Talking to a Robot: The Pros & Cons of A.I. Communication in Hiring
It’s 2022, and chatbots have grown from one-off novelty to industry standard in customer service. Now, the same chat tech is being embraced by HR departments as a solution to streamline communication and to improve the candidate experience.
Messaging a chatbot isn’t the same as talking to a human being. We get that. But guess what! At least the bots actually respond to candidates’ messages. From chatbots to automated interview scheduling emails, AI-boosted communication has the power to streamline hiring in major ways. We just need to make sure we keep some soul in the process. Here’s my take.
Consistency At All Stages
Robots — or, more accurately, artificial intelligence software programs — are great at giving the same answer repeatedly. Humans, on the other hand, can be a little less consistent in our communications. While unwavering sameness can be a negative, in this case, it’s a good thing.
Chatbots play no favorites; they respond to all people with the same answers in the same amount of time, regardless of race, gender, or religion. On top of consistent messaging and reduced potential for bias, bots also stand out compared to their human counterparts in one key way: reliability. Gone are the white lie days of “SO sorry, JUST seeing this again, totally forgot to respond to your email.”
AI also brings increased consistency to the interview process itself. Instead of hiring managers sending one-off emails to each candidate after each round of interviews, AI allows hiring managers to automate and standardize follow-up messaging, whether it be to schedule additional rounds of interviews or to inform the candidate the organization is going in a different direction.
24/7 Availability & How Candidates Can “Beat the System”
An old football coach of mine often said “The best ability is availability.” Thankfully, chatbots are available every second of every day.
If there’s an ideal candidate perusing your company’s website after hours, they likely have questions! Yes, you should have an FAQ page, but oftentimes, candidate questions are more specifically related to the nuances of the application process, company policies, etc.
And people who ask questions before applying are often the strongest candidates. A chatbot not only allows you to answer their questions 24/7 in real time, but also to capture their contact information for a more personalized future follow-up. There’s good news for candidates too; according to Forbes, applicants who engaged with the AI platform Mya (Stepstone) prior to applying were three times as likely to hear back from potential employers.
Caution: Don’t Become a Robot Factory
The consistency and availability of chatbots and automated emails is fantastic, as long as those tools are paired with individualized, personal communication during the interview process itself. For some roles, specifically those which receive hundreds of applications, there needs to be an element of AI in screening those applications for potential fits. Additionally, those same roles may have an automated first interview through services like Spark Hire.
But we urge you to move with significant caution when automating interviews themselves. If a candidate has spoken with a chatbot, and received automated emails, their desire to speak with a “real person” is growing. If you present them with yet another automated step, your company may begin to come off as robotic and cold.
As is often the case, balance wins the day. Leverage automation to drive your organization’s efficiency and consistency, but after a couple of automated steps, be sure to introduce a real face and voice into the mix.
Hiring for key positions on your team? Bell Falls Search can help. Reach out to find out how.