Make Recruiting Easy with AI and Chatbots

In yesterday’s Advisor we explored the value of text and app based recruiting with Erik Kostelnik, founder and CEO of TextRecruit, and Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer of iCIMS. Today we’ll look at the rest of the interview with a focus on the place of AI and chat-bots in text and app recruiting.

Source: chombosan / iStock / Getty

HR Daily Advisor: What is an automated recruiter interface?

Erik: ARI or automated recruiter interface is an AI-powered recruiting chatbot that communicates with candidates through text message and live chat. ARI can engage in two-way communication with candidates to answer questions, screen candidates, and schedule interviews with human recruiters.

HR Daily Advisor: How do automated recruiter interfaces work?

Erik: We built ARI using IBM Watson, which means it has extremely powerful learning capabilities. We’re currently training it in the context of recruiting conversation with our data. Our customers have now communicated with over 3% of the U.S. workforce through text messaging. We’ve got an incredible amount of conversational recruiting data to train ARI with.

Essentially, ARI reads a text message and chat message, associates meaning to it, and chooses an appropriate response based off of a database of responses that we’ve built into it. ARI doesn’t create its own responses on the fly; they are all preprogrammed. We custom build each version of ARI for specific customer needs; for example, an ARI for a healthcare recruiting organization would be programmed with different responses than an ARI for a transportation company.

HR Daily Advisor: Can AI get it right?

Erik: AI is in no position to do everything that recruiters do, but it can automate repetitive, time-consuming work, and free up recruiters to spend more time with qualified candidates. Tasks like answering questions, asking screening questions, setting appointments, and sending reminders are where recruiters need AI’s help today.

HR Daily Advisor: Do candidates know that they are speaking to a chatbot?

Erik: The chatbots we build for customers almost always identify themselves as AI because we believe in a transparent hiring process.

HR Daily Advisor: Do candidates really engage with chatbots? Why or why not?

Erik: Candidates like engaging with chatbots because they value on-demand help navigating careers sites, learning about new openings, and being guided to the right position for them. Chatbots help candidates and recruiters alike by being a 24/7 information source when a human recruiter isn’t available. If ARI ever doesn’t know the answer to a question, it can pass the conversation on to a human recruiter to manage.

HR Daily Advisor: With e-mail, automated messages can often get flagged as spam or junk. Are there similar issues with text and app communication?

Erik: Candidates opt out of recruiting texts at a fraction of the rate of e-mail, in fact, our customers experience an unsubscribe rate of less than 0.1%.

Susan Vitale is the Chief Marketing Officer of iCIMS, and Erik Kostelnik is Founder and CEO of TextRecruit.