In today’s battle for talent, companies are always looking for ways to set themselves apart from their competition. One way to do that: Implement chatbots!
HR/talent acquisition teams cite engaging/communicating with passive talent as their No. 1 challenge. And what better way to engage passive talent than with a chatbot?
In fact, 51% of respondents in a recent survey said they experienced “significant improvement” in candidate satisfaction as a direct result of implementing chatbots, according to a Sense and Talent Boards survey of 350 HR and talent acquisition leaders and their teams.
What are chatbots?
For those who are unfamiliar with chatbots, they’re computer programs that simulate and process human conversation – written or spoken. They allow people to interact with digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person.
There are three different types of chatbots, according to Josh Bersin’s Conversational AI Recruiting:
- Basic – Candidates can ask questions to which they’ll get a “canned” response based on keywords.
- Enhanced – Candidates get multiple-choice responses that are more in-depth than basic chatbots provide. But again, the conversations are “transactional,” but typically get users the information they need.
- Conversational AI – AI-based chatbots have built-in natural language processing and machine learning. This allows them to adapt according to the messages users key in and guide them to the information they’re looking for by asking more questions. It’s the bot that feels the most like texting with a real person.
Chatbots were designed to boost HR/TA team’s responsiveness and make it feel like the response is coming from an actual breathing human being. They also free up HR’s time with the basic early question, allowing the team to attend to more urgent recruiting matters.
Chatbots enhance experience
Why do chatbots up the candidate experience so much?
According to the respondents, they improve the responsiveness of candidate communications, enhance the overall quality of their company’s candidate experience, and free up recruiters’ time and enhance their productivity.
HR knows good communication is the key to keeping highly desired candidates from dropping out of the recruiting process prematurely. The easier companies make it to communicate with their HR/talent acquisition team the more candidates they’ll keep and the more referrals they’ll get from other candidates.
The study found that 78% of candidates were more willing to refer others when they were kept up to date about their status during the recruiting process and companies were transparent about their potential fit for a job after an interview.
Cost of poor communication
On the other hand, poor communication can cost companies dearly.
Talent Board research has shown an 11% withdrawal rate in North America alone, all from poor communication in 2020. This may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but when you break it down it equates to hundreds of thousands of candidates that slipped through employers’ fingers because of poor communication/engagement.
Forty percent of candidates in North America said they didn’t even get an automated “thank you” for submitting an application. And after two months, 23% still hadn’t heard anything after applying.
That’s just bad business.
People talk on message boards and leave bad reviews on sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed. The last thing companies need during this war for talent is a bad review on one of these sites.
Plus, according to the study, email is still the No. 1 channel (61%) HR/TA teams use to communicate with candidates. With email delivery not being a guaranteed delivery due to spam and privacy filters, and general technological snafus, it’s not the best way to communicate with candidates.
But the study also shows HR/TA teams are relying more on texting (29%) nowadays. However, when compared to candidates’ preferences, texting is preferred by 41% – that’s a big gap.
A priority for HR/TA teams is targeting passive candidates via outbound recruiting. And the most successful at contacting and communicating with candidates: conversational AI and basic chatbots (36%), CRMs (30%) and texting (28%).
The reason they’re so successful: Not only do they increase the speed and responsiveness of candidate communications, but they improve the overall quality of the candidate experience.
In fact, chatbot use increased by 40% since 2018, according to Talent Board, which also found companies with the highest-rated candidate experiences use chatbots to answer candidates’ questions nearly 30% more than the average company.