I first met John Sumser, the Principal Analyst at HR Examiner, and one of the most sought after HR technology analysts, some 20 years ago, back in 1998, or so.
That year, John hosted a cocktail party at his home in Milly Valley, CA for a small group of HR technology founders who where attending the SHRM conference in San Francisco. It was a pretty small group back then.
I’m not sure how it all came together, but the party started winding down, and typical to any great conversation with John, questions about the future of recruiting, technology, and the market continued to deepen. At the time, there were only a handful of ATS systems and job boards. Most ATS systems were customized resume scanning systems that took paper and fax resumes, digitized them, and made them searchable.
The conversations continued late into the evening, concluding with conversations of mergers and acquisitions, while enjoying John’s hot tub. A memorable night for sure.
I recently had the honor of speaking with John on the HR Examiner Podcast series, where we talked about Recruiting AI, chatbots, text messaging, and loads of other technologies entering the recruiting and HR markets.
Over the years, I’ve had numerous memorable conversations with John, an wanted to share a couple of my favorite “Sumser Quotes”. (they’re paraphrased.)
A Social Network for unemployed people?
“Who would ever want to join a social network of other unemployed people? That makes no common sense. Who wants to hang out with bunch of equally depressed unemployed people?”
… John’s response to my question; “What do you think about Jobster?” at the Jobster launch party at ERE in San Diego 2004? Well we know how that story ended. Meanwhile, another little company had yet to surface publicly in the recruiting space, a social network for professionals… LinkedIn.
Diversity in the workforce:
“Here’s the problem with solving diversity in the workforce.
Say your company has been successful for years, and the one thing that’s unique about your culture is that everyone wears a clown suit.
As business continues to grow, you need to bring on more people.
So you interview some great people and hire who you think will be a great employee.
Then, on the new recruits first day of work, they show up bright and early… wearing lederhosen!
Now what do you do?
Do you make them change to a clown suit? Do you make everyone else wear Lederhosen? Do you find a way to embrace clown suits and lederhosen?”
If you ever get a chance to sit down and have some deep conversations with John, I’d highly recommend it.
Beware; Be prepared to think! Bring an open mind! And, Good Ideas and Data, go a long way!
Recruitment Automation is quickly coming to staffing firms, recruitment process outsourcing (RPOs), and corporate talent acquisition teams.
What is Recruiting Automation?
Let’s define Recruitment Automation as automating, or eliminating, human steps, or workflow processes within the recruiting process.
We’ve been automating recruiting for years, so what makes today’s automation different?
Over the last 20 years, we’ve been automating recruiting tasks like posting jobs to job boards, using email to reach candidates, etc. Prior to Indeed and mass job aggregation, most job postings were only visible on corporate career sites. The majority of the job postings never made it to job boards, because of the human cost on posting jobs. Job scraping and job distribution, and now predictive pay-per-click and pay-per-applicant tools from Job2Careers.com and AppCast.com have automated the ability to post jobs everywhere, and do it cost-effectively.
If you break down the recruiting process, Bill Boorman, suggests there are 88 individual steps required to hire someone. Many of those steps involve human steps that require significant training, follow-up, lots of attention to detail, and unfortunately… work. A recruiter, or hiring manager, needs to screen the inbound candidates, for basic requirements, and then reach out to them for an initial “pre-screen”, to find out if they are Qualified, Available, and Interested (QAI). For most recruiting organizations, this is where the problems start.
To get ahold of a candidate, recruiters have had two primary tools, a phone, and email. No one is picking up the phone these days, unless they know who it is.
And, emails aren’t being opened, read, or responded to. So, recruiters are sending more and more emails. Making more and more phone calls, just to keep up. They’re also losing candidates in the process because the recruiters can’t manage the flow of the data and conversations.
Messaging and Chatbots are leading the new Recruitment Automation
Contacting job seekers via email is simply getting tougher and tougher. Emails aren’t being opened (14% open rates and 2% click-through rates), whereas Text Messages are getting deliver 95% of the time, and responded to within minutes and hours, instead of days. Text Recruiting with job seekers and over sms messaging is by far the fastest way to get candidate responses and move candidates through the recruiting process.
If the above paints a dark picture, just remember, it can get even worse, because most candidates you want to recruit, are probably already working, which means they probably can’t have a call during their work hours. In the US, we’re currently at near “Full-employment”. Replacing turn-over candidates is becoming harder and harder, let alone, adding to the workforce.
These types of process changes, predominantly use chatbots and messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Text Messaging, and Web Chat, to communicate with candidates, while engaging and pre-screening them for their Qualifications, Availability, and Interest in the company.
Chatbots work 24/7, don’t require time off, and continue to learn as they respond to candidates using their existing smartphones, without the need to download another application.
