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HUMAN RESOURCES- Chatbot in 2020: The Rise of Conversational AI

Over the last decade, the recruiting landscape has dramatically changed. A tightening labor market, advances in technology, and evolving candidate expectations have all impacted the way companies find and attract talent, writes Vinita Venkatesh, VP Product Marketing, Mya Systems.

Recruiters are overwhelmed with the number of applications they receive and spend a majority of their time on sourcing, screening, and coordination tasks, rather than strategically engaging with candidates and hiring managers to find the right person for filling the business need. At the same time, candidates are assessing companies based on their experience during the hiring process, with 68 percent of employees believing their experience as a job candidate reflects how the company treats its people.

2020 will be remembered as the beginning of the chatbot revolution in the recruiting industry as conversational AI continues to push to the forefront. AI and automation have increasingly useful applications in the recruiting world and can allow recruiting departments to become more efficient as the technology landscape exponentially changes. The efficiency gain also scales proportionately with the amount of data an AI platform collects over time, using previous interactions to answer candidate questions quickly, speed up interview requests and even source new candidates not already in the recruiter’s existing pipeline. While these benefits will become evident as more companies begin to implement their own AI platforms, here are some specific methods in which AI can already help recruiters today:

Converse With Human Communication Skills At Scale

In conversation, whether with a human or a bot, people want to feel understood and supported. Feeling understood is a powerful driver of social behavior and can make a massive impact early on in the recruiting process. An essential aspect of being able to understand one another is picking up on the nuances in conversations, such as a shift in tone or direction, and adjusting responses based on those.

Conversational AI (CAI) picks up on nuances in conversation and responds in ways that acknowledge, clarify, and understand the candidate’s question or need. Candidates enjoy the human-like conversation and the efficiencies of working with AI, which ultimately builds trust and confidence in the experience. This sense of comfort leads to higher levels of satisfaction from the candidate. It makes the eventual transition to interacting with a human recruiter or hiring team member much more satisfying.

Allows Candidates to Express Themselves Naturally

CAI can understand the context of a conversation, enabling candidates to express themselves in their natural way, whether they’re asking or answering a question. By taking advantage of the ability to ask open-ended questions, understand multi-part and complex responses and acknowledge accordingly, CAI can elicit both deeper and broader insights from candidates while providing a superior experience to an essential bot interaction. As an example, basic bots may address candidates with programmed multiple-choice questions such as “Do you have experience in a) java b) SQL or c) both.” If the candidate answers outside the multiple-choice framework, a bot would likely not understand and repeat or skip the question. Without proper acknowledgment or response, the applicant may abandon the application, feeling the process is tedious, unfair, or misrepresents his or her capabilities.

However, with CAI, questions can be more open, such as asking a candidate about their latest skills. An applicant can express themselves in the way they would naturally respond, such as ‘I am now a java programmer’ or ‘I just completed a social media training course.’ CAI understands the intent of the candidate’s response and can acknowledge and progress the conversation accordingly. This seemingly simple nuance makes the candidates instantly feel like their responses are being better represented, and their actual skills are coming through in the early stages of the process. In turn, it provides a better picture of the candidate to employers.

Engage in Dynamic Conversations

Because conventional bots follow a static linear process, chatbots get stumped at questions outside of their programming and are much more limited because of it. This can be frustrating for applicants and create barriers to progressing a conversation and potential hire, as seen in the example above.

On the other hand, CAI enables a conversation to progress the way human interaction would. People don’t always think or explore a topic in linear ways. A candidate may change their answer or respond with more or less information than asked. CAI interacts in free form; dynamic conversations can follow multiple new threads of topics, acknowledge what is being communicated, and help navigate candidates towards a goal. Candidates are empowered to engage more deeply, share more information, and, in turn, get the information they need.

The benefits of CAI are well stated - they just lack proper exposure in today’s recruiting climate. As businesses become more comfortable with enlisting the help of automation, AI, and chatbots as a whole, beyond just the front end of their recruiting funnel, the strengths and advantages of conversational AI will begin to take hold. Companies looking to augment their recruiting teams with a powerful tool capable of increasing productivity and candidate satisfaction should look no further than CAI.

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