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If you’ve done any online shopping or research recently, you’ve likely seen a chatbot pop up and ask if you need help. Or try to get you to come back and buy those items you left in your basket...
As our buying habits change (see the last newsletter) chatbots are being used more and more by sales and marketing teams. And with their success, we’re starting to see chatbots used in other areas, like customer service - and recruiting.
But what is a chatbot? Read on to find out, along with why companies are using them. What results recruiting teams have achieved with them. And how they can fit into your recruitment process.
This is an area I’m really interested in. I’ve recently developed a chatbot for career sites that helps candidates quickly find the right jobs for them. Then encourage them to apply. Join the talent pipeline. Or ask a question.
So if you have any chatbot related questions, or would like to try one out, I’d be happy to help! You can get in touch by replying to this email.
P.S. Got a tip or something you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it - you can send me a note by replying to this email.
Before we go any further, it’s good to be clear on what a chatbot actually is.
In it’s most basic form, a chatbot is a program that answers a user’s questions - and hopefully helps them get something done.
If we expand it a little more, chatbots are made up of 2 or 3 of the following components:
Channels are the part we’re most familiar with. They’re the way we talk to, and interact with, the chatbot. This is most often via messaging, but can also be by voice.
Common channels are websites, Facebook Messenger, text messages, Slack, Twitter, WhatsApp, Alexa, and Google Home.
🤖 The Chatbot
Chatbots are computer programs that send messages to a user. And work out what to do with the inputs they receive.
There are a few ways that chatbots can understand a user’s input and work out what to send back in reply:
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. So in designing a chatbot, it’s best to choose the option that best helps your users solve their problem or achieve their goal.
Chatbots also normally have a database for storing information relevant to the conversation and the user. How and what is saved can help the conversation progress more naturally. And give a more personalised experience.
All messages between the user and chatbot are sent via the channel, which displays them. Or in the case of a smart speaker, speaks them.
But whether using messages or voice, there are far fewer ways to present information than on a website or mobile app. Which makes the design of the conversation crucial. Both how the conversation progresses, and the wording of each message.
🎛️ Backend Services
Backend services are other apps that the bot can use to provide more complex, and often more helpful, services to the user.
For example, if you have a chatbot that helps people book travel, you can connect to a travel booking application. Based on the user’s choices, the chatbot can then check availability for flights or accommodation. And even make a booking.
While every chatbot needs a channel, not all have backend services. Many can achieve their goal with a simple conversation. Such as answering basic questions. Or helping someone choose a ticket before sending them to a website to purchase it.
Now we have a good idea what a chatbot is, let’s take a look at why businesses are using them, how they can fit into recruitment, and what results talent teams have achieved.
This article provides an up-to-date overview of chatbots - and how they’re being used by businesses. If you’re not too familiar with chatbots this is a great place to start. The examples make it very clear and easy to understand.
And the key reasons why businesses are using chatbots?
While a bit narrow in their definition of a chatbot, this article gives a nice summary of how chatbots can help in recruitment - namely:
Yodel introduced chatbots into their recruitment process at the end of last year. As a delivery company, they hire a lot of drivers (around 4,500 each year) and focused their efforts on these roles.
Their main aim was to create a helpful, less time-consuming process for applicants. To do this they added a chatbot to their career site to encourage drivers to apply. And used a second chatbot to screen candidates after they had submitted their application.
By making the process more convenient for candidates, and their talent team, they achieved some very impressive results:
And to top it all off, the recruitment team have used some of the time they’ve gained helping their hiring managers and making them feel “special”.
If you’ve been buying anything lately, I’m sure you’ve noticed just how many sites now have chatbots. The reason they’re so popular is that they’re very effective in getting web visitors closer to making a purchase.
It’s the same thing in talent attraction - chatbots can help you get more applications by engaging with passive candidates.
This article provides a good overview of how you can use chatbots in recruitment - and why you would want to. From their research, they found adding a chatbot to a career site can:
👉 For the 4 min overview, check out the video at the start of the article. 📼
It’s still early days, but chatbots have enormous potential to transform the candidate experience. And by automating a lot of the mundane activities, they can, perhaps ironically, make the recruitment process more personal and human.
Do get in touch if you’d like to discuss chatbots further. And I’d be happy to share my chatbot with you - it would be great to get your feedback 😀
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