HR Chatbots: Employing AI to Hire Better and Faster
If you think it will be many years before robots begin to play a dominant role in recruiting, think again.
Although the use of chatbots in recruitment is widely reported, you may not be aware that chatbots (automatic virtual interlocutors) have been successfully used for ten years in one of the narrow aspects of recruiting, namely to answer questions from potential applicants regarding a vacancy.
In just a few years, the HR sector has come a long way in automation, which greatly facilitated personnel management tasks, accelerated processes, and increased labor productivity. Recruitment chatbots help you manage finances, workflow, coordination, and employee interaction.
HR is working to create automated systems (using machine learning) that work with each person personally. Such systems help find people with the necessary qualifications, assess their personality and development potential within the company, and reveal employees’ abilities.
In the future, companies will increasingly leverage AI techniques to create new categories of applications that focus on productivity, sales, marketing, and security.
Recruitment is one of the promising areas for automation. The hiring process involves screening a large number of candidates. Hundreds of resumes are often turned in for one position, many of which are rejected after the initial screening based on a resume review and additional questions. This process takes up a significant portion of the recruiters’ time.
Bots can save time for recruiters and candidates for a scheduled interview – HR screening and review by the hiring manager takes 60% of the time from the selection process for a particular candidate. Bots work around the clock and with a large number of tasks simultaneously, and resume screening begins immediately after submission, in real-time.
For years, organizations have tried to improve productivity by hiring workers whose knowledge and the most successful employees have replicated experience. Now the analytical capabilities of HR chatbots and software provide a clearer picture of the hidden potential of candidates.
What Are Recruitment Chatbots?
Chatbots are bots based on artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language recognition (NLP) technologies that, in text communication (usually in familiar messengers such as Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, etc.), help people solve specific problems: order a pizza, check the weather forecast, or buy glasses, for instance.
There are more and more things that can be done without leaving the messenger.
A virtual recruiter is a service that works with potential candidates for a vacant position: it interrogates a candidate for a job using a pre-compiled questionnaire, answers his questions about working conditions in the company. Chatbots can be rule-based or AI-powered. Rule-based bots use keywords.
They work with tree-like menus that you can personalize according to your needs.
The West’s trend came from the East: in China, online trade within messengers has long been developed. But it is in Silicon Valley that tech companies are actively trying to create bots to automate a wide variety of operations. McKinsey analysts are seriously calculating how many billions of dollars in salaries chatbots can save the American economy.
The recruitment chatbot selects candidates for vacant positions in the company through questionnaires around the clock. He takes over the initial survey and provides the necessary and useful information to newcomers about the company, freeing up a lot of time for HR employees.
The “robodemic” has not spared recruiting either. California-based headhunting company FirstJob unveiled Miyu’s chatbot in 2016, which then already helped automate up to 75% of the recruiting process. The bot communicates with the candidate, clarifies his skills, and answers critical questions about the vacancy and the company as a whole.
After responding to a vacancy, the chatbot notifies the candidate through instant messengers or SMS about his resume stages, inviting him for an interview. The mission is not limited to communication with candidates – after the acceptance of resumes and initial interviews are completed, the bot provides recruiters with a rating of applicants, weighing various factors based on their resumes and communication.
Now such bots are being tested behind closed doors by several companies, and the companies do not tell the public about their work results. Nevertheless, the developers believe that effectiveness can be judged already.
How will Recruiting Chatbots Change Hiring in 2020?
The primary HR trend in 2020 is the transition from quantity to quality. There is a growing market demand for platforms that improve each employee’s quality, productivity, competence, and dedication.
Personnel control systems, performance evaluation, salary and bonus calculation, qualification tests, interviews, and hiring are carried out using online services, increasing employee productivity, and greatly simplifying the work in general.
The bot’s scope is not limited only to hiring: it can inform new employees about company news, provide links to instructions, show training videos, and quickly receive feedback.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the available scenarios using the example of successful cases from two large retailers.
A chatbot is not just an interactive assistant. Rather, it is a universal employee who can work 24/7 all 365 days a year, promptly processing questionnaires, responding to candidates’ requests at any time, structuring the information received in the database, and analyzing and ranking it in terms of compliance with the selection criteria.
You can integrate a chatbot almost anywhere: in the vacancies themselves on job search sites, emails, SMS-mailings, advertising banners, and in social networks and instant messengers. The latter plays an essential role in attracting young employees since this is the most convenient source of information and a way of communication.
Even though bots in HR are most often used in the stages of attracting and selecting new employees, they turn out to be a useful tool for further optimizing internal work with specialists. The adaptation of new employees, involvement in the company’s life, the development of corporate culture, and care for each team member are no less critical and costly in terms of labor intensity than recruiting.
