Alexa, Find Me a New Job! Exploring the Role of Recruiting Chatbots in Talent Acquisition

With 20% of American households owning a smart speaker like Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Echo devices, that simple request isn’t altogether out-of-this-world.


The ease with which we’re adapting to AI-powered devices suggests we’d be willing to hand over even the most impactful decisions like finding a new career or searching for top talent. And, in fact, the reality of this scenario is already alive with the introduction of recruiting chatbots – or “smart recruiters”.


For example, meet Mya .Or Olivia , Alex , Ari… The list goes on.


In the same way that Alexa connects with your day-to-day routines, each of these smart recruiting assistants leverages natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to engage with candidates. From the moment a candidate views a job ad or career page, a recruiting bot has the ability to interact with them and assist in the application, screening, and interviewing processes. Recruiting chatbots also integrate with existing ATS or CRM platforms, and even email, job boards, calendars, video conferencing tools, and more, with comprehensive, end-to-end support.


For jobseekers, these AI tools deliver feedback and answers faster than they otherwise might from the companies they apply with. For recruiters and corporate talent acquisition professionals, the sheer amount of time and volume of candidates these tools can screen is impressive, enabling them to focus on more complex, valuable recruiting tasks.


But can you really trust AI-powered recruiting chatbots?

Consider this: almost every AI-powered device on the market has been humanized by its manufacturer; Alexa, Siri, and Cortana, just to name a few. The reality that AI-powered recruitment tools have taken the same route, using human names to identify them, says something important about what people value in their interactions. In short, as impressive as artificial intelligence is, people don’t really want to think that they’re essentially talking to a robot. They still want the human element.


But even as recruiting chatbots appear more and more human, their core purpose or raison d’être is most assuredly not. Despite the power of machine learning and natural language processing, chatbots are still ultimately programmed to facilitate placements. No matter how intelligently and objectively this occurs, it lacks real-life relationship building and intuition-based decision-making that are essential to successful recruiting.


How do we know? Take a look at these examples, recently published in our “Real Stories from Real Recruiters” series:


  1. Steve was looking for a Senior Embedded Software Engineer .He came across the perfect candidate, but it was immediately clear that he didn’t trust recruiters based on his previous experiences. Steve was able to learn more about him and establish a genuine relationship in which the candidate felt comfortable with the opportunity we were presenting to him. Would he ever have trusted Alexa – or any AI recruiting chatbot – with his career? We’re confident the answer is no.


  1. Adriana was trying to place a referral candidate. He was incredibly smart but struggled with his interviewing skills. After three unsuccessful interviews with negative feedback from the hiring managers, most algorithm-powered “smart recruiters” would probably have tagged him in the system and moved on to more promising candidates. But Adriana didn’t give up on him. She coached him on his interview technique and ended up placing him at a job he loved and succeeded in.


  1. Steve was working with a client in the automotive space who had a stringent list of requirements for their open position and had struggled to fill that role for the last six months. Given that recruiting chatbots are programmed to simply match words from a job requirement or interview to a resume, it’s unlikely that the list of published skill requirements would have ever been questioned in the search for good-fit candidates. But Steve pushed back on the job description, boiling the list down to essential skills and experience, which opened up the talent pool and attracted a stellar candidate who still works there today.


Machine learning is smart, but intelligence doesn’t replace intuition and experience-backed insight. That’s where real-life relationships with knowledgeable and dedicated recruiters are superior. Yes, AI-powered recruiting chatbots are highly valuable in freeing up time and keeping candidates in the loop, but highly experienced, intuitive recruiters are irreplaceable.


Who’s in charge of your talent acquisition process? Our latest eBook explores this topic at a deeper level. Grab your copy of “AI in Hiring: The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?” here.