AI and Chatbots: Why they won’t replace Recruiters
April 12, 2018
by Melissa Porter
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Chatbots are not new in the technology world, but they are becoming increasingly popular in everyday life, and in some cases, an important part in the way in which we do business.
From virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri or Samsung’s Bixby, to the “live chat” feature on a retailer’s website, AI is everywhere, and while it continues to grow more intelligent and sophisticated, 76% of recruiters have predicted that the affect AI will have in the recruitment industry will at least be somewhat significant in the future.
What are Chatbots?
Have you ever used the “live chat” feature on a retailer’s website? If so, then chances are you have interacted with a Chatbot. Chatbots are programs that can be powered by AI to interact, answer queries, and assist humans.
How do they work?
Chatbots are programs with large databases that contain answers to a wide range of predetermined questions. Unlike humans, Chatbots have pre-defined responses to questions. Whereas humans can answer one question in three different ways, a Chatbot will only know of one answer to the same question unless it is taught to do something differently.
How are they being used in Recruitment?
According to LinkedIn’s global Recruiting Trends 2018, AI and Chatbots will make the entire recruitment process less transactional and will aid to make the process more personable, enabling Recruiters to focus on building candidate and client relationships.
Many recruitment agencies and recruitment departments have already begun to implement the use of Chatbots and AI as part of their recruitment process, and they do have several benefits:
- A better candidate experience: Chatbots can respond to questions that could otherwise end up sitting in your inbox for a week. They can interact with candidates in a human-like fashion and can provide answers to role related questions, such as salary, working hours, and confirm interviews.
- Screen candidates: Once the role requirements have been set, AI will be able to screen candidates based on the set parameters far quicker than any other Recruiter.
- Removes human bias: With equality and diversity being a huge factor, AI can screen CVs without taking into consideration the race, gender, age, and even appearance of the candidate, leading to each applicant being shortlisted based on the experience on their CV, and no other factors.
- Automates administrative tasks: eliminate duplicate profiles, interview scheduling, candidate sourcing, CV parsing… these can all be automated with AI, ensuring a more effective recruitment process.
Why they won’t replace Recruiters
As impressive and intelligent AI and Chatbots are, they won’t be replacing physical Recruiters anytime soon.
Recruitment requires a personal experience tailored to every candidate, which is more commonly known as the “candidate experience”. Whilst there are benefits to using Chatbots and AI to enhance the candidate experience, using a them for the whole process would lead to candidates being put off by the overly automated and impersonal process.
There are certain elements that are crucial to the recruitment process that require a human touch, such as:
- Understanding candidate motivations and needs: A candidate may look like a great match on paper, but Recruiters need to understand not only if they can do the job, but also if the company can fulfil their needs and motivations. Whether it be personal development, flexible working, or autonomy on their desks, it takes a physical person to be able to reason and understand what makes a candidate tick.
- Negotiating salaries: As previously mentioned before, Chatbots and AI have large databases of predefined answers for set questions and can only learn new responses once it has been taught. This could make the negotiation process quite problematic if the Chatbot is to deliver the final offer but would not have the logic think outside the box, which is why the human touch is essential for this part of the recruitment process.
- Selling the role: When Recruiters talk to candidates, they listen for key clues as to what they would be looking for in their new role and sell the company against their motivators. Chatbots and AI would see the process as “box ticking” and would not be able to replace a physical Recruiter in this sense.
- Having empathy: Building relationships with clients and candidates is a key part of our role, and building that trust and rapport is what gives us credibility in our roles. People do business with people they like, as the saying goes, and AI is not capable of building these kinds of relationships.
- There are too many variables: AI and Chatbots may be able to sell one kind of product that stays the same no matter how many times it gets sold. But in recruitment, no two candidates that you place will ever be the same. The ability to think outside the box, being able to reason, and pre-empt circumstances and all irreplaceable qualities that a Recruiter has.
In short, the use of AI and Chatbots in recruitment certainly have their advantages and would be extremely beneficial to Recruiters, however with limited ways of interpreting data and an impersonal approach, they certainly couldn’t be used as an alternative to physical Recruiters.
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