Chatbots

Here's Why Your Company Should Start Using Chatbots for Talent Acquisition

Use bots to take care of the tedious tasks of hiring, and use humans to handle the trickier ones, like cultural fit.
Here's Why Your Company Should Start Using Chatbots for Talent Acquisition
Image credit: Rawpixe | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Co-founder and CEO, XOR.ai
7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The specter of a recession and the poor economy it produces is, for now at least, not a concern in the United States. In August, Bloomberg reported that the booming economy had reached its highest point since the mid 2000s and that unemployment was -- still is -- at a historic low.

Related: These Bots Have Eyes: Why the Evolution of Visual Chatbots Is a Boon for Entrepreneurs

The unexpected side effect of this current economic boom: Companies are having trouble hiring. That's why, given the current highly competitive market, employers need to focus on improving the hiring process.

According to The Muse, the cost of a bad hire ranges between $25,000 and $50,000. Yet, lost capital is only one of the multiple detriments you'll experience from employing the wrong individual. If a business rushes the hiring process, its choice could negatively impact the business's image as well as its work environment. In response, some startups, such as Neurodata Lab, have actively tackled this work-environment issue by creating AI to analyze social behavior within the workplace.

Why AI? Existing hiring solutions are outdated, and with the constant concerns about conscious and unconscious bias in the talent acquisition sector, companies are looking to AI and machine-learning to find the best fit. Chatbots, for example, are no longer the monotonal and calculated repetitive-response tech that existed in the early 2000s, in the time of MSN Live Messenger's bot, SmarterChild

Today's much more sophisticated chatbots have the potential to reduce the repetitive task workload for talent managers, provide a user-friendly application process and improve a company’s image. Interested? Here's what you need to know.

Using chatbots to make the hiring process more efficient

On average, 60 percent of candidates drop out of the standard application process due to its complexity and length. Standard online applications, with their many multiple choice questions and long-answer questions, take roughly 40 minutes to complete. Even if the candidate manages to fill out the online form, 75 percent of applicants won’t hear back from the company, apart from a confirmation letter thanking them for their time. That faux pas hardly adds to the popularity of the company advertising the position.

Related: The Definitive Guide to Chatbots: These Bots Are Here to Serve.

Indeed, Applicant Pro has called this problem the resume black hole phenomenon, and it is the reason for the emergence of a company like Hackajob -- an unbiased hiring platform that focuses on an applicant's strengths instead of his or her CV.

Employees and staffing agencies can reduce a company's workload further still by using chatbots. Some 50 percent to 60 percent of talent managers' working hours are devoted to repetitive tasks such as screening resumes, scheduling meetings and asking the same questions over and over again.

With chatbots, when the candidate is ready to apply for a job, the bot can answer this person's common questions, such as the benefits of working with the company and any options it might offer, like foreign visa support.

Furthermore, chatbots have their own supply of questions, which they are programmed to ask. For example, they can ask whether the candidate is legal to work in the country in question and how many years of experience someone has. The process moves forward from there, providing a straightforward and user-friendly experience that applicants will typically find more efficient than one in which they must answer multiple choice questions.

If the applicant fulfills the necessary requirements, the chatbot schedules a meeting with the recruiter within minutes. This gives recruiters the chance to focus their attention on more intellectually demanding tasks.

Ensure the right hire.

Chatbots and AI can also help with predictive analytics, by gathering data about each candidate. The collected data is analyzed, and provides a prediction on candidate engagement.

Chatbots engage with the right candidate, and predict how long he or she will stay on the job market based on the skill set and the candidate's fit for the open position, among other factors. This will help keep good candidates from going to competitors.

In the United States, where the Chicago Tribune has reported that the job market has hit its record high in terms of open positions and low unemployment, it’s more important than ever to ensure your competitors don’t grab the ideal candidates first. This is especially true as candidates increasingly move to a platform like Talentify to find their ideal positions.

Employee lifetime value -- meaning how long the candidate will stay with the company and how likely the candidate is to be promoted -- is another factor that chatbots examine. Companies want to ensure that the people they hire fit the company culture, strive for growth and are happy with the work they do. Given media reports that employee turnover rates are at their highest point in 10 years, the focus is shifting toward retaining workers.

That's where chatbots come in. By gathering data on the applicants, bots can inform talent managers on who is most likely to stick around and be promoted. They do this by setting a score for an individual's relevance for a specific position, and his or her engagement level. Such data is important because losing employees costs three to six times more than it does to hire them in the first place, not even including the man hours for onboarding.

Improve your company's image.

Having a chatbot on the front end helps to increase a brand's impage, as a bot's automation component is friendly and fast and offers a self-service feel as the applicant messages the chatbot. The result is a positive candidate experience and the potential for positive word of mouth. So, building up a company’s HR brand contributes to its getting the most productive candidate.

Once candidates have positive things to say about a company, they are more likely to head to websites such as Glassdoor and leave good reviews. As its facts page states, Glassdoor contains roughly 42 million reviews and features more than 800,000 businesses. Having a good review on a website with such high traffic (over 55 million monthly visitors on mobile devices) allows a business's reputation to grow.

A strong employer brand paves the way for other future benefits. These may include making the company stand out against its competitors, increased employee productivity due to satisfaction, more media exposure and a higher retention rate. SquarePeg, for example, focuses on the traits of candidates to match them with companies that have compatible vacancies. What’s more, a LinkedIn report concluded that 75 percent of the job seekers it surveyed considered a company’s brand before even applying for a position.

In a survey conducted at XOR in partnership with IBS, the largest Eastern European RPO (recruitment processing outsourcing), 10,000 applicants were randomly picked and asked about their experience with chatbots. Of those interviewed, fully 93 percent called the chatbots an excellent experience, 6 percent said it was good and fewer than than 1 percent gave negative reports.

The classic argument against chatbots is that they are less efficient than real people. But the reality is chatbots have successfully interviewed over two million candidates in 15 different countries around the world, and major brands such as Ikea have already begun implementing them.

Related: How to Create a Facebook Messenger Chatbot For Free Without Coding

This statistic, together with satisfaction surveys, indicates that bots make the hiring process much smoother for both sides. Chatbots, then, ought to be viewed not with worry but as a tool to improve the fluidity of tedious and repetitive tasks to make businesses -- especially during  the hiring process -- operate much more efficiently.

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