Candidate experience is increasingly important for companies. A lot of organizations are attempting to use technology to improve candidate experience, but the jury is still out on that overall ecosystem — technology is great for getting things to scale, but it can remove certain aspects of the uniquely human experience that candidates appreciate.
There is one major area where tech could help improve the candidate experience, though: communication.
Communication is a mess in many hiring processes. Workopolis has found that 43% of candidates never hear back from a company after one touchpoint, for example. SmashFly has even worse stats on communication within candidate experience.
This “Applicant Black Hole” problem, over time, will weaken your employer brand. If prospective employees hear from their friends and colleagues that your hiring process is generally unresponsive, some of the best candidates may simply not apply. Why bother?
Admittedly, it’s a challenge for employers to communicate well with all their candidates. There’s task work and top-of-funnel activities piling up left and right.
High-volume recruiting requires communicating with thousands of candidates, in addition to a recruiter’s normal screening functions and other duties.
How could we solve this?
How candidates feel about interacting with a chatbot
The majority of candidates are — perhaps surprisingly? — receptive to interacting with a chatbot.
In a recent survey by Allegis, 58% of candidates were comfortable interacting with AI and recruitment chatbots in the early stages of the application process. An even larger percentage – 66% – were comfortable with AI and chatbots taking care of interview scheduling and preparation.
Randstad found 82% of job seekers believe the ideal recruiter interaction is a mix between innovative technology and personal, human interaction.
Candidates are aware the process might not be human-to-human at every touchpoint, but value the chance to receive information in whatever way they can.
What a chatbot can do to help recruiters
Similar to Alexa, Siri, and Google Home, a recruitment chatbot uses machine learning and natural language processing to understand a person’s messages and know how to respond.
In real time, a recruitment bot can:
- collect information from candidates such as their resume and contact information
- ask screening questions about candidates’ experience, knowledge, and skills
- rank candidates on metrics such as qualifications, engagement, or recent activity
- answer FAQs about the job and the application process
- schedule an interview with a human recruiter
Over time, the machine learning component of the recruitment chatbot will begin to understand what it should be looking for.
A chatbot can also be deployed in various ways:
- Social media profiles
- Messaging apps
- Specific software (such as an ATS)
This information collected by the chatbot is fed into an ATS — or sent directly to a human recruiter to follow up.
A recruitment chatbot has the potential to get to scale quickly
The recruitment chatbot might become commonplace faster than we think.
The AI and natural language processing needed for a recruitment chatbot revolve around conversational content that relates to questions a candidate might ask during the recruitment process.
In other words, a recruitment chatbot doesn’t necessarily need to be able to answer broader questions like “What is the meaning of life?”
It just needs to be programmed to work within a specific set of common questions related to the job search.
In short: it can be easily deployed to deal with FAQ or status updates around a recruiting process.
The cost savings of using a recruitment chatbot
According to SHRM, the average cost of hire is $4,129 and the average time to hire is 42 days. But what if a chatbot could automate 70-80% of your top of funnel interactions?
It would dramatically lower both cost of hire and time to hire.
And remember: between 50-70% of applicants to a given role are not qualified — so if interaction with a recruitment chatbot can more quickly screen out unqualified candidates, humans can focus their efforts on building relationships with interested candidates.
The bottom line
Yes, chatbots may still be a little awkward — and it might feel like that first wave of “Is my job going to be automated?” is now arriving. But they can help solve your communication issues (to an extent) and reduce cost, so why not kick the tires on the idea?
Have you used chatbot technology for recruitment? How did it go? Let us know in the comments!