Chatbots have come a long way since their early days of bottom-corner pop-ups that, while intriguing, provided little real value. Today’s chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence and grow smarter over time, automating tasks that once required a human to manage and filling an important customer service need for organizations.
We’re excited about the opportunities HR chatbots are creating for hiring teams, offering new ways to improve sourcing and screening while saving time, cutting costs and engaging more candidates. If you’re new to the concept, here are eight reasons to consider using chatbots for recruiting.
What Is an HR Chatbot?
At its most basic definition, a chatbot is an application that simulates human conversation in a chat-style interface. With a chatbot, a user can have a real-time, two-way interaction with a device that may provide information or answer questions.
You’ve probably used a customer service chatbot or two. They’ve become commonplace for supplementing call centers and helping users get quick answers to frequently asked questions, especially during off-peak hours. But you’ve probably also interacted with more advanced chatbots—virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are some sophisticated examples.
HR chatbots can help hiring departments tackle repetitive tasks and capture prospective candidates, freeing up human labor to focus on more analytical and creative tasks.
How Does a Chatbot Work?
The most basic chatbots follow a predefined script, where the user asks question X and the chatbot responds with answer Y. But few chatbots still follow this rudimentary architecture. Chatbot technology has evolved significantly in recent years, and most now rely on some form of machine learning to process the user’s question and decide on the best way to answer it.
While chatbots may still begin with a predefined set of data, like a list of frequently asked questions, they can now “learn” at an astounding pace. They use artificial intelligence to pull insights from past conversation logs, harness databases of information like user manuals, and use natural language processing to better understand what users are really asking. For example, natural language understanding would allow a chatbot to deduce that a user asking “will it rain today?” and “is it hot out?” are both looking for information about the weather forecast.
If all of this sounds slightly unbelievable, you’re not far off-base—the general public (and the business world) is just beginning to pull back the curtain on the many applications chatbots can have in our lives and our work. Next, we’ll talk in specifics about some of those implications for the recruiting field.
8 Reasons to Use Chatbots for Recruiting
1. Build your talent pool
HR chatbots are great for capturing candidates who are interested in your company, but who may not be ready to apply for a job just yet. Oftentimes there’s no other way for these candidates to enter your system. When they engage with your chatbot to ask a question, you can capture their email address or phone number and import them directly into your ATS for future follow up.
In this same vein, using chatbots for recruiting gives you a way to leave a conversation and pick it back up at a later date on a different channel; for example, if you receive a chatbot inquiry from a user asking about open positions but they don’t complete an application, you can follow up with an email a few days later to show them your most recent listings.
2. Give candidates 24/7 access
Candidates who are currently working a standard 9-to-5 aren’t typically job searching during normal business hours. Chatbots give them a way to have their hiring questions answered even when your recruiters are off duty, like on nights and weekends. This can help you save on labor costs while keeping downtime to a minimum.
Chatbots for recruiting even offer the capability to respond in different languages, which is ideal if you’re recruiting internationally.
3. Connect candidates directly with relevant roles
Job searching is stressful and time-consuming. Chatbots can help make the experience a little easier for candidates by connecting them with open positions that are a good fit rather than making them search through all your listings manually. This is especially useful if you’re an enterprise-level organization that has hundreds of openings across many different cities at any given time.
Saving users time and shaving a few minutes off the job search process can make the difference between whether a candidate fills out an application or slips through the cracks. Using chatbots in this way can help increase your completed application rate.
4. Build greater awareness of open positions
Not everyone who uses your chatbot will be on your site for job search purposes—in fact, the majority will probably be there for something else. Still, HR chatbots can capture the interest of users who aren’t necessarily job searching, but who might know someone who’s a good fit for a role. Chatbots are also useful for helping you connect with passive candidates who stumble upon your website and decide to take a closer look.
5. Save time by automating tasks
Perhaps the greatest direct benefit HR chatbots can offer to your hiring team is the ability to offload tedious tasks. By setting up a knowledge base on popular topics like salaries and benefits, you can use your chatbot to field and answer frequently asked questions.
Chatbots can be an amazing tool for helping you qualify candidates faster. Via a series of questions like “how many years of experience do you have?” or “do you have a bachelor’s degree?”, you can build your knowledge of a candidate and get the screening process started immediately. If a candidate meets the minimum requirements for a role, you can even opt to have your chatbot schedule an interview via syncing with your calendar, then send text alerts to remind the candidate as their designated time slot approaches.
Less labor spent on manual tasks means more time and energy your staff can spend on hands-on activities like interviewing and onboarding.
6. Gain valuable recruiting insights
After they’ve been in use for a while, HR chatbots become a treasure trove of valuable information about your recruiting audience. Based on their queries, you can find out which questions candidates are asking most frequently and identify opportunities to add more helpful information to your Careers page. Their interactions can also tell you which of your positions candidates tend to be most interested in.
If you use your chatbot for candidate screening, as we touched on in item #5, you can analyze trends to identify if an outsized number of interested candidates are falling short of your requirements. If this is the case, what are they missing? For example, if a large proportion of people interested in a technical role are being screened out because they lack a certain certification, it may be an indicator that certification isn’t truly relevant to the position or that you’re advertising the role to the wrong audience.
Finally, your chatbot is one more source from which to gather data when calculating broader recruiting metrics, like source of hire and reach for hire.
7. Improve the candidate experience
Using a chatbot for recruiting is just one more tool in your arsenal to engage candidates and make their experience with your brand a positive one. A strong candidate experience feeds into your overall recruiting success, helping strengthen metrics like time to hire and new hire retention, not to mention bolstering your employer brand in the broader candidate pool.
When you set a positive tone from the first interaction, candidates are more likely to complete the application process and have a lower chance of dropping out of the process along the way.
8. Enable multi-channel communication
Modern candidates have their attention pulled in countless directions—and so do the recruiters that work with them. It’s standard fare for a conversation that begins over email from your desk to switch to texting as you run out to grab lunch, interspersed with a Facebook message or two while you wait in line to pick up your order. The point is, recruiting no longer happens on any single channel.
HR chatbots live mainly on your website, but they can also be integrated with social media channels like Facebook, SMS messaging and even smartphone apps, helping you to provide an omnichannel experience that serves candidates on the platform that’s most convenient for them at any given moment.
Reach More of the Right Candidates with Help from 4 Corner Resources
Your recruitment strategy is made of up many moving parts—your job listings, your marketing strategies, your messaging, and much more. If just one part is out of whack, it can cause a ripple effect that leads to fewer qualified candidates and longer hiring timelines. 4 Corner Resources can you assemble all the components of a successful hiring strategy to reach a wider talent pool and hire the rit fit more often.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation with our team of recruiting experts today.