A bit of real talk here.
Despite all the hype and interest around candidate experience, a recent report by The Talent Board reveals many employers are guilty of some major failings: a mere 28 percent of candidates surveyed said they were notified that they weren’t being considered for a role, and only 31 percent said they would re-apply to a specific organization after their experience. Ouch.
There’s clearly a communication failure between organizations and the people they want to hire, at both brand and recruiter touchpoints. But tasking already-overwhelmed recruiters with improving candidate communication alone is a recipe for slow success, if not failure.
Enter artificial intelligence. It may seem counterintuitive that artificial intelligence could provide the insight and support to help recruiters be more personal and authentic, but there are key use cases for adding AI to your existing recruitment tech to humanize the candidate experience.
AI could provide the insight and support to help recruiters be more personal and authenticClick to tweet
Using AI to reply to every applicant
A SHRM survey found it takes an average of 9 days for recruiters to start screening candidates, let alone get back to them. And The Talent Board reports nearly half (47%) of candidates haven’t heard back more than two months after applying.
So how can AI help?
Ironically, one major way AI helps humanize the candidate experience is by letting candidates know they’ve been removed from the hiring process faster and allowing them to move on with their job search.
When a candidate applies to a job, AI recruiting software can instantly scan their resume for skills, experience and other qualifications and automatically grade and rank how well they match the requirements of the role.
Using an AI screening tool integrated with an ATS or CRM, every candidate receives a response within 24 hours – either with a request to move forward in the process or a rejection. And while rejections always suck, not knowing is even worse. As they say in sales, “The next best thing to a yes is a firm no.”
That same AI technology that automatically screens, grades, and ranks candidates can also provide you with details on which qualifications a candidate lacks, information that can be presented to rejected candidates as room for improvement. Providing feedback to rejected candidates on why they didn’t move forward helps create a high-touch candidate experience. Updating candidates post-application on their progress will already put you ahead of your competitors; adding useful feedback on top of that makes for a memorable brand interaction.
But, why stop with feedback? Using your existing recruiting tech like a CRM or Recruitment Marketing Platform, you can add silver medalists to email nurture campaigns, offering other open positions that might be of interest to them. You can even periodically check in to see if they’ve acquired any missing qualifications needed for future roles.
Using AI to communicate with candidates in real-time
A Software Advice survey found the second biggest complaint job seekers have is a lack of communication from employers.
Traditionally used in consumer marketing for companies that are service-oriented, chatbots enable talent acquisition teams to provide real-time, personal engagement to candidates in a digital experience. These recruiting chatbots can be used to collect information from candidates, ask screening questions, answer FAQs, and schedule interviews with a recruiter.
Sutherland, an IT service provider, specifically built its own chatbot, Tasha, to be a point of contact for candidates during early screening stages. Candidates can interact with Tasha through text message, email or a dialogue box where she answers basic questions, prompts candidates to return to the job application if they fall off, and schedules an interview.
As Kelly Culler, Sutherland’s VP of a Global Talent Acquisition, explains, “If you hesitate at a spot, or you don’t complete an action—it might be your assessment or scheduling your interview—she’s going to ask you why and prompt you to get back into the journey.”
AI is not solely responsible for crafting the perfect candidate experience, but it’s an important piece of the puzzle.Click to tweet
Tasha goes a step further to provide feedback about the candidate experience to recruiters. If the candidate does want to abandon the process, Tasha finds out why and “parlays that information back into our process and our sourcing,” says Kelly.
This feedback mechanism may prove to be crucial for Sutherland to improve their recruiting process and reduce candidate drop-off rates.
A survey by Allegis found that the majority of candidates (58 percent) say they’d be comfortable interacting with a chatbot in the early stages of the application process.
So, time will tell how mainstream chatbots become in the job search, but early signs are promising for both candidates and organizations.
Using AI to eliminate human biases
A largely overlooked benefit of using AI in recruiting is the potential to bring recruiters back to what they believed in when they started: helping companies find the right people … and vice versa. To find the right people, you need to consider every applicant, without our inherent biases (I know, it’s hard!).
AI can be intelligently programmed to avoid unconscious bias by ignoring candidate details such as names, graduation dates, and names of schools attended that can indicate gender, age, and race. For example, a male recruiter might automatically feel an affinity towards male engineer applicants over female ones. AI can help level the playing the field, presenting all resumes or applications equally without any tips or qualities that might skew gender or age.
For recruiters, bypassing these common biases expands the potential talent pool because otherwise qualified candidates are less likely to be overlooked for specific, but perhaps unwarranted, reasons.
At its core, the modern candidate experience delivers a balance of personalization and automation. AI may not be solely responsible for crafting the perfect candidate experience, but it is certainly an important piece of the puzzle.