Chatbots know how to communicate with employees and interact with programs for personnel management. They help beginners with paperwork, work instructions, and procedures. Often, companies “sew” the workplace location into the bot: this is how new employees get to know the team.
With the help of a bot, you can conduct automated employee polls, receiving results immediately in digital form. This is very convenient since HR specialists usually spend a lot of time collecting and manually processing the results.
Thanks to the automated method of collecting and analyzing data, management receives prompt feedback from employees. If problems arise, AI solves them before the employee is going to write a letter of resignation. Companies often use chatbots to simplify workflow: employees can request the required application forms in two clicks without the involvement of HR specialists.
The bot can take on the task of training a newly hired employee, advising him on all issues of interest, taking a tour of the store, and providing background information about the company, colleagues, and work schedule.
How Successful Is Using AI-based Tools in Recruiting?
Artificial intelligence does not take lunch or sleep breaks and communicates with job seekers and many HR professionals. Effective recruitment is when motivated and qualified employees come to the company.
Most of all, today’s professionals are sought in large businesses, especially in the trade and banking sectors. And here, you cannot do without HR (personnel department) automation because it reduces the workload on recruiters, simplifies the hiring process, and allows you to select the most suitable candidates for face-to-face interviews.
Personnel managers are no longer engaged in endless search and screening of initially inappropriate resumes but devote more time to the selection of competent employees. This is especially important when there is a search, for example, for the position of a middle manager (or head of a department).
Recruitment is one of the promising areas for automation. The hiring process involves screening a large number of candidates. There are often hundreds of resumes per position, many of which will be discarded after the initial screening based on a resume review and possibly a few additional questions.
This process takes up a significant portion of the recruiters’ time and is the simplest part of their job; recruiters’ time would be better spent working with the right candidates. There are many everyday tasks for recruiters where decisions are based on the same information in a known context – collecting missing information about the candidate, checking compliance with the requirements specified in the resume, background check of candidates, etc. It is quite logical to give them to the robot.
The larger the company, the more automated the selection of employees will be. Trade networks began to use the robotic force for hiring personnel earlier than others. New sales points open very often, and employees in stores rarely work in one place for a long time.
The HR department chronically lacks the resources to recruit employees quickly without making mistakes in choosing. There is no time for creative long-term recruiting (time = money, especially in trade). And then systems and automation tools for mass selection come to the rescue.
It was retail chains that were the first to prove that artificial intelligence copes with filling vacancies much faster than a person: the algorithm recruits new employees. It conducts a basic sorting of candidates by the level of professionalism, and the bot performs initial interviews.
Bots can save time for recruiters and candidates – according to iCMS statistics, HR screening and review by the hiring manager take 60% of the time from the selection process for a particular candidate.
Bots work around the clock and with a large number of tasks simultaneously, which means that resume screening begins immediately after submission, in real-time. Another problem they can solve is “no responses”: up to 85% of resumes do not receive any employer response.
Another role of automated systems in HR is the introduction of voice assistants. Alexa and Siri have long and firmly entered the home life, showing their practicality, usability, and versatility. Within HR, similar programs will increasingly be used to reduce workload and speed up employee performance.
These voice-guided programs are most beneficial in companies with low-skilled workers. Instead of going to the terminals and entering commands (which requires additional training), employees can “talk” to the local network through a standard voice interface. Artificial intelligence bots use natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning.
AI and NLP capabilities are more beneficial in the long run as they learn from every person they interact with. However, they are more difficult to create and require programming skills as well as UI / UX design experience. Rule-based and AI-driven chatbots for recruiting help HR professionals communicate with job seekers and employees, and they also complete many time-consuming and energy-intensive tasks.
According to a study by Juniper Research, the use of artificial intelligence can save businesses up to $8 billion a year by 2022. It is also possible to optimize financial and labor costs through technology in the work of HR.
This will be especially beneficial for companies with a large staff. Chatbots have already become an HR sensation, especially in the recruiting space. The US Army (SGT START), Georgia State University, and others are already using their chatbots for recruiting.
The use of Q&A chatbots provides a huge number of benefits (with a small number of disadvantages). Some positive aspects include:
- A larger volume of application completion rate – prompt responses keep potential applicants interested longer. The result will be an increased number of applicants who meet the application form completely.
- Higher quality of candidates. The most qualified candidates (those with many job offers) usually need more information before deciding if they want to fill in an application form. As such, by providing detailed answers to their questions, the chatbot will encourage many of these in-demand candidates to fill out your form eventually. As the percentage of such in-demand candidates grows in the total mass, the candidates’ quality grows. And if there is an opportunity to choose from better quality candidates, the same quality of recruiting will undoubtedly improve as well.
