Chatbots bring a powerful new dimension to the acquisition of talent. They can improve the candidate experience by answering questions, providing information and personalizing the application process. That certainly makes them useful to employers, but what about job boards? Can they do anything that would be helpful to them? Absolutely.
Chatbots are already familiar features in the online commercial marketplace. They help us find that perfect pair of running shoes, the best vacation package, a great car deal and even the right person to date. In fact, within the next three years, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse, at least that’s Gartner’s prediction.
According to Dr. John Sullivan, chatbots have been used in recruiting for over decade, but as all the chatter in the blogosphere makes clear, they are just now coming into vogue among employers. He describes the current generation of these applications as “Q&A chatbots” – bots with capabilities limited to answering candidate questions in a personalized and conversational way.
Even with such a limitation, however, experts cite a long list of benefits for employers, and those benefits can also have value for job boards. How? Here are a few examples.
More applications from higher quality prospects. Answering candidates’ questions and, in the process, keeping them engaged, will increase their propensity to apply. Moreover, that outcome is likely to be most pronounced among passive prospects as they typically want more information before they’re willing to toss their hat in the ring. It doesn’t entirely solve the scandalously high drop off rate – improved application forms are the only real fix for that – but it does at least make them more willing to start. And when they do, a job board’s conversion rate and applicant quality go up, making for happier customers and more contract renewals.
More time for recruiters. In theory, at least, chatbots relieve recruiters of the burden of answering candidate questions. However, most recruiting teams aren’t staffed to do that anyway – at least for run-of-the-mill positions – and instead, rely on static, on-site FAQs. Nevertheless, recruiters do spend considerable time answering questions from high value potential hires, and chatbots may well reduce some of that workload. And when they do, maybe, just maybe, those recruiters will invest their new found free time in writing better job postings, increasing the click through rate among a job board’s traffic and eventually more of those completed applications.
More happy candidates. Almost eight-out-of-ten candidates say that job ads should provide more information, so giving them the exact answers they want, on a 24/7 basis and in a conversational tone will likely go a long way toward improving their experience during the recruiting process. It’s simply better customer service. Showing candidates the courtesy and respect of dealing with their individual questions creates a more informed customer, which will likely reduce an ad’s yield of “throw-away applicants” – those who are obviously unqualified for an opening – making the employer’s review cycle shorter and their sastisfaction with the job board that delivered its candidates higher.
More faith in technology. Bots are proven technology. We’re already comfortable with them in our daily lives, so it should be easy for recruiters to get comfortable with them in their work. As small a step as that will be for them, it’s a huge leap forward for a cohort that is notoriously slow to adopt new technology. Said another way, by improving the RECRUITER’S experience on-the-job, bots make technology finally seem like a partner, rather than a threat. And when that happens, job boards will be better able to sell other technological advances – from video job postings to programmatic ad buying – thereby increasing both their top and bottom line results.
As with any product, all chatbots aren’t created equal. Some will perform better than others, and some won’t perform at all. In general, however, these new applications will be a boon for recruiters and when they are, they have the potential to be equally beneficial to job boards.
Food for thought,
The Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle is brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.
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• March, 2018 in Dublin TAtechEurope, The TAtech Industry Congress in Europe – the premier event for recruitment technology thought & business leaders worldwide.
• April, 2018 in Las Vegas: The TAtech Spring Congress & Deal Center. See the 2017 conference details here.
• June, 2018: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying. See the 2017 conference details here.