can certainly support an organisation’s recruitment strategies. We are still at a nascent stage in this technology and with time, chatbots are slated to get only better.
* These metrics are based on the data collected from internal clients of Impress.