Will chatbots be tomorrow’s recruiters?

Software robots that can carry on a dialogue with humans by automated conversations, chatbots could now help companies in their recruiting activities. Although they don’t interview the candidate directly, they can nonetheless participate in selection upstream.

To understand what the human at the other end of the keyboard is communicating, the chatbot uses deep learning algorithms. It learns as it converses and is even capable of abstraction. Many companies are already using one, whether as a virtual assistant for customer service or for employees.

For example, Talla, an American company, has created chatbots that help employees of a company find information. What if we don’t know when a project is due? We ask Talla! Depending on the response received, the chatbot will follow up and answer based on a pre-established decision tree.

Here’s where chatbots could be used in the field of recruitment, for example by providing an automated response to candidates who send their CV on a company’s website. The chatbot can then ask a few questions of the candidate to collect as much information as possible in view of a potential interview. Although it’s possible to have the candidate simply fill in an online form, this way of operating creates an impression of innovation and responsiveness by the company.

Not so simple to innovate

Laure Gabrielle Chatenet, co-founder of UX-co, a customer experience consulting firm, believes nonetheless that effective use of chatbots is not around the corner for most Quebec companies and institutions. “I have the impression that we’re wanting to skip steps,” she says. “I have met, for example, insurance companies that want to to implement artificial intelligence solutions, yet they have not completed their digital transformation and then still have to structure their data.

Many companies are facing a serious recruitment problem,” Laure Gabrielle Chatenet notes as well. Under these circumstances, adding a robotic interface is the last thing to do. It’s rather essential to place a human in the centre of the process to attract the best talent. An enthusiastic employee is a more effective ambassador than a robot for any company.

An aid for recruitment

Nevertheless, although there is no question of interviewing a candidate with a chatbot, it can still be used to automate certain processes. The chatbot can be programmed to answer certain questions by the candidate about the nature of the position, for example. A candidate can ask about the typical job schedule, information that is not usually displayed in its description. It can be less intimidating to have software ask such questions by automated conversation than a recruiter in person much later in the process. The candidate may even choose not to continue the process if he realizes the job does not suit him. This could also save time for the recruiter, especially during massive waves of hiring, for example to find a time slot for an interview.

Chatbots still need to be refined, but they could soon be of valuable assistance to recruiters…  provided they are properly programmed.

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