In the world of recruitment there has been an increasing use of chatbots, but what are they? One of the most important and challenging tasks that recruiters perform is finding the right talent from the crowd. Depending on the industry and the skill many of these talented individuals will be ‘passive’ which means that they are not actively looking for a new job. For choosing only the relevant candidates, recruiters have to:

  • create engaging copy for adverts on job portals,
  • develop compelling recruitment strategies, and most importantly,
  • perform regular follow-up actions.

All of these can be challenging for recruiters. If you think that recruiters are only tasked with talent acquisition responsibilities, then you are highly mistaken. The modern-age recruiters are actually piled up with additional responsibilities, including:

  • strategizing to meet business goals,
  • analysing competitor companies moves,
  • setting realistic yet challenging benchmarks,
  • understanding employee satisfaction levels and much more.

Performing these tasks, along with finding talented candidates, is easier said than done. There is a lot of work to do that is fairly administrative in nature and could actually be done by an assistant who takes up most of the repetitive jobs, releasing recruiters to focus on strategic and decision-related work. Tech experts realize this and aim to design the perfect saviour for recruiters, recruitment chatbots.

Recruitment Chatbots Explained

What is a recruitment chatbot exactly? Simply put, recruitment chatbots, considered as an HR Manager’s dream assistant, are basically conversational interface platforms that perform the preliminary recruitment process. These chatbots are powered with AI and NLP capabilities which make them more disruptive and powerful. Here are some of the ways chatbots are used for by Recruiters:

  • Screening candidate applications

Once candidates apply on a company or recruitment consultancy’s website, chatbots can initiate a conversation with them. While conversing with them, chatbots ask them several questions, such as work experience, previous company details, interest areas to name a few. Once the conversation is complete, chatbots evaluate the candidate for the relevancy of the vacant position. Assessing the job requirement, the conversation and CV details, the recruitment chatbot can decide whether a candidate fits the open position or not.

  • Scheduling interviews

Intelligent chatbots can access the calendar of recruiters to check for their availability. Accordingly, they can then schedule an interview date and time for relevant candidates.

  • Answering queries

Before joining any company, it is obvious that candidates will have a few queries or doubts about the job position, work environment and salary structure. Recruiters have to make time for such calls. However, with chatbots, recruiters gain some much-needed assistance. With prompt replies and instant availability, chatbots have become one of the disruptive newcomers in the tech market.

  • Improving candidate experience

To stand out, recruiters need to improve their recruitment strategy and make it more candidate-centric. The time that candidates take to send CVs and recruiters get back to them should be negligible. Chatbots can make this happen. Chatbots can get back to candidates almost instantaneously, making both applicants and recruiters satisfied on that front.

Recruitment Chatbots: The Challenges

No doubt, recruitment chatbots are an innovation that will transform the face of recruitment. These chatbots come with a series of opportunities and possibilities, having the potential to disrupt the recruitment space. However, along with incredible benefits, these chatbots open new challenges. Chatbots are no exception when it comes to technical faults and glitches. Let’s run through some of the problems recruitment chatbots may encounter.

Lack of Empathy

Though chatbots are powered with highly advanced AI, ML and NLP capabilities, they fall short while gauging candidate emotions and sentiments. Besides, these chatbots fail to understand humour. No jokes, no human touch, no empathy, no humour while talking might make the conversation less than engaging for candidates.

Sometimes, chatbots are designed with limited information about the company. If candidates ask questions that are unfathomable to chatbots, these chatbots can get confused, and they then provide irrelevant answers. Incidents like these can disappoint and frustrate candidates.

Language Barrier

Every person has a unique talking style. Slang, language and writing differ from person to person. Some might prefer abbreviations while some might just like the conversation to be formal. Sometimes, understanding the query or statement becomes difficult for chatbots.

Decision-making Capabilities

As AI-powered recruitment chatbots are meant to learn from previous conversations, they fall short in places where they have to make decisions on their own. For example, consider a situation where a chatbot asks a question like, “Do you have good knowledge about big data?” and the candidate answers “Yes, but I haven’t worked on any projects yet.” Here, the candidate states that they have sound knowledge on the concept and yet no hands-on experience. It’s obvious that big data concepts make sense to data scientists, software developers, and other such highly experienced employees. A newcomer will not be suitable for the position. A not-so-well-designed chatbot will get confused at this point, and it might schedule an interview with the newcomer, thereby making a wrong decision.

Unpredictable Candidate Replies

Humans are highly unpredictable. Some candidates might love talking with chatbots, some candidates might interact with chatbots by using abusive words, just for fun (sometimes), while some might just terminate the conversation. Dealing with such unpredictable behaviour is not an easy undertaking for chatbots.

Malicious Attacks

Think about hackers. What if these unscrupulous actors target your company’s underlying framework of chatbots? What if your chatbots are attacked, scripted and turned into an evil bot? What if these evil chatbots schedule interviews with only irrelevant candidates? Or, send abusive replies to candidates?

Having a high potential to connect with engaging and talented candidates, scheduling interviews and answering queries in real-time, recruitment chatbots have become valuable additions in the recruitment space. But at the same time, if we consider the other side of these recruitment chatbots, then the question arises. Is all the hype around recruitment chatbots worth it? Chatbots can streamline the recruitment process, reduce a recruiter’s burden and help save time in communicating with candidates. Going forward it is likely that many employers, especially in high volume recruiting industries (think retail and hospitality for example) will increasingly use chatbots to streamline their recruitment processes. For companies that attract large numbers of applications, chatbots will help recruiters respond and shortlist candidates far more quickly. This, in turn, will provide a better candidate experience for those who are often frustrated by a lack of any response from the companies that they apply online to.

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