Recruitment can be a long and tedious process. Ensuring that candidates are the right fit for specific positions often takes a great deal of effort and time on the part of recruiters.
While a rigorous screening process is necessary, an overly-long recruitment cycle can exhaust a company’s time and financial resources. It can also damage a business’s reputation with job seekers and make companies notorious for having long recruitment processes.
Fortunately, new technologies have made it possible for companies to shorten their recruitment cycle without compromising the quality of their hires. Using a recruitment chatbot can significantly reduce the recruitment process duration.
How exactly can a recruitment chatbot do it, and what are the implications of these chatbots for the future of recruitment? Read on below to find out.
What is a recruitment chatbot?
A recruitment chatbot is an automation tool that helps recruiters process large numbers of candidates on career websites and guide them through the applicant funnel.
These tools often appear to applicants as a conversation interface (like the window of instant messaging applications) where candidates can “converse” with the bot.
The use of chatbots to aid in managing applicant pools rose in popularity during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even as the world learned how to live with the virus, the prevalence of recruitment chatbots did not wane.
How does a recruitment chatbot work?
A recruitment chatbot helps talent acquisition teams in many ways. This tool’s applicability in various media lets recruiters meet applicants where they are.
Below are some platforms where talent acquisition teams can use a recruitment chatbot.
- Social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn)
- Communication apps (e.g., Slack and WhatsApp)
- Specific software (e.g., application tracking systems)
Generally, talent acquisition teams use these tools to automate the following tasks:
- Collecting applicant information (e.g., contact details and resume data)
- Screening candidates for qualifications
- Answering frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Scheduling interviews
- Adding applicants to a candidate pool for future job postings
Different institutions from different industries have varying uses for recruitment chatbots. For example, the US Army’s recruitment chatbot, SGT STAR, answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) about topics related to the military (e.g., available jobs, salary, and basic training).
Meanwhile, global IT services provider Sutherland’s recruitment chatbot, Tasha, interacts with candidates during the recruitment’s initial screening stages.
Tasha answers basic questions from applicants, schedules interviews, and reminds candidates to return to the job application should they fall off.
Benefits of using a recruitment chatbot
Like other automation tools, talent acquisition teams can gain many advantages by using recruitment chatbots.
It saves recruiters and job seekers plenty of time
Recruitment chatbots make the recruitment process faster. A 2018 study by Entelo – a recruitment technology firm – showed that recruiters spend an average of 13 hours per week sourcing candidates for a single role.
In contrast, recruitment chatbots can significantly speed up the sourcing and selection of candidates from large talent pools. This also reduces the waiting time for candidates to move through the talent acquisition funnel.
It improves candidate experience
Using recruitment chatbots gives applicants quicker access to the information they need. According to iCIMS, a cloud-based HR and recruiting software firm, lack of access to information is a major reason why most candidates drop in the middle of the hiring process.
With recruitment chatbots, companies gain access to a communication line open 24/7 and across different channels. It conveys to candidates that the hiring company values its candidates.
It provides candidate behavior insight
Candidate interaction with recruitment chatbots can give recruiters insights they might otherwise miss (e.g., candidate motivators, preferences, and frustrations).
Recruiters can use the information they gain from chatbots to gauge the effectiveness of their job descriptions and postings.
It removes human bias
Chatbots focus on conversational cues to search for suitable candidates for a job instead of other non-relevant traits, such as gender, age, or race. This helps circumvent unconscious human biases that can affect the recruitment process.
Recruitment chatbot drawbacks
These tools also come with their fair share of disadvantages. Below are the potential drawbacks of using recruitment chatbots.
Lack of “humanness”
Despite technological advances, there are still limitations on how chatbots communicate, making them seem not entirely human.
This “bot-speak” can come across as cold and automated to candidates, resulting in a poor hiring experience.
Can be initially too expensive
There’s no doubt that using chatbots in recruitment pays off. However, their initial investment costs – in time and money – can be too high, especially for smaller businesses.
Recruitment chatbots require hours of testing to be fully integrated into a business’s hiring workflow. Additionally, it often requires a dedicated person for maintenance and management due to the learning curve.
Chatbots can’t evaluate human qualities
Chatbots are, first and foremost, robots and can’t assess non-quantifiable qualities like personality traits, work ethic, and culture match. Despite their importance to recruitment, the technology to gauge these qualities are yet to exist.
Relying solely on recruitment chatbots might result in good candidates being rejected for missing the required years of experience by a year or two.
Are chatbots the future of recruitment?
Despite the effectiveness of using chatbots in recruitment, it’s best to remember that they are ultimately just another touchpoint for collecting candidate information.
Chatbots make the hiring process faster and more convenient for recruiters and job applicants alike. However, bots that can entirely replace humans in recruitment (e.g., bots that can interview candidates as effectively as humans do) are yet to be developed.
Until such time, it’s unlikely that bots will replace humans in the recruitment field.
 quality of their hires. Pillai, R. and Sivathanu, B. (2022). “Measure what matters: Descriptive and predictive metrics of HRM-pathway toward organizational performance.” International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 71(7), pp. 3009-3029. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-10-2020-0509
 biases that can affect the recruitment process. Hardy, J. H. et al. (2022). “Bias in context: Small biases in hiring evaluations have big consequences. Journal of Management, 48(3), pp. 657–692. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206320982654