HR modification: the virtual company concierge

HR modification: the virtual company concierge

1.Aug.2017
Tim Proehm

One of the main issues that contributes to a poor candidate experience (CX) is a lack of attention to a candidate’s needs. Aside from long, complex application forms, this usually becomes clear immediately after an applicant submits his or her résumé. A survey by Career Arc showed that 65 percent of applicants never or seldom received any communication about an application. These candidates were 3.5 times less likely to apply for another position with the same company. Moreover, almost three quarters shared their negative experience either directly or online. Clearly, a poor CX can negatively affect a company’s employer brand; plus, it can severely limit its candidate pool.

Using bots to provide high touch candidate care

With online job applications and aggregate job sites, it’s unrealistic to expect recruiters to be able to follow up with every applicant. Fortunately, technology has a solution: bots. These are apps that run automated applications online. They can be used for a wide range of tasks including sending automated emails, scheduling meetings, and sending reminders via email, messaging, or text.

Recently, there’s been a rise in the number of messenger bots and chat bots. These are bots that interact with the user online to provide information, answer questions, and more. A good example of this is SGT STAR, the chat bot on goarmy.com. Users type a question, and SGT STAR directs them to a page with more information.

While the capabilities of bots are still relatively basic, they’re developing quickly. It’s highly probable that integration with AI and machine learning will result in bots that deliver a highly personalized, human-like interaction—but without the mistakes humans inevitably make.

The reasons for using bots in recruiting are strong:

  • They can provide personal attention when recruiters can’t. Bots are always on. They can interact with an applicant at every step of the application process, providing more information about the job, the company, and the process itself.
  • They’re convenient. Bots can easily be adapted to a range of platforms and operating systems. This makes them highly convenient for everyone from desktop computer owners to smartphone users.
  • They’re affordable. Though it will require an initial investment to develop a highly functional bot that can process and assimilate large amounts of data and respond appropriately, the financial burden for employers is much lower than paying humans to provide this type of high touch support.
  • Millennials are used to bots. In an interview with UX Magazine titled “The Anthropology & Future of Chat Bots & Conversational Commerce,” Toby Shapshak points out that the younger generations have grown up using chat. Therefore, chat bots are a logical extension of normal communications for them—and one they prefer over email or phone conversations.

It’s highly likely that in the not-too-distant future, bots will function as de facto virtual company concierges for talent acquisition. When employers integrate this kind of highly personalized, timely support into their CX, they will be better able to meet their candidates’ needs. And as a result, they become much more attractive to top quality talent.