During our HR & AI panel, we discussed the benefits and challenges of automation and AI in the HR & Recruitment process.
Our HR panelists were Allys Parsons, VoiceTech & Conversational AI Recruiter at Techire.io, Dante Coladonato, Employer Branding and Onboarding Specialist at Clariant, and Scott Gilbert, Head of Global Talent Acquisition at Endress+Hauser Group. From the AI Specialists’ side, we invited Martyn Redstone, Chabot Consultant at pplbots and our very own Yaki Dunietz, CEO and Co-founder of CoCoHub and Jason Fredric Gilbert Lead Conversation Designer at CoCoHub.
The Connection between COVID-19 and Chatbots in the HR & Recruitment process
According to Martyn Redstone, In the last 3 years, there has been a lot of hype around the use of chatbots within the recruitment process, but the industry is not there – yet. “Recruiters, by their very nature, are conversational people, so they feel that applicants won’t like talking to a chatbot. So there has been push-back from the industry, who could use this technology to make their lives easier and the recruitment experience better”, said Martyn Redstone.
COVID-19 – The catalyst for digital transformation
“Nowadays, we’re seeing signs of change. The recent global pandemic has been a catalyst for digital transformation. Recruiters are used to a candidate-driven market. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, there weren’t enough candidates to have a good selection from, because unemployment in a lot of countries was at, or near, an all-time low. Unfortunately, unemployment has skyrocketed in the US, UK, Europe, and Asia, So recruiters are receiving a much larger number of applications״, he added.
“On an average day before the coronavirus crisis, 65% of applicants don’t get a response. So now the amount of applicants has doubled or tripled. The result is a poor experience for job seekers, who take it personally when they don’t get a response. Due to all of these, we see more interest in conversational AI and chatbots within the recruitment process”, added Martyn.
How do you choose the right solution for your company?
One of the pain points brought up by Scott Gilbert was – how to choose the right solution for your company? “There are over 1,600 companies offering solutions to HR and recruitment automation. Where do you begin? Then, once you’ve introduced tech to your company, how do you convince less technologically savvy people about the costs?”
Jason Gilbert replied: “We have a very fragmented market at the moment. Once you’ve decided to use Chatbots or Conversational AI in the recruitment process, there are two options. You can build it in-house, which means you have to build development and integration teams inside your company. Or, you can outsource it. It really comes down to a tough choice for HR, who don’t always have the tools and expertise to decide. Hopefully, the tools that are provided for the average user can become easy enough that anybody can implement them in their flow, chat, and organization”.
Tech-resistance in decision-making positions
Dante Coladonato, from the HR & Recruitment side, brought up a challenge some of us thought didn’t exist nowadays. He mentioned tech-resistance in decision-making positions. “How do I sell it potentially in places where the decision is taken at a more senior level? One that don’t necessarily get it immediately?”
Martyn said: “It’s all about putting together a strong business case. So we need to demonstrate a significant ROI. We talk about certain metrics within recruitment: empty-chair time, time to hire, etc. Those kinds of things impact an organization’s performance from an acquisition perspective. As long as you show significant value to the tech, most organizations will be willing to take the leap. It might not be a big one, it may be a POC for 3-6 months, or just ‘that’s big on our agenda – we’ll go for it’. Eventually, they’ll go for it”.
Niche vs. Volume recruitment
After that, Allys asked about the different AI and chatbot solutions niche vs. volume recruitment. “I focus on voice tech and conversational AI recruitment, and this is still a very niche and emerging industry so when it comes to hiring. So, it could be difficult to find people. How will that work with AI?”.
“Vendors usually target a specific pain point from a value proposition perspective. For example, if your pain point is hiring in high volumes such as Dominos Pizza, there’s a vendor out there that specializes in a conversational AI solution for that. If you are hiring high-value candidates, who are higher paid professionals, then it’s about delivering FAQ management by a chatbot. They want to know more about the company culture, office facilities, and questions like ‘can i bring my dog in?’. It’s about mapping out the pain points in a specific recruitment process, and working with it”, explained Martyn.