I had already heard about chatbots, briefly, at the recruitment agency expo a couple of months ago and then later it came up in a social media training session. I must be honest, I didn’t exactly pay too much attention at the time, though I have recently come across a couple of articles about recruiting chatbots. So, I was intrigued to take a look at what exactly is a chatbot and how it could benefit the recruitment industry.
A chatbot, could be also known as a talkbot, Bot, chatterbot, interactive agent or Artificial Conversational Entity, is a computer program or an artificial intelligence that interact via a chat interface. These programs are often designed to simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner and they are typically used in dialog systems for various practical purposes including information acquisition and customer service. Some of the chatbots use sophisticated natural language processing systems while simpler systems scan for keywords within the input, then pull a reply with the most matching keywords or the most similar wording pattern from a database. Most chatbots can be accessed via virtual assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, via messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger or WeChat or via individual organizations’ apps and websites.
Recruiting chatbots promise to provide a solution to recruiters that takes care of a tedious part of the job like sourcing, screening applicants and scheduling interviews. They can ask candidates about their experience, answer common questions and collect all kinds of information and inquiries for a human recruiter to review by communicating with candidates in one-on-one, instant messaging conversations on platforms like Facebook Messenger and text messages. They promise to save recruiting teams time and money by analyzing CV’s and ask for clarifications, answer basic questions and even make sarcastic quips. Chatbots can add to, or substitute your traditional application form, interacting with candidates immediately to get their experience and qualifications after starting their application process. This would enable chatbots to actively remind the candidates to finish answering questions and collect incomplete information unlike a static application form. After the first contact bots can provide status updates, schedule an interview or even reject candidates instantly.
The great thing is that the chatbots augment the recruiter, they don’t replace them. Actual recruiters at KellyOCG were skeptical at the beginning but they now appreciate the fact that automation reduces low-value, repetitive work and now they can concentrate on high – value, face to face interactions with the candidate. Chatbots might be a novelty today but watch out in a few years’ time they might be the new standard.