Q&A with Luc Dudler, Co-Founder and CEO of Job Pal

Tim Pröhm is the Senior Director of the RPO Center of Excellence at KellyOCG®. He and his team are currently researching the potential of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for the recruitment process. One of the vendors he’s working with is Job Pal, a new company that creates chatbots for the recruiting process. Recently, he interviewed Luc Dudler, Job Pal’s Co-Founder and CEO, to learn more about how chatbots are developed and what their potential is for the recruitment industry.

Tim: Luc, thank you for joining me today. Can you give me some background on your company, Job Pal, and what inspired you to start it?

Luc: We’re a small, Berlin-based company that builds customized, AI-powered chatbots for the recruitment process. We were inspired to start the company after attending the F8 conference in April 2016, where Facebook announced its new “bots on Messenger” platform. This new platform enables companies to interact with consumers using chatbots. We were interested in how the combination of chatbots and AI could enhance the recruitment process. So we founded the company with two goals in mind. First, to improve the candidate experience (CX) using chatbots. And second, to automate time-consuming and non-value adding activities.

We initially expected top-level management to be interested, while recruiters would be concerned about the impact on their jobs. As it turns out, recruiters like the chatbots a lot. We’re only automating a small part of their jobs, but it’s significant enough to free up more time for them to talk with candidates.

Tim: Can you tell me more about your team members’ backgrounds? What kind of skills do you need to work in this kind of development?

Luc: Natural language processing (NLP) is at the core of chatbot development. It’s a subset of AI that’s focused on conversational intelligence. Because of this, most of our team have niche technology skills. Our Co-Founder and CTO, Andriy Martyniv, has a background in ML and worked on Nokia’s mapping service HERE. We also have an astrophysicist who specializes in NLP, an experienced data scientist, and an engineer with a specialization in ML. Christoph Gueldenberg, our Co-Founder and VP of Sales, and myself have business backgrounds.

Tim: Can you briefly explain how AI, ML, and NLP are interrelated when it comes to developing chatbots?

Luc: I think it’s easier to explain by giving a very concise overview of our process. It begins with data input, since chatbots need data to have conversations. Next, we use ML to train the bot in natural language processing. When we reach an advanced stage of NLP, a chatbot can have a conversation. At this point, I prefer to use the term “machine intelligence” rather than AI, because all these advancements are built on ML. I wouldn’t yet characterize it as AI. In my opinion, AI is achieved when a bot can perform the same cognitive functions as a human. In a recruitment context, that would be when it has a comprehensive understanding of an employer, its brand, and its needs, and can apply this knowledge to unknown candidates to achieve the desired outcome, i.e. select the best candidate.

Tim: What is your vision for your product? How do you think it will change the industry in five to 10 years?

Luc: In the short term, our chatbots will help companies connect more intuitively with young candidates. Their ability to deliver a personalized CX via an IM-like platform aligns well with candidates’ communication preferences and consumer-like approach to job hunting. For employers and recruiters, our objective is for the bots to handle more of the candidate screening and selection process. Ideally, a bot will soon be able to suggest the three top candidates for a position and provide key information about each one. Then the recruiter or hiring manager can follow-up and make the final selection.

In the long run, I think AI is going to drive significant change in the industry—but exactly what that will look like isn’t yet clear. Chatbots could evolve into voice-responsive digital agents that interface with candidates, remembering user preferences, interests, and more. You can read more about my thoughts on this in a guest blog I wrote for VentureBeat titled “3 future scenarios for super intelligent chatbots.”

Tim: The reason we chose Job Pal as our chatbot vendor is because especially in such a new field, we need a partner that can adjust and work with our evolving requirements. Now, of course I have to ask why you like working with KellyOCG?

Luc: First of all, I like the fact that your core business is recruiting. You approach chatbot development from a different angle than a company that only wants a bot for its HR department. Second, I enjoy our very close collaboration. It’s great to work with someone like yourself who understands the development roadmap and the bigger picture—and who gives insightful, actionable feedback. Together, we’re developing an outstanding product both for Kelly Services and for your candidates.

Tim: I agree. Thank you, Luc!