Tech & Tools: March/April 2023

IN FOCUS: The rise of the chatbots

Those who follow Toby Culshaw, global head of talent intelligence at Worldwide Amazon Stores, on LinkedIn will have been fascinated and amused by his request to Open AI’s chatbot ChatGPT to create two poems on talent intelligence, one even in the style of cartoon character Popeye.

It succeeds on both counts, and the exercise has a serious side in demonstrating the considerable potential of chatbots and digital assistants. Equipped with high-level natural language processing capabilities, their ability to hold an online conversation with a human being means they can be used perform a range of routine tasks, including in recruitment.

Culshaw believes such technology has the potential to provide huge time-savings to talent acquisition, intelligence and sourcing by automating tasks like CV screening, scheduling interviews, and even provide real-time analytics and reporting, as well as creating standardised, non-creative copy for adverts. He adds: “I can easily foresee this technology given fields in a CRM/applicant tracking system and used to automatically search for individuals, crafting approach emails and auto-scheduling initial calls for those that reply, for example.”

According to the analyst Gartner, 75% of HR inquiries will be initiated through conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platforms by this year. Indeed, plenty of employers have already adopted their use in day-to-day recruitment and HR operations. iCIMS’ AI-powered chatbot was responsible for setting up more than 45,000 interviews across 200-plus countries and territories in 2022, supporting candidates in more than 20 languages. It reports that having struggled to find roles that matched their skillset, luxury goods retailer Chalhoub Group has had more than 20,000 applications submitted through the iCIMS Digital Assistant since its integration. Using the chatbot, it takes candidates just 15 seconds to discover open positions on the career site that interest them, eliminating candidate drop-off.

“AI-powered recruitment chatbots can serve as always-on talent support with natural language processing to enhance the career site and job search experience,” says Al Smith, chief technology officer at iCIMS. “With iCIMS, talent acquisition teams can supplement text and email campaigns with the digital assistant to continue providing a personalised experience and move talent through the hiring flow.”

Recruitment process outsourcing provider PeopleScout, a TrueBlue company, carried out a survey entitled ‘Inside the Candidate Experience’ that revealed only around a third of organisations globally had career sites that featured frequently asked questions or advice to support candidates throughout the process. “Deploying a chatbot to answer some of these common questions can help to set realistic expectations for candidates, reduce their anxiety throughout the recruitment process and decrease drop-off,” says Simon Wright, global head of talent advisory consulting at PeopleScout.

He adds that the other common uses of chatbots are in application and screening in high volume recruitment, such as in retail and hospitality workers. “At these stages, a chatbot can capture critical details from the candidate in a way that’s much more appealing than a standard application form.”

Chatbots also work 24/7, all around the globe. Wright says with PeopleScout clients, half of chatbot sessions occur outside of working hours when recruiters are not available to speak to candidates. “In our ‘always on’ world, chatbots are a valuable tool for candidate engagement,” he adds. “For example, our client The AA doubled its application volumes and saw a 20% improvement in careers site engagement after PeopleScout deployed their chatbot.”

Some people have concerns about engaging with chatbots and, to allay fears, Smith offers key indicators to determine if a provider has developed its AI chatbot in an ethical and conscientious way. “Does the provider have a code of ethics? Does the provider align with the latest ethical AI regulations and industry best practices?” he says. “These questions can help companies understand if the AI and chatbots have been designed responsibly, which can go a long way towards increasing adoption among talent teams and candidates.”

Culshaw believes a chatbot’s limitations lie in creativity and personal connection. “If everyone is using the same tech to scale then how do you ensure the candidate hears you through the noise?” he says. “If adopted at scale I can actually see it being used as an automated first phase that then enables sourcers to go back to far more traditional sourcing traits, networking with candidates, building relationships, more time on the phone, more time face-to-face and more time in conferences building relationships.”

Cutting through relocation red tape

Localyze has revamped its global talent platform to make it less complex for employees to navigate what it says can be a “challenging and scary immigration” journey. It includes quick access to information, documents, appointment dates and partner offers from a single dashboard as well as a personalised step-by-step journey.

 Selfie identification before signing

Digital ID company Yoti is integrating ‘selfie’ verification directly into the signing process of its digital ID platform. eSign with Selfie allows individuals to confirm their identity with a selfie before signing a document. After taking the image, Yoti’s proprietary technology, MyFace, confirms they are a real person by undertaking a ‘liveness’ check. The selfie is then cryptographically linked with the individual’s signature.


AI takes strain out of writing job ads

Multi-job posting tool WaveTrackR is launching a tool that uses AI to help write job adverts. Recruiters enter the job role essentials and any extra information provided in the brief. It claims the AI Job Advert Assistant will create an advert that works with the job board algorithms in seconds. The advert can then be adjusted by the recruiter, bringing their creativity and flair to the advert.

Conversing with AI

Employee experience platform LumApps has bought Vizir, developer of a no-code digital assistant technology, also called predictive chatbot technology. The move will enable it to progress its conversational AI strategy to help recruiters and employers automate routine tasks and improve employee access to information.

Linking under-represented talent

Loop Not Luck is a recently launched job board that aims to connect under-represented candidates with tailored career opportunities. Through a personalised percentage match, candidates can see how closely they are predicted to fit the role.

Image credit | iStock

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