Covering disruptive stories
We’ve seen it all this year. Autonomous driving, 5G data networks, predictive healthcare and extended reality. Soon we will apparently be hearing voices advertising products at the grocery store, experience DNA hacking and see the inaugural sale of Google Glass - high-tech spectacles with a built-in camera and pop-up display that allow consumers to record video in an extremely subtle way.
We are in the midst of the 4th industrial revolution - and more often than not it feels like we are on the set of The Fifth Element or Blade Runner. Technologies are evolving faster than we are as a human race, and for those companies and individuals that don’t keep up - there is a very real risk of being left behind.
In the field of human recruitment (HR), we are seeing newfangled technologies disrupt the industry in ways we never could have imagined. Big data, predictive analytics and blockchain have changed the way we find jobs - and the way we are found by recruiters and companies.
HR teams are now able to work remotely, enhance recruiting experience using digital technologies and use job aggregators to source talent in the digital marketplace.
Online, skills matrices can help recruiters and HR departments source the best suited employees for projects, and resume screening software can eliminate painfully long and frustrating resume reading processes.
But even more futuristic is the application of using chatbots to source job applicants, saving HR teams effort, time and money during the recruitment process.
Chatbots are essentially computer programs that can simulate conversation just like a human can, using text or voice. They are machines powered by AI or artificial intelligence, which embrace machine learning to interact with humans in a way that resembles a robot and are used in a wide array of industries, from customer service to translation companies. Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri are examples of text and audio chatbots which have become quite popular in households today.
But in the field of HR, they have also become quite popular thanks to Natural Language Protocol (NLP). Firstly, they were used as landing page calls to action. Then, they were used as prompts that popped up within job applications.
Today, mobile-enabled chatbots are able to assess candidates, undertake pre-screening interviews and schedule further interviews with successful candidates, as well as support recruitment professionals with all other processes, including receiving applications and acknowledging their receipt, making job offers and receiving accepted offers, beginning the onboarding process and more.
Given that roughly 43% of candidates never hear back from a company after applying, chatbots can certainly make the process kinder on everyone - especially for high volume recruiting that requires communication with thousands of candidates.
In terms of proofreading alone, chatbots can offer a huge advantage to HR professionals. With the ability to read resumes quickly and match skill-sets to those advertised, plus proof-read for errors or irrelevant answers given in interview questions, much of the heavy lifting during recruitment can be
automated, saving HR professionals valuable time.
Though many initially dissed the chatbot, thinking it to be a robotic and insincere approach to interacting with new and potential recruits - chatbots are in reality warm, use colloquial language and even joke around with applicants, making the process smooth and friendly.
Candidates are responding positively to them, too: according to a 2016 survey by Allegis Global Solutions, which interviewed candidates to determine how comfortable they were interacting with chatbots during the recruitment process, roughly 57 percent of respondents were either "fairly" or "extremely" comfortable interacting with them when answering initial questions during the application and interview process.
As expected, respondents were most comfortable interacting with bots not during the interview itself but during the scheduling and interview preparation process.
That’s not to say chatbots will be integrated into the recruitment landscape without fault: lack of empathy, language barriers, unpredictable candidate replies and malicious attacks are all challenges that recruitment chatbots might encounter.
Tech companies are working fast to overcome such challenges, to ensure their mainstream integration into the HR space.
Already, 15 percent of HR professionals say that artificial intelligence and automation are currently affecting their workforce, while 40 percent expect to see chatbots make an impact within five years. At California-based customer interaction platform Alorica, chatbots have been used for almost two years already and are embedded in job ads placed online by the company.
ESPN and its recruitment company Montage, as another example, worked with a chatbot provider to recruit interns and diversify its on-air talent. In just six weeks, ESPN attracted 560 candidates from across 53 countries - something that would never have been possible in such a short time frame using traditional recruiting tools.
By 2020, Gartner predicts the average person will have more conversations with chatbots than with their spouse, and recruitment will be no exception.
For candidates to land roles, they will need to adjust their interview style accordingly: simplify their answers, include key terms in their responses, and above all else remember that professionalism and courteousness must be maintained, good manners could still be a part of the test.
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