You already know what a chatbot is—well, maybe.
Let me guess. You think it’s that annoying bubble that pops up in the corner of a website you just loaded, asking if you have any questions about the services you haven’t had a chance to read about yet? Like the salesperson who leaps in front of your face before the front door of the store has even closed behind you.
That’s one (wrong) way to use a chatbot. We do things a little differently (ok, a lot differently) in the world of recruiting chatbots, because we’re not aiming to make aggressive sales. We’re actually using these AI-powered tools to enable more (and better) human connections.
In 2018, the use of recruiting chatbots has grown and there are more vendors in the space than ever before. The reason for that is simple: recruiting chatbots offer hiring companies a lot of benefits, ranging from relieving human recruiters of menial tasks to increasing conversions from sourcing efforts. And we’ve barely scratched the surface of what these AI-powered tools can do for us. In 2019 and beyond, we predict chatbots will become even more prevalent in the recruiting space, as well as more sophisticated.
How does a recruiting chatbot actually work?
Most of us are familiar with what happens when a human (you) interacts with a chatbot, but you probably don’t think much about what’s happening behind the scenes. Without getting too technical, let me give you a quick explanation of how recruiting chatbots work.
When information comes in through text the recruiting chatbot will take this input and the first thing it will try to do is categorize the components. For example, let’s say a user interacting with a chatbot types “Hi, my name is Melissa.” In this simple example, the chatbot would process this as a greeting (from the word “Hi”) and an introduction (“Melissa” which is a name).
After categorization, the chatbot must make a decision about how to respond. The decision is really based on how the chatbot is programmed to respond and the programming is based on the categorization of the inputs. If the chatbot is programmed to match a greeting with a greeting then in our previous example, the recruiting chatbot might say “Hi.”
This is obviously a simple example to give you a basic idea of how this works but the reality is that language is much more complex than this and relies heavily on context (the words that surround the focus word) as well as other inputs such as intent, non-verbal queues, situation, sentiment and tone.
At Brazen, we use a natural language processing framework from Google called Dialogflow. The Dialogflow framework takes its vast knowledge and expertise in interpreting and categorizing the inputs. The accuracy of the outputs are a direct result of the programming by our team to ensure that conversations between candidates and recruiters sound as natural and real as possible.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at how chatbots are used to achieve more effective sourcing and improve recruiting strategies.
How to use a recruiting chatbot
As we mentioned above, recruiting chatbots can play a big part in increasing conversions on your career page. It’s not enough to get a candidate to visit your website; you also need them to take action (i.e. complete the application). Rather than assigning a human recruiter to engage with candidates at this stage and answer every question they might have, a recruiting chatbot can respond to any number of frequently asked questions, and help save a candidate who might otherwise abandon the page.
We could describe each step, but the best way to understand how a chatbot works is to see it in action. Here is a GIF of a recruiting chatbot asking some preliminary screening questions and then routing the conversation to an actual recruiter once the job seeker passes the screening questions making sure the recruiter is only spending time with the most qualified candidates:
While those are some of the most prevalent use cases for recruiting chatbots right now, we foresee a new trend taking hold in the not-too-distant future: proactive chatbots. Perhaps as early as next year, we predict that recruiting chatbots will be able to seek passive candidates on third-party websites, like LinkedIn, and initiate conversations.
Maximizing the benefits of a recruiting chatbot
Implementing a recruiting chatbot is one thing, and that alone will set an employer apart from the crowd to some degree. Research has shown time and again that candidates in this day and age want authenticity and communication, and using a recruiting chatbot well can conveniently leap both of these goals in a single bound.
Here at Brazen, our engineering team performed testing that confirmed what we, as website users, already know: a chatbot that shows up too early can alienate a user. More specifically, we ran an A/B test so that a control group was given the option to chat with our recruiting chatbot after being on a career site for 3 seconds and a test group was given the option to chat with the recruiting chatbot after 6 seconds. The number of people that started conversations with the test group (6 seconds) was significantly greater than the control group (and for you stats nerds, it was statistically significant). By focusing on details like this, companies using recruiting chatbots can greatly improve the candidate experience, which most candidates today say is a large factor in their decision-making process.
Another huge benefit to be reaped from recruiting chatbots happens in your back office. AI-powered recruiting tools like this are able to gather data we never had visibility on in the past, particularly around when and why candidates drop off during the recruitment process. Increasingly, hiring companies can collect and make sense of this data in order to gain insights that can improve future processes. Fine tuning the recruiting process in response to actual candidate activity is a talent acquisition leader’s dream come true, and with the help of AI-powered recruiting chatbots, we’re pretty much there.
The future recruiting = innovative
With more companies turning to technology to achieve their business goals, you don’t want your organization to be left behind. Recruiting chatbots represent a smart way to improve the candidate experience and increase engagement, streamline the workload of your human recruiting team, reveal actionable insights based on real data, and enhance your employer brand in an ever-automated world.
If you have more questions about recruiting chatbots, and why your company should consider implementing the technology, find answers in Recruiting Chatbots: The Definitive Guide.
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