Recruiting with Chatbots - Artificial Intelligence in the Application Process

How chatbots are used in recruiting and what trends are emerging through the advent of artificial intelligence is highlighted in our recent blog article.

A chat window pops up, you are reading the message "Hello! How can I help you?" - these or similar greetings can be found more frequently on corporate websites. Behind them are chatbots that are programmed to give the visitor answers to his most burning questions as quickly as possible. The intelligent bots are constantly evolving and will be part of our daily lives in the near future.

Chatbots promise to ease the application process, especially in addressing potential candidates for vacancies. We address the question of the current areas of application, but especially the advantages and disadvantages, in our new blog post. In addition, we are highlighting other intelligent recruitment solutions and trends that are emerging through the advent of artificial intelligence.

How can I use chatbots for recruiting?

Website visitors want to get to the information they are looking for very fast - and leave the site immediately if they can not find the right content quickly. Chatbots can help here: if a bot is already integrated on the homepage, it can redirect the user to the right subpage. In the recruiting area, you could immediately inform the candidate about vacancies or, if they are interested in a job, do a short pre-qualification.

Find the suitable vacancy

Especially for larger companies with several locations and many job offers, it quickly becomes confusing for the interested candidate. Often there are no filtering options, the candidate must sift through a long list of job vacancies and decide: if there is a job matching his qualification, if that job is in a location in his area, and then in detail, if the offer is suitable. This is time consuming and tedious. For a candidate who has a large number of offers in times of a shortage of skilled workers, it is also a reason not to engage with this company any further.

Chatbots can ask candidates specific questions and on this basis offer only those jobs that are of interest to the candidate. A search that could take about 20 minutes through the website can be done within a tenth of the time. In addition to text input, modern chatbot systems also have the ability to offer buttons, images and links so that the candidate can be guided more easily. So it is very easy to offer selection lists, where the typing is reduced and the candidate can reach the goal much easier.

Automatic pre-qualification of candidates

Furthermore, chatbots are able to take over the preselection through certain questions. An example would be the question of language skills, willingness to travel or similar must-haves. Closed questions, that can be answered by the applicant with "yes" or "no", fit best for this task. Thus, depending on the chosen position, the chatbot can very simply check, on the basis of a decision tree, whether the basic prerequisites for a successful application are met. If the candidate is interested or meets certain criteria, he can immediately upload his documents via chatbot or be informed about the further application steps.

The documents usually end up in a database in which applicants are linked to jobs. Some databases already offer a percentage matching of the candidates to the open position, which should facilitate the ranking of the top candidates. Also, applicants often have the option of having access to the created profile in the database so that they can change data if necessary.

What specific advantages do chatbots have?

The constant availability, the fast forwarding to the important information - even if they are distributed on various channels - and the time savings for recruiter, speak for the use of the intelligent solution.

  • 24/7 always there for you: A big advantage of chatbots is that they are always available - 24 hours, 7 days a week. If somebody wants to get information at the weekend or after work, he is not bound to a contact person in the company. By entering the question in the chat window, he gets an immediate answer. In addition, the chatbot can convey the feeling that the company is always there for the interested party.

  • Job search made easy: By welcoming the candidate already on the start page, he no longer has to orientate himself on the company site. When entering certain keywords such as job title or place of work, the chatbot can immediately provide information about which job is currently open. This can be supplemented with filter questions to find out if the prospect fulfills the requirements for the advertised position.

  • Independent of communication channels: Chatbots are not only tied to the desktop version of the company page, but can also communicate with interested parties on the mobile view. Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger can also serve as a communication channel.

  • Reach the goal faster: Recruiters save time for initial contact, uploading the documents to a database and/or the preselection. Via filter questions, the appliciant is already informed whether he meets the requirements of the job.

  • One for all: A bot can simultaneously communicate with multiple prospects and be retrieved simultaneously by multiple candidates.

What do you have to consider?

Chatbots are a very young technology and artificial intelligence has its limits. That's why there are one or the other challenges that you have to face.