Messaging is High-Touch, Personalized, and Private
If candidates are ready to leave their current employer, they have options, and companies need to act fast, and respond to candidates quickly if they want to interview and hire them. Dropping the ball, and not responding to candidates quickly enough, is going to become a bigger and bigger issue as the competitive nature for talent continues.
So, back to Recruiting Automation…
Tips for implementing Recruiting Automation in your business Today.
Here are some areas where you can implement some recruiting automation in your recruiting practices today:
Sending Text Messages to candidates. If you aren’t doing this yet, ask yourself why you and your organization aren’t doing this. It works. It’s proven. and your competitors already are doing it. Are you worried about how candidates will respond? Good. You should be. Take it slow. Make your text messages personal. Respond back to candidates quickly. And, use a tool desktop application like GoHire, that not only let’s you use a keyboard, to type faster, but also stores all your candidate conversations.
Add a Career site Chatbot to your career site. Candidates have options, so you need to make it easy for interested candidates to learn more about your company, the role, and your culture. Only 8.52% of your site visitors will apply for a job. Adding Web Chat to your career site is relatively inexpensive, and can increase your candidate flow by 100%. Essentially, allowing you to engage and convert 100% more candidates, then before web chat.
Add a Text Messaging Chatbot, or an Apply By Text chatbot as a way for candidates to engage your company. For instance, in the retail and hospitality fields, you can advertise Text “Jobs” to 415-980-1270, and let candidates engage with you, create profiles, answer pre-screening questions, and even set up a time for an interview, all from their smartphone and text messaging.
If you want to automate reach-outs to existing candidates, to ask some basic questions, pre-screen them, or see if they have specific skills needed for a role, Text Messaging with a Chatbot can help.
How it works: Using GoHire’s Text Messaging system, send the candidate a templated response
What if recruiters could spend more time with the highest-value candidates, while candidates could also get immediate responses, and even status updates on their application process.
What if candidates could ask questions of recruiters, 24/7, to learn more about the company, and the specific role they’re looking at.
What if candidates to quickly engage companies without having to fill out 20-40 “required fields”, just to learn more about a company, their culture, and the role?
These are not only possibilities, but they are already realities for some of the early adopters of Recruiting Automation.
The recruiting process is filled with manual, redundant, and time and sequence-dependent tasks that can be automated with a recruitment chatbot or recruiting automation. Adding a recruiting chatbot into your recruiting workflow can be very easy and very effective. Below are some recruitment chatbot examples and the beginnings of a recruitment chatbot case study to help you understand what makes the best chatbots for recruiting.
What are Recruitment Chatbots?
Recruitment chatbots, or virtual recruiting assistants, are computer software program that can perform tasks like engaging with candidates, pre-screening candidates, or automating interview scheduling, using multiple messaging channels, like text messaging, Facebook Messenger, and webchat.
These tasks can be voice requests, like asking Siri or Google Assistant to look up information, or can be a candidate responding to a job ad over text messaging.
Recruiting Chatbots can be deployed on multiple platforms; including, Facebook Messenger, SMS / Text Messaging, and web chat (and more).
What is Recruiting Automation?
Recruiting Automation is the process of studying the recruiting process steps required to hire an employee. Once the process is documented, the steps can be reviewed to determine which steps might be reorganized, removed, or automated, based on current needs and available technology and resources.
Below are several recruitment chatbot examples as well as companies using chatbots in recruitment and how they’re implementing automation. There are lots of different types of recruitment chatbots and how they can automate certain steps in the recruiting process.
What are the best chatbots for recruiting?
The best chatbots for recruiting are the ones that solve your specific recruiting process for your candidates, your specific company workflows, and integrate into your existing ATS and technical stack. In nearly all cases, chatbots are customizable, so the best chatbot for your recruiting process and your candidate experience is the one that can be configured for your recruiting needs.
Who are some companies using chatbots in recruitment?
More and more companies are starting to use chatbots in recruitment; from high-volume retail and restaurants to manufacturing, warehouse, trucking, staffing, and healthcare. Here are some examples:
1. Job Postings with an Apply By Text pre-screening text chatbot.
Over the last 10 years, most larger companies have posted jobs to job boards, with links to apply on a corporate career site. In most cases, 90% of the time, visitors don’t actually apply through this process. They visit the site and leave, without providing any contact info. Chatbots are changing this. With an SMS / Text Messaging chatbot candidates are encouraged to
Text “Jobs” to 415–980–1270
(The above is a live Text chatbot, that includes
Candidate Profile Creation, Pre-Screening, and Meeting scheduling)
This is a great tactic for Retail, Hospitality, and other part-time hourly positions. With near full-employment hiring managers need to make it easy for candidates to apply for positions. Typical in-store recruiting messaging sends candidates to the corporate career site to apply, where we know 90% of visitors leave without applying. With a Text Messaging based chatbot, candidates can start the recruiting process while onsite, by texting the companies chatbot. Candidates can enter their contact info, their desired location, answer pre-screening questions, and even schedule onsite interviews.
