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01 June 2018

Five effective uses for chatbots in the recruitment sector

More and more people are seeing the benefits of using chatbots as recruiters. But is HR not a profession for people? And does this mean you have to work with robots? Carerix and its partner Joboti support this approach and see chatbots as a valuable tool for supporting, and not replacing, people. For instance, a chatbot can be used for 24/7 first-line contact, which can be followed up by personal contact by recruiters. The emergence of Artificial Intelligence(AI) is a very noticeable trend; one that has become part of daily life and continues to become ever more intelligent. It’s not about making giant strides, but about taking small steps.

Ever since being founded in 2016, the Amsterdam-based start-up Joboti has been making inroads on this front within the world of recruitment. Carerix also integrated Joboti’s virtual assistant into its ATS platform a year ago in order to, for example, improve the Candidate Experience. And although robots will never be able to sense particular connections with candidates, there are a few practical applications in the recruitment process where chatbots can definitely offer added value:

Chatbot for repetitive administration tasks

The recruitment profession has a high administrative workload, which doesn’t exactly include the most enjoyable and challenging work. A chatbot is ideal for performing such repetitive and time consuming tasks, thus giving recruiters the time they need to make an impact at a personal level. In addition, experience shows that candidates sometimes prefer it if some administrative tasks are addressed without being in direct contact with a recruiter. A smart connection to the agenda of recruiters allows them to easily schedule appoints in the evening, from the comfort of their own sofa. This is easier and faster than e-mailing back and forth with the recruiter. Just like Bol.com allows you to select the time of delivery for your package, you can use the chatbot to schedule your interview or intake discussion when it best suits you.

Chatbot during orientation and evaluation

The candidate’s orientation phase offers another opportunity to use a chatbot. For instance, someone is looking for a suitable vacancy online, but is not yet ready to make live contact with a recruiter. In this case, the chatbot is a very accessible way of answering a few questions about, for example, the culture of a company, training, remuneration, approaches to the new way of work and the job location. All these basic questions can be effectively answered by a chatbot 24/7, instead of in a day or two when recruiters have enough time to answer them. Chatbots are not aimed at taking over the whole application process. The actual evaluation requires face-to-face contact, which is when recruiters can make the truly decisive choices. However, the chatbot can resume control of the evaluation process once such an interview has taken place.

Chatbot supports GDPR legislation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in effect since 25 May 2018 and has added a lot of extra workload to the recruitment sector. Recruiters and companies often have thousands of candidates in their databases. When operating on such a scale, it is almost impossible for recruiters to personally phone all candidates to ask permission to keep their data in the ATS. However, a chatbot could be the ideal solution. In addition, the GDPR check can also be another reason for once again contacting candidates in the database; and not via a boring e-mail form, but via a fun discussion with a chatbot. Do you require additional support? In which vacancies are you interested?

Chatbot useful for Job Alerts

Another very promising application involves using chatbots to send Job Alerts to candidates via Push Notifications in Facebook Messenger. For example: someone looks at a vacancy for Java Developer at a company in Amsterdam. The chatbot can then start a discussion via channels already used by the concerned person. As far as employees are concerned (internally at companies), this mainly involves Skype for Business. In this case, the virtual chatbot will act as one of the employees. As far as candidates are concerned, the most commonly used channel is Facebook Messenger. Within the foreseeable future, WhatsApp is also expected to become fully accessible to companies. This means you will be able to access a channel that everyone in the Netherlands has on their smartphone.

Chatbot for pre-selection during high-volume vacancies

Every extra candidate is welcomed with open arms in the world of recruitment. But sometimes, hundreds of people end up responding to a single vacancy. Such high-volume vacancies are very time consuming for recruiters. However, in this case, chatbots can make a pre-selection by asking several specific questions. For example, the vacancy is based in Limburg and I see that you live in Amsterdam. Perhaps another vacancy will be more suitable. Or questions relating to qualifications, etc. A pleasant approach can thus be used to half the number of candidates. The chatbot can also ask a number of additional questions, like asking if candidates want to subscribe to the newsletter or if they want to see a fun video on the website.

Opportunity of threat?

Although the human factor will continue to play a decisive role in the world of HR and recruitment, not all contact with candidates needs to take place in person. Chatbots can take over tasks that recruiters have difficulties performing due to time restraints, or which take place outside work hours. No boring response forms, but a ‘human’ conversation with a chatbot, which will feel increasingly natural as the chatbot learns and develops. This also means the chatbot can deal with more and more questions which do not require specific attention from recruiters. Important advantage for candidates: immediately the correct answer, thus improving the Candidate Experience. A good alternative is to opt for a ‘hybrid approach’, where you start with a chatbot and then seamlessly introduce an employee. However, this can be quite demanding for the organisation and is generally easier to realise for large companies than small ones. Finally, it appears that candidates are more likely to register certain details with a chatbot, particularly when compared to an application form on the website. This enables greater insight into candidates, which will later result in valuable leads.