“Man is by nature a social animal” – Aristotle
Even 2,000 years ago, Aristotle understood that we are all born social creatures. Today, we know that through evolution, those humans that were able to develop more sophisticated social skills were more likely to survive; thus, we are a product of those social experts. The ones that could empathize, collaborate and, of course, communicate, were the ones that eventually built relationships, became members of groups and tribes and passed on their genes. And those that couldn’t likely found themselves face-to-face with a tiger with no one around to help. I’ll let you follow that scene to its conclusion.
Communication is the glue that holds us together. It’s what allows us to build friendships, fall in love and even find a job. Yet unlike with finding friendships and partners, finding a job typically starts without communication.
Cue the application
Since recruiting went from offline to online, companies have been using some form of the application to begin the recruiting process. Yet, as we all know from personal experience, the application is anything but an effective way to begin communication with another individual.
It’s cold and unwelcoming.
It’s arduous and cumbersome.
It’s static and one-dimensional.
Can you imagine asking your friends to fill out applications before you agree to talk with them and consider them for a friendship?
Of course not. That’s ludicrous.
So why do so many organizations start a relationship with candidates this way?
Before we get into the reasons not to use the application to find qualified candidates (and to use conversational recruiting instead), let’s pause for a sec and discuss why organizations adopted the application.
Why organizations use applications
Before online recruiting began a couple decades ago, the process used to start with a resume from a candidate that was either mailed or dropped off in person at the organization. These resumes were reviewed by recruiters and the candidates that passed the basic qualifications were contacted (by phone) to set up a phone or in person interview.
But one of the major problems with this process was the inconsistencies in both format and information found in the resume. Sometimes critical information was missing like a phone number (how am I supposed to get ahold of you without a phone number?). Sometimes a candidate would dedicate a section to skills while another candidate would mix their skills throughout the resume making it difficult for the recruiter to identify the information necessary to fairly compare one candidate to another.
Well, with the advent of the online application, companies could ensure that they were collecting the same information from all candidates and compare apples to apples.
Need a phone number? Ask for it. Need a list of skills? Ask for it and require it.
The application also helps recruiters pre-screen and pre-qualify candidates.
Need at least 10+ year’s experience, clearance and citizenship for a particular job? Ask for it in the application and filter out those who don’t meet those requirements.
The problem with the application
Not bad. But here’s the problem with this reasoning.
The pre-qualification argument presumes that qualified candidates are applying in the first place (and they are not, as I’m sure you can attest to from experience).
And the consistency argument presumes that applications are the only way to collect consistent information which, of course, is false.
So how should we start the recruiting process? It should begin with a conversation. Here’s four reasons why conversational recruiting is the way to overcome these challenges.
I want you and four reasons why you should be using conversational recruiting
We all know that it is incredibly difficult to find and attract qualified candidates these days. The unemployment rate is hovering around 4% and candidates are in the driver’s seat. And because it is so competitive right now, employers have to go above and beyond to show the top candidates that they want them.
And asking these qualified candidates to embark on a mission to fill out an application is not the way to show you care.
Candidates are skeptical of the process. Not only is the application process long and cumbersome, there is a feeling that the resume goes into a black hole. Which many times it does.
Instead, employers should be selling to qualified candidates by offering to talk (online) just like the U.S. Army did during WWII.
In the 1940s, the U.S. Army was inviting people to come talk to Army recruiters in person. The same strategy that worked for the U.S. Army can and should be applied to today’s recruiting process. But instead of asking employers to come and chat in person, now employers have the option of inviting qualified candidates to come talk with recruiters in online conversations through conversational recruiting platforms. Accessible, convenient and easy.
Referrals are the best source for hires
The U.S. Army also relied heavily on referrals just as many employers do today. And with good reason. According to Jobvite, employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate. And while referrals only make up 7% of applications they account for 40% of all hires!
So what does this have to do with conversational recruiting?
Well, the best candidates want an inside track — someone within the company vouching for them, and the knowledge that a recruiter is passing their resume on to a hiring manager.
By offering candidates the option to chat with their recruiters in online chats, employers are giving those great candidates the fast track they are looking for. Recruiters can easily attract the most qualified candidates, engage with them through conversations, and move them down the recruiting funnel.
By starting conversations with qualified candidates earlier in the process, you turn disengaged qualified candidates into a referral.
Another benefit of adding conversational recruiting to your recruiting process is that it is much better than an application at allowing you to uncover those factors that are best at predicting employee performance.
Although it might be counterintuitive, many of the questions asked in applications, like experience and references, are very poor predictors of employee performance, according to a Schmidt, Oh and Shafers 2016 Research Report on predicting employee performance. The factors that are good at predicting employee performance are structured interviews and work samples, both of which require a recruiter or hiring manager to have an actual conversation with a candidate.
And the best part is that you can have these conversations very early on in the recruiting process through conversational recruiting platforms and recruiting chatbots. These online communication tools allow you to plan and structure your questions to candidates to allow you to consistently compare and assess candidates.
Candidates are asking to talk to your recruiters
Lastly, and maybe most importantly (at least from a candidate experience perspective), candidates are asking to talk to your recruiters. Research from a chatbot company, Paradox, found that one of the top questions their chatbots received was related to wanting to talk directly to a recruiter.
This fact shouldn’t be surprising if we think back to what we learned at the beginning of this post about how humans navigate the world. Candidates are human and humans are social by nature. It would make sense, then, that candidates would want to talk directly to your team.
Communication throughout the recruiting process is key. And that’s why setting the stage early on that your team is willing and open to having conversations with qualified candidates through chat is the best way to find and attract top candidates and make great hires.
At Brazen, our clients are unequivocally finding that they are hiring two times more candidates than those that don’t use conversational recruiting software because they understand how humans and candidates want to engage with recruiters. Namely, through conversations.
To be social is human
Aristotle made many observations about the world and although not all of them were correct (e.g. he thought that women had fewer teeth than men…) he certainly nailed the hammer on the head when he philosophized that humans are social creatures. If you’re in talent acquisition, it’s time you heed his advice and start adding conversational recruiting and chat to your recruiting process or risk your recruiting process going the way of the humans who didn’t develop social skills.
To learn more about how you can add conversational recruiting to your recruiting funnel, please click on the link below to schedule a 15 minute demo of Brazen’s conversational recruiting software. Or, check out or Definitive Guide to Recruiting Chatbots to get all your questions answered about one of the ways in which you can start a conversation with a candidate.
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