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How Chatbots Are Revolutionizing the Hiring Experience Imagine being able to apply for a job over text message in less than five minutes.

By Aida Fazylova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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It is no secret that applicants often feel burned out by the job application process, especially when 65 percent of them report never or rarely receiving any notice on their status. This lack of communication can render people dehumanized and fatigued, and it also can leave them with a negative view of these companies. Not only will that opinion prevent them from further interacting with a company, but they are likely to share their experience with others. Nearly three-quarters of candidates who have a poor application experience say that they later shared information about that experience online or with someone in their personal life.

One well-known case is when Virgin Mobile estimated that their poor recruiting process was potentially costing them $5 million annually. Luckily, as technology has improved and our understanding of the candidate experience has evolved, so has our ability to harness it to improve our recruiting pipelines.

Decreasing burnout and creating a positive experience

One of the first steps you can take to improve your hiring process is mitigating wasted time. Often, candidates can spend multiple hours applying to a single job depending on how the company sets up their process. To not hear back from an employer shows a severe lack of respect for the candidate's time.

While in a perfect world, recruiters would always be able to reply promptly, it isn't always possible with the overwhelming amount of applications some companies get for open positions. One solution many companies have added to their arsenal is the chatbot. While there are many advantages to using chatbots, an overwhelmingly popular feature is their ability to give fast and consistent feedback and status updates. One study showed that 92 percent of applicants felt the most significant advantage to chatbots was the speed of their responses and reactions.

These artificial intelligence tools often can give immediate screening feedback to a candidate. They can also be used to answer frequently asked questions, keep updating a user on their application status and assist in scheduling an interview. Many of these bots can integrate with a recruiting team's work calendar to give an applicant the ability to choose an open time slot that works best for them. These features allow for both recruiters and candidates to save an immense amount of time in the application process, as they don't have to play phone tag, recruiters don't have to sift through as many resumes and candidates don't have to fill out lengthy and repetitive application forms. These higher levels of responsiveness are also associated with up to 71 percent increases in overall application-engagement, leading to a larger pool of qualified candidates.

Related: The Rise of the Chatbots

Making the job application more accessible

Candidates often feel like they have to jump through hoops to submit an application. It isn't uncommon to hear complaints about someone customizing a resume for a job opening, and upon uploading it, immediately having to input this same information into a form. These long applications can cause more than half of candidates to feel like they have had a negative experience. Many of these application layouts are hard or even impossible to access without a computer and often are very one-dimensional in terms of accessibility. Accordingly, there has been a dramatic increase in preference for mobile- and conversation-based job applications. Rather than filling out multiple pages of forms to apply to a new role, job seekers can submit an application in minutes by answering a chatbot's questions via text messages. Indeed found that 78 percent of candidates would apply over their phones this way if they could choose. By not providing that option, you may be losing potential engagement.

Enabling a candidate to use whatever communication platform they feel comfortable with (be it text, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc.), immediately allows them to feel more at ease with the overall process. These features can also help candidates with specific needs, such as screen readers or other accessibility tools, to converse with you without issue.

Changing opinions on your company

While we have already mentioned that having a better candidate experience can increase engagement and bring in higher-value applicants, another angle to consider is how it can change the public opinion of your company. One study showed that candidates with a bad application experience are likely to take action on it. Fifty-nine percent of those interviewed said that they would tell others not to apply to the company, and 42 percent would no longer support the company's products or services. It also can lead to negative public reviews on sites like Glassdoor. On the other hand, if the candidate had a positive experience, 88 percent would be likely to tell other people to apply to the company, and 71 percent said they would be more inclined to support the company by purchasing their products and services. Additionally, 80 percent said they would attempt to apply to the company again, while 60 percent would tell others to apply.

So, what does all of this data mean? It shows that the candidate experience can have a lasting effect on your company and the association people have with it. Negative experiences can lead to dramatic implications like what Virgin Mobile saw, but positive experiences can secure you more future candidates and lifelong brand ambassadors. Having a candidate-centric mindset when designing your recruiting pipeline is essential, especially in a time where competition for top talent is fierce. By integrating new technology such as artificial intelligence, you can cut down on repetitive tasks for recruiters and allow them to focus on making human points of contact have a high impact.

Related: 4 Simple Rules to Make AI Chatbots a Force for Good

Consider reviewing your hiring pipeline. Are there ways you could make it more candidate-centric? Is it possible that you would benefit from the on-demand hiring experience that chatbots can offer? Taking a look at these factors and reviewing your recruitment system could dramatically change your engagement levels, repeat applicants and the general public opinion of your brand.

Aida Fazylova

Co-founder and CEO, XOR.ai

Aida Fazylova is the co-founder and CEO of XOR.ai, She is a mathematician-programmer and a top recruiter with over six years of experience in IT recruitment and project management. Her areas of expertise include technology, computer science, AI, recruitment and HR management.

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