What does a recruitment chatbot do?

Josefine Mattsson
14 September, 2020

They’re there when your e-shopping cart is not cooperating, when you’re reaching out for technical support at your go-to project management tool or when you’re trying to find answers regarding tax on your governments’ website. We’re talking about chatbots. They come in many different formats but what they all have in common is that they’re all trying to impersonate a human. Today we’ll learn about recruitment chatbots and what value they bring you as a recruiter. The recruitment chatbot holds the promise of less administrative tasks, increased speed-of-hire, lower costs as well as more quality hires. In this article you’ll get an understanding of different types of chatbots within recruitment as well as their use cases.

If you’re not already familiar with AI tools for recruiting, please become acquainted with the help of our Ultimate Guide to AI Recruiting. Whether you’re middle management, in HR or business in general, understanding this technology is of great benefit to you since it is the future of many businesses.

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How does a recruitment chatbot function?

A recruitment chatbot, also called “conversational agent” or “conversational AI”, is an artificial intelligence tool that is based on natural language processing (NPL), designed to function as a human conversation-wise but not to replace the human. They are solely tools that you can make use of in order to streamline and optimize your own workflow.

These tools are programmed to come as close as possible to responding and acting like a human would because that makes for better responses. But it’s still not completely clear exactly how important it is for the end-user to feel like as if it is speaking to a human. What the chatbot does is to ask and answer questions at the same time as it’s collecting and analyzing the information it receives from the user with the purpose of handing over a clear analysis of the data to you. Chatbots exist on different mediums and come in a variety of formats, such as:

  • Web applications
  • Text messaging
  • E-mail
  • Online chats
  • Mobile applications

For example, the text messaging chatbot is great for sending out surveys and reminders to your candidate pool. Whilst the online chats can help onboard a new employee quickly by answering the most fervent questions. This relieves pressure from you at the same time as it increases the candidates’ satisfaction. As humans we’re just now getting used to interacting with chatbots, more or less on a daily basis, which makes room for a whole new type of philosophical realm. How comfortable are we, really, with interacting with chatbots? Therefore, regarding the human-bot relationship in recruitment, the burning question is: are candidates positive to chatbots? According to a recent survey by Allegis, 58% of the candidates asked felt comfortable interacting with recruitment chatbots and AI in the early stages of the application process. Whereas 66% felt comfortable with chatbots taking care of interview scheduling and preparation. Which indicates that in early stages of the recruitment process, human interaction is not crucial for a continuous relationship between the recruiter and candidate. With this in mind, let’s move on to get a better grasp of the different use cases for recruitment chatbots.

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Recruitment chatbot use cases

You have a lot on your plate, you’re supposed to entertain passive candidates with new job-postings, screen for new candidates at the same time as you are trying to build good relationships with the most current candidates. You may be appalled by the idea to hand over any of the tasks to a bot for moral reasons, but think twice before you completely discard the idea. With bots in place you free up time to focus more on gauging competitor’s moves, strategizing to meet business goals or anything else that requires your creative thinking.

Scheduling interviews

An intelligent AI chatbot can read and understand your calendar. It checks your availability and decides on a time together with the candidate. It can also reschedule and cancel appointments.

Answering questions

Candidates normally have many questions before they move forward with a potential job. Questions regarding parental leave, flex-time, insurances etc. A chatbot like this takes care of all these questions for you and can be used for every job in the pipeline. For you who works in-house as an HR manager, a neat way of eliminating having to respond to the same questions over and over again, is by implementing a chat on your company-page on Facebook. You can pick the most frequently asked questions and have them as a template within the chat, such as; “Do you have manager job openings in Seattle?” or “What are XX company values?”.

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Improving candidate satisfaction

Feeling like you’ve been seen and heard is the top criteria for great customer satisfaction in general. In today’s day and age that includes fast replies. When the job post is out and the applications start flooding your mailbox, this chatbot takes charge of answering them immediately. It could be as simple as saying; “Hi, thank you for your application, we’ll get back to you shortly” and by that letting the candidate know that the resume has been received and that you are on top of things.

The AI interview chatbot

This type of chatbot is automating the top-of-funnel recruiting tasks such as candidate pre-qualification and screening. To learn more about screening as a whole, please read our article Why you should be using AI resume screening in your recruitment . There are, as you know, many layers to a screening process and AI can be used in almost every one, however, the AI interview chatbot is extra interesting because of how quickly it can shortlist the top talents. The AI interview chatbot is initiated after a first parsing has been done. The selected few go through with this interview before they meet the recruiter. During the interview the chatbot asks questions related to previous work experience, educational background and personality. If the candidate has stated that she knows Russian, the chatbot can run a linguistic test to estimate how fluent she is. It can also test programming and mathematical skills. An advanced AI chatbot can also take into account how suitable the candidate is for the company in terms of personality traits. In order for that to work, the AI has to have been fed data consisting of the other employees most prominent traits. When all interviews have been completed, the recruiter receives a list of the most eligible candidates and with it a concise rundown of the statistical reasoning behind why it has picked those candidates.

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Chatbot concerns

Working with AI chatbots can come with a couple of concerns. How can you ensure that the results you are provided with from the AI interview chatbot are correct? And what if the scheduling chatbot bugs and you miss an appointment? The human-bot relationship definitely encourages us to let go of control needs and forces us to think of trust in a new way. But when you think about it, we’re already quite good at relying on tech. We trust our phones as we would a friend. We put our work performance in the hands of a functioning computer. Therefore, when it comes to chatbots, even though they’re rather new players on the arena, the recipe is; to trust them with a pinch of scepticism. Meaning, you’re working with people and the relationships you build with them, of course, trumps working with any type of tech that might negatively impact that relationship. Therefore, when you receive the results from the interview chatbot, take an extra look at the candidates. Perhaps one of them sent an email that sparked your interest more than the others did, but the chatbot decided not to shortlist them. Point being and as always when it comes to AI, the AI is there to support, streamline and give suggestions. Your intuitive human knowledge is, and always will be, better than an AI at understanding humans.

Josefine Mattsson
14 September, 2020

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