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What can HR Chatbots actually do?

BY -

Phil Strazzulla

June 17, 2021

The term HR chatbot has been around for the last few years.  While many HR and recruiting teams are taking advantage of this technology, I find that even sophisticated People teams sometimes don't know exactly how these may fit into their tech stack.

To define the term, an HR chatbot is an AI and rules-based software that interacts with job seekers and employees via text (SMS, WhatsApp, on your website, etc) to answer simple questions they may have, direct them through a process, or ask questions and then records answers in your ATS, CRM, HRIS, or other people database.

Every hour, chatbots are having thousands of conversations with would be job applicants and employees alike. The people teams using them are capturing ROI from faster time to fill, decreased cost of hire, and less human time needed on rote tasks.

Simply put, they are letting the robots do what the robots are good at, and using AI as their exoskeleton.

Specifically, here are some of the major areas hr and recruiting chatbots can contribute to:

  • Shortlist: Recruiting AI tools and HR chatbots alike can help shortlist candidates for a given job req.  They are smart enough to parse your job description and understand what the ideal candidate may look like.  They can then look at your existing talent databases (CRM, ATS), as well as the open web to find relevant profiles.
  • Outreach: Assuming you like what you see, these tools can then put potential applicants into outreach sequences (email or SMS) to tell candidates about the role and gauge their interest.
  • Navigate: Let's say someone gets to your career site but it's a bit confusing.  Maybe you have 1,000+ job openings, maybe the organization or your pages just isn't great.  A chatbot can ask a few questions to figure out where a candidate is located and what roles they are interested in.  The bot can then send that person to the right place to apply for the right job.
  • Convert: Of course, better navigation leads to higher conversion rates (what percent of career site visitors apply for a job).  Recruiting bots can also increase conversions by answering candidates questions (PTO policies, remote work, etc), as well as routing high value candidates directly to recruiters (oh, you have 5+ yrs of Java experience and live within 20 miles of HQ?  Let me get you on our hiring manager's calendar)
  • Schedule: Bots can schedule screens as well as more complex interviews involving multiple stakeholders.  They can even send reminders, and re-organize when calendars change.
  • Assess: Recruiting Bots are great for knock out questions (can you lift 50 lbs?  Can you work Saturdays?  What's your visa status?).
  • Onboard: Onboarding cadences can be built into HR chatbots to gather required paperwork, and start to integrate new team members (learning materials, coffee chats, etc)
  • HR FAQs: Your HR team spends a lot of time answering the same old questions about PTO, benefits, etc.  HR chatbots can handle 80%+ of these inquiries.

This technology is still new.  If you expect to implement it in one day and have it solve all your problems, you're in for a big surprise!

However, the teams that setup the required rules, and have the necessary human oversight while the AI learns various edge cases, will see massive rewards.

There is a clear ROI from cost savings, but more than that this tech will improve your candidate and employee experience by delivering the right information faster.

It will also improve your recruiter and HR professional experience as many of the tedious tasks your teammates have to deal with now will be operationalized via your chatbots.

This means you can focus more on initiatives that require more brainpower, and a human touch.

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