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Chatbots and Recruiting Automation in 2020


Jonathan Duarte

Recruiting Chatbots have come a long way in 2019. The number of use cases that employers are using chatbots has increased. The number of companies that have installed chatbots to automate processes has increased significantly in the last year. However, 2020 is going to be the year of widespread adoption of recruiting automation and chatbots.

There are four primary reasons that recruiting automation with chatbots hasn’t hit main street just yet, but I predict these hurdles are going to be solved in 2020. These hurdles are the messaging “Channel of Choice”, HR tech stack integrations, chatbot technology, and market knowledge.

When deploying a messaging solution one of the critical factors is “Who is going to use it?”. Recruiters need to communicate with internal company employees as well as external candidates. In the US, the primary messaging platform is SMS messaging, so your recruiting team needs a text recruiting platform. If your company is a multinational, there’s a good chance your global recruiting team is going to need the ability to communicate over WhatsApp or Messenger integration. And, if you want to engage candidates on your career site, you’ll need a webchat, or more specifically a Career Chat solution.

One to One and automated conversations with candidates and employees will probably need to be stored, tracked and connected to your companies existing applicant tracking system (ATS) and Human Capital Management (HCM) solution. So, that all messages, conversations, and chatbot exchanges can be stored and reported on, for legal, compliance, and recruiting audits.

Additionally, messaging needs to become a core component of the ATS and HCM platform, not a stand-alone, external, or third-party solution.

2020 will be the year of these integrations, giving recruiters and human resources teams, the ability to communicate using their existing platforms.

2019 was the year that chatbot technology in recruiting really took off. The customer demands and the technology finally met with some early specific use cases that could be used by many companies, rather than just a couple of high-volume use cases.

We are still early in the process of build ubiquitous chatbot technology that can be deployed in minutes, that solves large complex use cases, but the technology is coming as investment in the space continues, from both external investors as well as corporate purchases.

In 2020, the blanket sales conversation where a client calls a vendor saying they need a “chatbot”, but not really understanding what they are trying to buy, or why, or what the use case or solution will do, is quickly passing.

Recruiting Chatbot use cases, case studies, and white papers are now available on multiple sites. Below is a list of use cases as well.

2020 will be the year that prospective customer calls vendors to understand how that vendor’s specific solution might work within the HR tech stack and recruiting processes within the enterprise.

There are several recruiting chatbot use cases that will expand from enterprise pilots to midmarket employers in 2020.

Here are some of the areas where clients are getting the largest returns on investment.

  1. Apply by Text

Retailers, Hospitality, Quick Serve Restaurants are all looking for ways to engage candidates faster, implement quick hiring solutions to increase their Speed to Hire. Adding a text to hire type solution works with onsite “Now Hiring” signage as well as online job postings, making it easier for candidates to apply, and local hiring managers to engage and communicate with candidates.

2. Recruiting Automation Tasks

A lot of recruiting tasks require a human to initiate the next step in an undefined recruiting process. While there are many ways to recruit, typically there is a higher-level system that can be mapped out and then institutionalized to generate better and consistent results.

When recruiting funnels are documented and implemented, individual tasks can be automated, relieving recruiters from being the human focal point of moving candidates through a process. Instead, empowering the candidates to move through the process, as predefined by the recruiting team. This will allow recruiters to spend more time of qualified candidates, instead of “chasing candidates” with emails and phone calls, to take the next step.

3. Candidate Experience

No technology is going to help recruiters and job seekers, unless the candidate experience is better than what’s in place today. In an economy with more open jobs, and fewer available candidates, Candidate Experience matters. In 2020, we’ll see more and more companies surveying their candidates to accurately measure the candidates view of the recruiting experience, and this will be automated into the candidate workflow process.

4. Interview Scheduling

Interview scheduling is one of the most time-sensitive processes in recruiting. There are a lot of back and forth emails, phone calls, etc. to schedule time with candidates and hiring managers. Tools like Calendly have helped recruiters significantly, but more tools are getting adopted quickly.

One of the fastest adopted approaches is “Self-Select Appointments” via text messaging. With GoHire’s automated interview scheduling over text messaging, recruiters can send interview scheduling requests to hundreds of candidates giving the candidates the opportunity to find a time on the recruiter’s calendar. Response rates with text messaging are 4X that or email, and scalable, unlike making multiple phone calls.

5. Candidate Pre-screening

One of the biggest complaints regarding job boards and recruiting is the endless hours of weeding through unqualified applicants. The problem is that candidates don’t have enough information about job roles from job postings, and since they never hear back from employers, their only course of action is to apply to anything and everything, and hope a recruiter engages them.

This is a vicious cycle that created the “Resume Blackhole” where candidates continue to apply to hundreds of jobs but never hear back.

This, of course, is also due to the fact there is no “Candidate Engagement”, other than the “application process”. Most candidates have little to no understanding of the company prior to applying. Job postings for retail and hospitality and other jobs don’t always include descriptions of where the jobs are located, the shifts available, or even salary information, leaving manual pre-screening phone calls and emails as the first response to candidates.

We all know that’s not scalable, takes a lot of time, and isn’t an effective candidate experience.

Candidate pre-screening with recruiting chatbots can handle a lot of these discrepancies because candidates can get more information about the role, the location, the shifts, etc., while recruiters and hiring managers can ask pre-screening and “knock-out” questions, where candidates that don’t meet the minimal criteria for one particular job, might be redirected to a different position.

6. Job Fair Registration and Reminders

With unemployment at a 50 year low in the US, many employers are having to increase their Onsite Hiring events, where they will offer jobs onsite.

Onsite hiring events are great, but generating candidate attendance can be difficult. We’ve used chatbots for job fair registrations and then sent out a sequence of reminders over the days leading up to the job fair, over text messaging. The results were incredible, including 250 scheduled interviews, from 3 hours of manual labor, and 3X job fair expected attendance, because of the reminders and text messages.

7. HR and Employee Self-Service

In 2019, there has been a lot of technology adoption and integration in the HR and employee self-service chatbot market. Tools like ServiceNow have started gaining traction and the technology is definitely going to see an increase in adoption in 2020.

There are lots of different technologies to help solve recruiting and employee engagement problems. Chatbots that are integrated into existing HR tech stacks with omnichannel messaging are going to see the lion share of market adoption in 2020.

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