- A positive experience of interaction with your company – of course, you should not disappoint the applicants at any stage, but this is especially important at the very beginning when they first visit your site. Not being able to get the answers they need quickly will not only turn them off but most likely encourage them to advise their friends not to waste their time contacting your firm.
- Accurate and complete answers help increase decision-making speed – the answers given by the chatbot are generally entirely precise and thorough. This high degree of accuracy can reduce the need for additional questions. And without further questions, the candidate will be able to determine whether he wants to apply quickly. It is quite possible to achieve high accuracy since Applicants’ questions are usually easily predictable, and their range is very narrow. As such, there is no need to use the most advanced artificial intelligence technologies to provide a satisfactory level of answers to questions about your company in general and the job in particular.
- Personalized responses have a high degree of impact. As a result of the development of artificial intelligence systems, technologies for constructing dialogues, and computer systems’ ability to self-study, the answers have become, to a certain extent, very personal and adapted to the requirements of a concrete user. This process of personalization is more likely to result in responses that meet the applicant’s expectations and substantially impact them. But the standard answers, in this case, are unlikely to work.
- Multimedia capabilities. A chatbot is able to answer questions in various ways – for instance, using voice and text, and, in some cases, it can recommend watching a video.
- They are maintaining dialogue – as opposed to mechanical consistency. The best chatbots use advanced technology that makes automatic replies look like cues in conversation. This quality is incredibly valuable when the applicant is wary of the prospect of “talking to a robot.”
- Long working hours – chatbots for recruiting work 24/7, which is critical in today’s global world.
- They do what real recruiters cannot – there is simply no competitive and affordable alternative to chatbots. Obviously, it is too expensive to keep employees who work 24/7. Plus, fortunately, chatbots can have the ability to comprehend and reply to questions in different languages. In a multinational company, you simply cannot afford to have as many multilingual translators as you need to get the job done by the chatbots. If, however, the chatbot reaches the limit of its dialogue capabilities, you always have the option of transferring the applicant directly to a live employee.
- They free up recruiters’ time – Using chatbots that answer hundreds of questions a day means recruiters don’t have to waste time answering job seekers or receiving calls from potential candidates. As a result, chatbots free up valuable employee time for more critical tasks.
- Mobility – HR chatbots are available to anyone with a mobile phone.
- No need to be a technology expert – you can rent chatbots every month from a developer who will also provide technical support and training. The total cost will most likely be less than half the cost of maintaining one living employee.
- You do not have to indicate that you are using the robot – it is not necessary. However, you have the option to inform the applicant that he is communicating with the robot. And if you are trying to attract technicians, this innovative use of technology can really impress them.
The Top 10 Best Recruiting and HR Chatbots
Each company or organization has its own needs and requirements to meet its necessary business goals. “Talenteria, for example – one of One Circle close collaborators, has made a list of the ten best recruiting and HR chatbots, based on thousands of user reviews on GetApp
How to Build а Recruiting and HR Chatbot
To make the most of the worth of a chatbot, you have to tailor it to your business/organization’s needs. As an example, we will go through a step-by-step of setting up an HR chatbot for Facebook:
- Turn on automatic replies. This way, the response will vary for each incoming message or question, simulating the feeling that you’re speaking to a real person, making the candidate feel much more comfortable than knowing they’re talking to a machine.
- There is an especially devoted menu for adding different criteria by which a potential future employee is selected. Here it would be best to establish essential keywords for you as a recruiter, including the level of education, professional experience, and skillset.
- Now is the time to add a survey or feedback form to the chatbot because it will help get out of the way unsuitable candidates and enhance HR managers’ work. Creating a questionnaire means that your recruiters will receive resumes only from the very best (suitable) potential employees for the specific position, making their job easier and significantly improving the entire organization’s quality.
- A recruitment chatbot can be set up in such a way as to refer to all tricky questions that the bot can’t answer itself to a human operator. This is a handy tool if a person has more personal, in-detail queries about a job.
- You can make sure that a suitable candidate is immediately displayed on the recruiter’s monitor and available for processing, so there is no need to waste extra time.
- Finally, you can monitor the recruiter’s integrity and be fully confident that not a single candidate is left without due attention.
A chatbot is an opportunity to order goods and services in messengers at the expense of teams. In this case, you do not communicate with a person, but you’re instead using commands in an automated system.
This is very convenient since you do not depend on the employment and response rate of the employee, working / non-working hours.
We suggest making this one-time investment from which your company will benefit immensely.
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