Chatbots Are Coming to Recruiting! But Don’t Worry – It’s a Good Thing

by Matthew Ripaldi on July 11, 2017

Chatbot and recruitingI remember when chatbots were a novelty in the internet’s earliest era, a way to look up movie times or play hangman when you were bored. They were a nice distraction, but hardly an essential part of your day-to-day online routine.

But chatbots have come a long way since SmarterChild debuted on AOL Instant Messenger back in 2001. Today they’re being used in almost every industry, from e-commerce and tech to healthcare and travel. And of all the ways that chatbots are being utilized, recruiting is the one that has me most excited.

The concept of using a bot for any part of the recruiting process makes some people uncomfortable, and understandably so. After all, the face-to-face interview is a critical time for the interviewer to evaluate the candidate and the candidate to present themselves. But savvy companies are using chatbots to supplement and enhance the recruiting experience, and the benefits are wide-ranging for everyone involved.

A Chatbot’s Role in Recruiting

To understand why chatbots are beneficial, we first have to understand what they actually do.

When we look for candidates, the process is two-fold: sourcing and recruiting. Sourcing is the work that goes into finding a pool of qualified candidates for specific positions, while recruiting is the process that takes a candidate from initial contact to (hopefully) a job offer. While these are both largely manual processes, a chatbot’s strength shines during recruiting after a candidate has already been engaged.

From there, a chatbot can guide the candidate through a series of questions about their qualifications and credentials, providing information about the company and interview process, and even schedule interviews and follow-ups.

For Recruiters, Chatbots Save Time and Money

As a recruiter, so much time is spent in the initial recruiting period measuring a candidate’s basic skills and ensuring they are properly educated about the company and the role that they are applying for. This is a critical time in the process, one where the relationship between employer and potential employee first develops, but the timing is often at the mercy of both parties’ schedules.

To save time, recruiters can use chatbots to handle basic candidate QAing that is done on the candidate’s own time. The recruiter then has more time for in-depth, personal conversations with each candidate, and that time can be dedicated to more substantive questions. Chatbots also give recruiters a tool to educate their candidate on the company they’re applying for, a tool that the candidate can access even when the recruiter is out of the office or unavailable.

For Candidates, Chatbots Add Convenience and Information

In an age when technology is simplifying every aspect of our lives, the interview process has remained largely unchanged in most industries. Searching and applying for a position has become streamlined, but the process of interviewing and waiting for a company’s decision has lagged behind.

Chatbots allow for candidates to stay up-to-date on their application in real-time, rather than continuously following up with a recruiter to see if a decision has been made. These on-demand incremental updates can help keep a candidate engaged throughout the hiring process.

Chatbots can also answer basic questions about company policies, leaving candidates more informed about the position they’re applying for while saving time during the interview for questions with more qualitative answers.

Millennial candidates, in particular, are seeking this sort of all-encompassing interview experience, where they have more control over the information they’re being given and can make the most informed decision for their careers.

Looking Ahead

As chatbots become more advanced and capable, we’ll see them playing an even bigger role in recruiting across industries. Imagine a system where all of the early recruiting groundwork is laid through automated conversations, allowing candidates to move through initial screenings from the comfort of their home while allowing companies to quickly vet applicants from a technical perspective and spend more time conducting more in-depth follow-up interviews.

The result is a recruiting process that is more streamlined, more cost-effective, and more convenient. In other words, exactly what we ask for out of our technology.

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