3. Candidate Pre-Screening
One of the largest time blocks involved in recruiting is screening candidates. Most of the time, recruiters confirm the candidates QAI, during a first-round pre-screening phone call. This isn’t scalable. Wouldn’t it be easier to just send a candidate a text message, that leads them through a pre-defined series short questions that pre-screens them for a role? Recruiters could literally send hundreds of these text messages in a couple of minutes, and literally get hundreds of responses in minutes, vs days, or weeks, with phone calls and emails.
4. Automated Message Sequences over Messaging, for quick responses
Text Messaging is by far, the most effective way of communicating with job seekers today. LinkedIn emails aren’t being read or responded to. The open rate for emails is below 14%. Meanwhile, candidates open text messages about 95% of the time and respond quickly. Usually in minutes vs hours or days. Recruiters often need to confirm details, appointments, or communicate quick questions or steps. Text messaging is great for this type of quick, short messages, and candidates love it too!
5. Interview Scheduling
Another major time-dependent task is interview scheduling. Simply calling candidates isn’t very effective anymore. Candidates aren’t answering calls from unrecognized phone numbers. Calling candidate in the middle of their current job is inconvenient, and playing the back and forth “what time works for you” is a miserable waste of time for everyone. Recruiting Chatbots are great at doing this like automated scheduling, making it easy for recruiters to invite candidates to schedule something on the recruiter, or stores recruiting calendar. Imagine a candidate goes through a pre-screening process, and at the end of the process, they are given the opportunity to schedule a pre-screening phone call or even a retail onsite meeting. Try the demo below, that’s exactly what it does.
6. Career Chat – Web chat for Candidate Engagement (Live Agent and Chatbot modes)
In the Jobvite 2017 Recruiting Funnel report, only 8.52% of career site visitors actually completed an application. That means that approximately 91% of candidates visited a career site and left without providing any contact information to contact them in the future. Career Chat, in either Live Agent, or chatbot modes, can engage candidates, answer questions, pre-screen candidates, build candidate profiles, and allow candidates to search for jobs and even schedule interview times. The engagement abilities of a web chat solution are almost limitless, and the conversion rates are far superior to most corporate career sites.
7. Facebook Careers Page Engagement
Facebook recruiting is becoming more and more popular. Facebook Groups and Facebook promoted posts are generating applicants for many employers. But, Once a candidate gets to your Facebook Careers Page, what are they supposed to do? With an automated Messenger Recruitment Chatbot, candidates can “Send a Message” to the Facebook page chatbot. The Messenger chatbot can then engage the candidate, ask for their profile information, show them open jobs, videos about working at your company, and even create Job Alerts, over Messenger.
8. Candidate Experience with FAQs
Candidate experience is becoming critical in today’s recruitment marketing. With near full-employment in many areas of the US, candidates more options than ever before. As such, Talent Acquisition leaders need to make it easy, simple, and engaging, during the candidate journey. Recruitment Chatbots can not only engage candidates in a Conversational exchange but can also answer recruiting FAQs, a barrier that stops many candidates from applying. With a recruiting web chat solution like Career Chat, candidates can learn more about the company and engage recruiters in Live Agent modes, or Chatbots in automated modes.
9. Job Fair Chatbot Registration & Reminders
Job Fairs or onsite recruiting events are becoming more and popular as a way to engage multiple candidates at once, interview them and even provide contingent offers onsite. The problem is generating interest, and then getting a candidate to show up. With a Text-based Job Fair Registration chatbot, employers can advertise their job fair on sites like CraigsList, using a call to action to “Text” your local chatbot phone number. Then, the job fair chatbot responds, registers the job seeker, and can then send automated upcoming reminders; including times, directions, and even the option to schedule a specific time to meet.
10. Job Alerts over Messaging
Recruitment Marketing Automation, for most companies, consists of sending automated job alerts via email. Email has an open rate of about 14% and email job alerts have a click-through rate of about 2% (based on statistics from GoJobs.com ). Messaging Job Alerts, however, gets 95% Open Rates and 21% clickthrus.
Messaging is killing email, especially for the part-time hourly workforce. Currently, 25% or more, of the US workforce either doesn’t have or doesn’t use email regularly, to communicate. This number is only getting bigger, as the Messaging-First workforce continues to grow.
11. Employer Branding Content Distribution over Messaging
Engaging the right candidates is becoming crucial for employee retention. Unfortunately, Employer Branding is often expensive and time-consuming because it entails building content (article, blog posts, employee interviews, videos, etc), and then marketing that content to your primary candidate pool. While many companies are doing great at building employer branding content and getting that content on their career site, how many candidates are seeing it? How trackable is branding content? With chatbots, it’s possible to send automated messages to your existing subscribers, with your latest blog posts, videos, etc. all over multiple messaging platforms.