If you have visited any website or social media recently, chances are you already know what chatbots are and maybe have interacted with one. (Have you talked to RecBot on our page?)
Chatbots were introduced in the 1960s and have gained insane popularity lately due to advancements in machine learning and natural language processing technologies. They have many uses from scheduling meetings and giving recommendations to telling jokes and acting as a virtual companion. However, the most common uses of chatbots today are customer service, sales, and marketing, and they play a major role in interaction with customers and future prospects.
Nowadays creating chatbots is easier than ever (You can even make one on Facebook Messenger). Businesses, organizations, and institutions around are already leveraging chatbots, as they make communication with people fast, they reply instantly, without making people be on hold. The benefit of being quick to reply has opened doors to many new trends, including, conversational marketing. Drift defines conversational marketing as:
"Conversational marketing is one-to-one approach to marketing that companies use to shorten their sales cycle, learn about their customers, and create a more human buying experience. Conversational marketing uses real-time messaging and intelligent bots, which allows your leads to engage with your business when it's convenient for them".
This trend is taking companies by a storm, and even Gartner analysts predict that already next year, conversational marketing will become a recognized channel of B2B and B2C customer engagement and revenue. Chatbots used in conversational marketing has helped companies create a more human buying experience, find new leads and grow sales pipeline, but what if we apply this concept and technology to recruitment?
Chatbots in Recruitment is a Win-Win!
Recruitment is a very time-consuming and stressful process for both recruiters and candidates. Recruiters spent a lot of time and energy on pre-screening, interview scheduling and answering to requests and questions from candidates. Candidates, on the other hand, spend a lot of time setting up their profile for the position, applying and waiting for recruiters to reply to their calls and messages. These pain points can be solved with one technology - chatbots.
Chatbots can easily become recruiter’s new best friends: they can increase candidate engagements and application rates, they can be used for pre-screening, automating interview scheduling and replying to messages from candidates. They can move candidates from one stage of recruiting to the next one and ask candidates questions to identify the candidates’ previous experience, skills, and suitability for the task and company culture. This way, the recruiters can build a strong candidate pool and increase their chances of getting the right hire. Automation that chatbots provide can speed up the recruitment processes and take the efficiency to the next level.
On top of that, chatbots can help companies create a delightful candidate experience, which is very important, especially in today’s war on talent. Wonderful candidate experience plays a giant role in attracting top talent and hiring the right people, yet unfortunately, so often candidates are left disappointed with the recruitment process. The biggest reason for that is the quality of communication.
We all understand that poor communication with candidates is unacceptable and leads to poor employer brand, yet far too common candidates don’t hear anything back from the recruiters for weeks since their message or application, don’t receive updates on the process and don’t get notified when being rejected. Usually, this happens because recruiters have too much on their plate and not enough time, so it is time for chatbots to step in.
With the help of chatbots, candidates can be considered for positions and be updated on the process, when the recruiter cannot personally talk to the candidate. Chatbots can assist candidates in the recruitment process, answer to their questions instantly, ask questions from the recruiters for pre-screening, and suggest other positions for candidates. Ultimately, this will make communication between applicants and the company smooth and thereby improve their candidate experience.
Some known examples
There are already some recruitment bots used by companies all over the world. For example, there is an Estonia-based job matching chatbot called MeetFrank, a chatbot recruiting assistant XOR, which schedules interviews and completes pre-screening, career bots on Facebook Messenger, and many more!
Recruitment will always be human
All in all, while we are super excited about emerging technologies, we also are aware that human touch will always be important in recruitment. According to People Analytics leader and data-driven HR expert David Green, the human touch is one of the recruitment trends for 2019. With chatbots assisting the pre-screening process and collecting information, recruiters get more time to focus on getting to know their candidates on a deeper level, creating a strong employer brand and building meaningful relationships with applicants.
There are countless ways of adding human touch in your recruitment process and making it work with the tools you use. For example, you could record a welcome video that appears at the beginning of a chat with a chatbot, ask candidates questions in a video format and leave a video thanking for applying. This adds a human touch in candidate’s conversation with a bot and helps recruiters collect information about candidates. This way recruiters and candidates get to know one another very well and have a meaningful conversation when they get to meet for an interview.
Chatbots can help hiring managers tremendously by automating certain tasks in the process, but they are NOT a silver bullet. Chatbots can be a recruiter's trusted ally by being available for candidates 24/7 and compile data for the recruiter, however, they are not omnipotent. Bots don't know everything and can't do everything, and a human recruiter must take care of the process on a larger scale. Perhaps, there is no need of creating an incredibly smart chatbot in the future anyway. After all, we are hiring people in people organizations and companies to work together with other people, so people will always be in charge of recruitment, not chatbots or any other technology.