In today’s job market, candidate experience has to be top of mind for hiring managers. But hiring managers have a long list of tasks and don’t even have time to eat lunch, much less spend the time to send messages back and forth with candidates who may or may not drop out of the process and disappear completely anyway. We know engaging these candidates is important for keeping them in the hiring funnel, but being able to do that is a whole other issue.
How is Artificial Intelligence Used in Human Resources?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used throughout the entire HR life cycle — recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, retaining, and separating — but is most commonly used in the early stages of attracting and matching applicants to the available job openings. At TalentReef, that’s what our conversational AI chatbot does: automatically completes applications, assesses candidates’ qualifications, and helps candidates schedule interviews — all within minutes.
“The use of chatbots has exploded in talent acquisition in recent years,” said Ben Eubanks, SHRM-SCP, principal analyst at Lighthouse Research & Advisory, and author of Artificial Intelligence for HR. “Recruiters don’t have unlimited time to monitor the careers site and answer every applicant’s question. Bots are handling initial screenings, scheduling interviews, answering candidate FAQs and even checking in with new hires to make sure they’re settled. Recruiters’ time is freed up for more high-value work, like sourcing hard-to-fill roles or negotiating an offer with a candidate on the fence.”
An AI Chatbot Without NLP is Practically Useless
Think about a time when you went to a website and tried to find help but all you got was a bot that kept spitting out the same unhelpful response. This is an example of a rules-based chatbot. They simply look for patterns in questions and input so they can match it with their database. The questions and answers have to be manually programmed and typically, the question or response from the user has to exactly match the phrase in the database for the bot to recognize it and respond. Trying to guess every way a user might ask a question or respond can be very time-consuming for the company and may not even work well in the end.
That is an example of AI gone wrong. Being mindful about why and how you implement AI is one of the most — if not the most — important aspect of all. If you want to incorporate it into your hiring process to save your hiring managers time, increase applicant flow, and decrease your candidate drop-off rate, you need a solution that works well.
That’s why it’s essential that the chatbot you use is based on Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP helps provide meaning and understanding to text-based input so that the bot can process and respond appropriately — mimicking the experience of talking with an actual human. The candidate should feel like they’re having a natural conversation.
Eubanks added that “a chatbot can have a conversation with thousands of people at once and make each of them feel like they are connected and having a real discussion. And 75% of people who end a discussion with a chatbot say ‘thank you’ to the bot, even when they know it’s a bot.”
What Features Should a Chatbot Include?
NLP-powered chatbots have these key functions:
- Conversation tracking: The chatbot keeps track of the dialogue to respond given the context of the conversation, as if you were talking to a human
- Structured conversations: Once the chatbot has the context and is programmed with a certain goal, structured conversations allow the bot to respond appropriately to the user
- Rapid solutions: The chatbot gets the user from point A to point B quickly and efficiently
As you’d imagine, an AI chatbot built with NLP results in an engaging and seamless experience that moves applicants through the hiring process quickly and efficiently, reducing drop-off by as much as 12% and reducing time-to-apply by up to 84%. The candidate gets the efficiency of working with a human, while the hiring manager is freed up to do other tasks and is brought into the process once the interview is scheduled.
If NLP is a must-have, these nice-to-haves that can vastly improve your applicant experience and help you stand out from your competitors:
- Simple button clicks and automated response options, rather than full blown SMS-style conversations that are prone to errors
- Embedded chatbot experience accessible directly on client career pages or via QR/text codes for greater application optionality
While there are plenty of chatbot companies out there, look for a complete talent management solution that already includes this feature. This eliminates the likelihood of your third-party chatbot not working properly with your existing system and saves you the time and resources you’d have to spend figuring out how to make it all work together.
Learn more about how TalentReef is using conversational AI to help our customers increase applicant flow and reduce drop-off, engage applicants in a branded experience, decrease manual efforts, reduce time-to-hire, and enable quicker interviews.