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    3-minute read

    Chatbots are fast becoming key workers in workforce recruitment and management, and this is why

    How we choose to communicate changes over time

    Remember when people used to pick up a phone receiver to make a call? That era has well and truly been lost to the dim distant past that we warmly reflect on—along with office memorandums, lift-attendants, air travel without queuing, and those helpful garage attendants that, once upon a time, would to fill your tank with fuel and save you having to step out of your vehicle.

    Most parents know that young people and children under the age of twenty-five don’t generally use the call feature of their digital devices anymore. It’s not clear as to whether use of smartphones for calls is totally dying out. Research on this topic is conflicted. What we do know is the smartphone has displaced landlines. One 2020 survey reported that 49% of respondents use their phone in and around their homes the most.

    And when it comes to picking up calls? Do modern smartphone users do that?Generally no. Eight-in-tenAmericans say they don’t generally answer their cellphone when an unknown number calls according to the latest user survey by Pew Research.

    We can all blame the Internet

    How we all communicate has been influenced by the rampant growth of always-on Internet connectivity. It’s created global markets. And customers expect businesses to be online 24/7 to serve us.

    Over 50% of customers expect a business to be open 24/7. (Oracle)

    Your helpful assistant on the other end of the line

    Chatbots use Natural Language Programming (NLP) to equip a robot with the means to communicate in a human-like way. Chatbots are growing in popularity with users, and the pace of adoption is growing quickly.

    Chatbots can save up to 30% in customer support costs. (Invespcro)

    80% of businesses are expected to have some sort of chatbot automation by 2021. (Outgrow)

    Training bots to work smarter

    Of course, it can be frustrating when chatbots aren’t able to answer questions that users take to be obvious. This has spurred on the use of Artificial Intelligence (using sentiment analysis methods) to ‘train’ chatbots to become better at answering questions. An example of this comes from EMO Technologies of Singapore. Early case stories suggest an AI-trained chatbot can answer 200% more efficiently.

    Chatbots in recruitment

    Like any business activity, there are plenty of opportunities to harness chatbots in the recruitment discipline. One of the areas where chatbots are useful happens early on in a recruitment, when hiring managers want to determine the best way to source their talent. Chatbots can perform a useful role in the triage of requirements to determine the best way to get a job done, instead of hiring managers naturally assuming that the only answer is to a requirement is to employ someone on a full time contract!

    Once a requirement has been published, no doubt candidates will want their questions answeredabout the company and its interview process. Gathering background information from candidates and onboarding them are other examples of largely manual administrative activities performed today by humans, where chatbots can lend a hand.

    Perhaps the most significant role for chatbots though happens once candidates have been onboarded. Workforce Management is becoming more automated these days thanks to chatbot robots taking the load on answering the many hundreds of enquiries that candidates raise on subjects like ‘How to complete a timesheet?’ and ‘What do I do if I need to book a holiday?’

    Final thoughts

    Chatbots are becoming key workers in the recruitment and workforce management discipline because they remove the human-in-the-loop. Specifically, they’re reducing the manual administrative tasks that have previously been fulfilled by program managers and administrators. Once the ‘human-in-the-loop’ has exited the building, so does their knowledge and experience. That means, stepping back to a more traditional ‘manual’ model becomes impractical, if not impossible.

    The reality is that companies no longer want to pay their outsourcing partners for processing activities that could otherwise be performed by machines. Just as happened previously with historical job roles like personal secretaries, filing clerks and draftsmen, providers unable or unwilling to automate the manual administrative tasks performed by program managers, background checkers and HR administrators, are finding it impossible to compete.