Best Practices in HR

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Dmitry Khramtsov
  October 23, 2018

How AI chatbots are revolutionizing the recruitment industry

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It was recently hard to think about a more conservative industry than recruitment. If you applied for a job a decade ago, the application process would have consisted of writing a resume, posting it on a job board, attending interviews, followed by a stressful period of waiting for a call back from the HR Manager. Every employee went through this tedious process.


From the business side, it didn’t look much better. Organizations are constantly searching for new talent. Talented employees are even considered to be a crucial asset for a company that wants to successfully compete in the modern economy. However, it is now hard to succeed with hiring processes from the 1980’s and 1990’s. A considerable amount of time and money are spent on the search for the perfect candidate. However, there still isn’t any guarantee of success. It is also important to consider potential losses for a company, assuming they hired the wrong candidate. Another challenge is that each employee must be assessed not only from the point of their professional skills, but also their soft skills, since the modern economy requires teamwork and the ability to work effectively in a group setting.


The Internet age has brought new tools to the job market. Nevertheless, it seems like it only transferred the same old hiring process to the Internet. Instead of a paper resume, we can now create resumes in an electronic format or share our experience on LinkedIn. Instead of newspaper ads, we now have websites that are dedicated to the job search. While it simplifies the recruiting process and partially removes the hassles which came with paperwork, it still doesn’t significantly improve the process.


Old recruiting processes don’t work now

Pioneers in modern recruiting are startups who realized that companies can’t rely on old fashioned ways of hiring, especially if they want to keep up in this fast paced world. The first step was an attempt to formalize hiring processes by introducing specifically designed tests. The aim of these tests was to assess a candidate’s readiness for a specific job position. These tests ranged from generic cognitive assessments to social adaptability tests and industry specific tests, which all had the aim of selecting the most suitable candidates for a job. An example is the OMG test for sales representatives.


While these tests might be viewed as a universal solution, there are still issues with this approach. The first issue is that the test is a formalized assessment tool, which can’t be adapted to a specific candidate. All tests have distinctive features. They are domain specific and they are designed either to test soft skills, professional skills, or cognitive abilities. This approach is not flexible. It lacks the context of each hiring situation, which is usually unique for each firm. Also, many applicants find that filling out long questionnaires is not a pleasant task.


New solutions are coming

Source: goodworklabs.com

The industry today needs more flexible methods for screening and hiring new candidates. They will be context dependent and will take into account the individual traits of each candidate. The rise of AI and human-machine interaction has provided us with a solution. Recent trends have shown us that chatbots demonstrate the ability to assist humans in a wide range of applications. Therefore, the adoption of chatbots in the HR industry was just a matter of time.


How is this technology different from other time-tested recruitment methods?


Chatbots helps to uncover hidden issues

While some critics may claim that chatbots can’t replace a recruiter when it comes to interviewing candidates, there is also an advantage in human-machine dialog. Some candidates might be too shy to ask recruiters questions about their future job due to fear of being considered as incompetent or annoying. However, with a machine, it’s a different situation. The candidate may feel more relaxed, since it is a form of AI. A recruiter with 17 years of experience was surprised to learn that candidates have many questions which they never asked recruiters during interviews, but openly asked a chatbot.


Optimizing recruitment funnel

Recruitment is a multi-step process which starts by establishing initial communication. This can be done by the candidate submitting their application on a company’s job portal or by HR screening resumes on job boards and LinkedIn. By integrating an HR chatbot with an employer website, it’s possible to attract more interested candidates by engaging them in a conversation. A chatbot can also perform initial screening of candidates, by asking them about their previous experience.


Not only for startups

It may appear that chatbots are primarily suitable for hiring in dynamically developing startups. While these companies show more interest in chatbots and are more capable of adopting new technologies, chatbots are also starting to be used in more conservative industries. It has been found that industries like banking, telecommunications, and consulting need virtual recruiters the most. They have constant requirements for high-volume hiring, where they need to standardize hiring processes, save time, and reduce hiring costs. For example, DBS Bank recently implemented JIM, a virtual recruiter created by impress.ai, an AI chatbot platform for recruiters. Applying AI chatbot technology within recruitment makes it possible to reduce human bias in the screening process. Chatbots also streamline hiring processes. Every HR manager has individual traits, which makes it challenging to create a consistent interviewing process. By contrast, an AI chatbot uses one algorithm to interact with every candidate, ensuring a higher level of consistency and reduced bias during the qualification process.


Can chatbots replace HR departments?

HR specialists are still skeptical about chatbots. One of the reasons is their concern about the potential threat of chatbots replacing their jobs. However, this will not happen. AI technology cannot take over the entire job of a recruiter, it can only take over parts of the job, specifically the repetitive and mundane tasks. With other industries, where the same concerns were raised in the past, it was found that chatbots could be a threat to entry level specialists. However, for most experienced professionals, AI will be more likely to serve as a tool. It will help to reduce routine tasks and allow professionals to focus on the more important and interesting aspects of their job. The key is not to deny new technologies, but to embrace them and learn how to use them as a tool in professional activities.


Recruitment chatbots create a win-win situation

Chatbots are still a new tool in recruitment. Those who are willing to invest the time and effort to learn about new technologies will be able to have a competitive edge. Chatbots also create a win-win situation, where both candidates and HR professionals benefit. Chatbots help to eliminate the routine part of the HR job. They also make the hiring process more engaging and less stressful for the candidates. In the near future, we can expect to see more advanced chatbots appear in the market and more companies adopting this technology. With recent developments in deep learning and the increase in popularity of voice assistants, it’s also possible that there will be an evolution of text chatbots that will interact with candidates using both text and voice.


Author: Dmitry Khramtsov

Author Bio: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dpkhr/