  • The right wording: When it comes to looking for a job, the candidates have different ways of articulating themselves depending on their educational background. Spelling may also be an issue: the bot recognizes simple spelling errors immediately, but more complex errors make it much harder to understand the input. In addition, it is not always easy to properly address a candidate: a candidate for leadership wants to be more formally addressed than a school graduate looking for a training position. What a person would intuitively do right here has to be "taught" a chatbot - and that is complex.
  • Language has many facets: In all languages of the world, there are a multitude of possible answers to a certain question that a chatbot has to interpret. At the beginning, he can only do what the programmers have "taught" him. Over time, Chatbot learns and create a continuous process of improvement.
  • Personal fits of the candidates: Technical questions that a candidate answers can already be interpreted very well. But when it comes to soft skills, a bot quickly reaches its limits. At this point, the recruiters are still in demand, who can check in personal interviews, whether the candidate also fits into the team of the company.

Are there other intelligent solutions?

AI in the area of Active Sourcing

Many companies are receiving fewer and fewer applications due to a shortage of skilled workers and good employment. However, actively approaching suitable candidates, known as Active Sourcing, is a very time-consuming endeavor. Recruiters search manually for profiles on various portals, such as Xing and LinkedIn. To automate exactly these activities, smart tools have already been developed: By entering keywords, such as a specific area or the desired professional experience, these solutions are looking for matching profiles. They even go so far as to be able to calculate the willingness to change, for example by taking into account various factors, such as job-related activities, increasing the professional network, the duration of the current employment relationship and the type of occupation.

Automatically analyze application documents

The automatic analysis of application documents with the help of AI models can save a lot of time in the HR departments. For example, the writing style and CV data are automatically checked. The basis for these AI models are projects in which psychologists have worked out various personality traits based on interpreted CVs. The data and insights thus gained are applied via AI models to new application documents. With this approach, recruiters can determine early on whether a candidate will fit or not and recruitment processes will be significantly shortened.

The future: trends through AI in recruiting

The further development of intelligent solutions is always progressing and finding its way into our everyday lives. The increased use of artificial intelligence in recruiting will on the one hand change the application process on the part of the candidates, on the other hand the role of the recruiter in this process will have to be redefined.

If a candidate is actively looking for a job, he or she first looks for job vacancies and potential employers. Using chatbots on company websites, interested parties will be able to obtain information about the open positions as well as the company quickly and easily themselves.

What is already happening in the United States could soon be used more in Europe too: the video interview. With the help of automated video interviews it is possible to interview several candidates at the same time and retrieve them at a different time. The candidate is confronted with either a question list, an acoustic bot or an avatar. At the moment work is also being done to optimize solutions for facial expression recognition and thus the assessment of the emotions.

If the applicant has overcome the hurdles of preselection through intelligent solutions, the next step is to get to know the supervisor and, if necessary, team members and recruiters.

The result is a trend of delaying the personal contact by the increased use of artificial intelligence, but at the same time ensuring a standardized process and value-free preselection.

What role does the recruiter have in the future?

One would think that with the increasing use of intelligent solutions - such as first contact chatbots, search engines for finding potential candidates or automated video interviews - the position of the recruiter is at risk. Smart solutions, on the other hand, are useful tools to gain time for important activities, such as screening of incoming applications, interviewing, and implementation of employer branding. In the future, thanks to intelligent solutions, recruiters will be able to focus on personal contact with candidates and the strategy of their area of responsibility.

Birgit Schachermayr

About the authors:

Birgit Schachermayr
Recruiter / Researcher DACH

Birgit Schachermayr has been working as a recruiter and researcher for Qualysoft DACH since March 2017.

Previously, she studied psychology with a focus on "work, education and business" and completed her training as a certified industrial psychologist.

Wolfgang Graßhof
Wolfgang Graßhof
Member of the Board Wogra AG

The board member and founder of WOGRA AG has been active in software development for 20 years. Since two years, he consistently aligns the company in the field of solutions for artificial intelligence. With Digital two GmbH as a subsidiary, WOGRA founded a software provider for chat bot systems, which can be used very well in support, sales and recruiting.

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