Does it seem like you’ve been hearing about chatbots at every turn recently? They seem to be taking over every industry conversation as of late, largely in part of the advances in technology that has made these bots more human. Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, companies can now offer a chatbot experience that is (almost) as good as interacting with a live person.
What exactly is a chatbot? A chatbot is a service that uses different parameters and rules that you interact with via a chat interface. The concept of this technology isn’t new, in fact, chatbots have been used in customer services for years as a way to cut the cost of physical call centers.
According to a 2017 Forrester survey, roughly 85% of customer interactions within an enterprise will be with software robots in five years’ time and 87% of CEOs are looking to expand their workforce using AI bots.
Chatbots in Recruiting
Chatbots are slowly but surely edging their way into the recruiting world, and they are growing in popularity in relation to candidate experience. But, do they help or hurt? Like most technology, it depends on how it’s implemented and used. Similar to automated emails being used today, if your chatbot sounds like a robot and provides an impersonal response, you run the risk of losing out on qualified candidates that are turned off. But, with a chatbot fail, it could be worse. Not only can the interaction feel cold, if the parameters aren’t set up correctly, you run the risk of having the bot misinterpret the context of the applicant’s questions or answers, leading to confusion.
Think back to the start of LinkedIn recruiting or having your recruitment system send automated emails of other open positions to candidates in the system. When the timing is right and the information is accurate, magic can happen. But, when it’s not, you risk your company’s reputation with potential employees.
Let’s say you’re looking for a Sales Account Manager and the system pulls anyone that has ‘account manager’ on their resume and sends a link to the open position available. In theory, this sounds like a good idea. Except, it’s also email candidates that have been advertising account managers, marketing account managers and PR account managers, which means they aren’t the right fit and their takeaway is ‘boy, did this company get me wrong.’
The same thing can happen with chatbots. This isn’t a ‘set and forget’ technology that can be installed and then go unmonitored.
But, if set up correctly, chatbots have the power to alleviate some of the headaches and time-consuming tasks associated with the recruitment process: determining fit for roles, screening candidates and ongoing communication with candidates, etc.
This can then streamline the overall process and free up your team to focus on more meaningful activities.
On the flipside, the use of bots can help attract fresh new talent. While the technology isn’t new, per se, it’s now the trend ‘du jour’ and its use may sway millennial talent to join your team. After all, it shows that you’re on the forefront of trends and committed to a strong candidate experience.
While we may still be learning the power that chatbots may be able to bring to recruitment and candidate experience, the decision to implement should not be taken lightly. Start by examining your overall experience from a candidate’s perspective and then evaluate where the use of a bot could help streamline key points of the journey.