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Conversational AI for HR: How traditional recruiting is changing

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Times are changing. Or, rather, they’ve already changed. A staggering 86 percent of organizations conducted virtual interviews to hire candidates during the COVID-19 pandemic—and that stat is not expected to go down in the future.

This rapid shift toward remote interviewing means HR teams and recruiters must modernize their recruitment and hiring processes if they want to continue to attract, engage, and hire top candidates.

To facilitate a more seamless and effective recruitment and interview process in the age of remote hiring, many organizations are placing greater emphasis on technology that supports intelligent automation—particularly interview platforms that leverage conversational artificial intelligence (AI).

While conversational AI may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, recent enhancements have made it significantly more effective—and it’s now increasingly being used by HR professionals to improve the recruiting process. Conversational AI is changing the way recruiters and hiring teams can connect, understand and assess potential new hires.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what conversational AI is and how it enhances the recruitment and interview process to make it more efficient—and personal—than ever.

What is conversational AI?

In the past, conversational AI was used as the more intuitive version of a chatbot. Able to interpret speech or text for intent, conversational AI could, and still does, engage with others as naturally as a person could. It’s able to comprehend complex thoughts or phrases then respond appropriately mimicking natural human interactions.

Today, with enhancements in natural language processing, or NLP for short, (a technology that helps interpret normal speech) the value of conversational AI is even greater. It’s able to transcribe spoken conversations then sort content into measurable data points. Things like a conversation’s theme or speaker sentiment are clear and analyzable. After a conversation, spoken words become searchable via keywords in a final transcript.

These features benefit any recruiter or hiring manager looking to deliver impactful interviews. Especially when delivering interviews virtually, capturing conversations and converting them into measurable points means that hiring is no longer dependent on assumptions or gut feelings. The candidates are being assessed based on their own actual words, not recall or notes taken by interviewers.

Conversational AI vs chatbots

Chatbots that leverage conversational AI are becoming commonplace and are typically used for communication and screening in recruiting, scheduling, and onboarding for many organizations. But enhancements in conversational AI and natural language processing have given way to more advanced ways to leverage the information to connect on a more personal level, specifically in the interviewing process.

When intelligent interview platforms leverage conversational AI and natural language processing, they can accurately transcribe interview questions and responses and assess for sentiment, tone and critical insights. From there, recruiters and hiring teams can quickly understand major conversation topics that are relevant for candidate assessment and role fit. Hiring managers then have a clearer picture of who their potential hire is and can connect with them on a more meaningful level.

Having quality conversations is especially important when it comes to the hiring process, where positive engagement with potential candidates is critical. When using conversational AI and natural language processing to accurately interpret candidate sentiment, the benefit is twofold: potential employees feel personally attended to and hiring teams can have more insightful conversations with candidates.

How is conversational AI helping recruiters and candidates?

Now that we’ve established what conversational AI is—and its traditional and some more advanced uses—it’s time to dive deeper into what it can do for HR teams and candidates. Conversational AI improves the hiring process by creating a more personalized experience with candidates that is both scalable and efficient. As a result, candidates have a better interview experience and recruiters have more time to focus on identifying and cultivating top talent.

1. Scalability

When conversational AI is used by recruiters to communicate with applicants, more people are reachable than they could manage on their own. Conversational AI has the capacity to function at any time of day and contact any number of people. Hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates can be reached easily for interview scheduling, follow-up, or management of documents like resumes or portfolios.

Conversational AI can gather basic information from applicants and only pass along the best matches to recruiters. When recruiters aren’t overwhelmed by too many applicants, they’re free to build relationships with the most promising candidates.

When conversational AI and NLP are used to interpret virtual interviews, it allows for better decision making in the hiring process. As it transcribes and interprets themes, interviews become more insightful. Hiring teams can ask better questions and dive into quality conversations with potential employees. The better the conversation, the better the hire—and with great hires, an organization is poised for growth and success.

2. Improving efficiency

With only a few brief messages to each candidate, conversational AI can help narrow the candidate searches by selecting the right candidates to interview from a large pool of applications. It quickly identifies which people do, or do not, have the skills required to fill an open position, and only the best fitting job candidates are put forward for consideration.

When conversational AI is used during virtual interviews it’s easier for hiring teams to hire the right person more quickly. By analyzing interview transcriptions, themes, keywords, important ideas, or specific phrases can be searched quickly for hiring teams.

Assessing applicants is even easier when using conversational AI to interpret video interviews. It’s able to pick up on common elements that an interviewer might have missed on their own, like a second set of eyes (or ears). From there, conversational AI can reliably analyze interview responses for tone and sentiment.

Conversational AI can also extract major themes and topics so that highlights can be summarized and shared with other members of the hiring team. Communication between decision makers is quicker and more thorough, and candidate assessments are based on an accurate reflection of what the candidate said during the interview vs. recall from interview teams.

3. Improving candidate experience

Not only does conversational AI make the interview process more efficient, but it also greatly improves the overall experience for candidates. According to some statistics, 83% of candidates change their minds about a position or organization depending on a positive or negative interview experience.

After the interview, when conversational AI has been a part of the process, candidates offered a job are 38% more likely to accept. Why? Candidates who establish a connection with an organization are more likely to turn into employees. With conversational AI interpreting interview conversations, hiring teams can gain more insight into each candidate. This leads to more meaningful conversations, which leads to real connections.

As mentioned earlier, conversational AI makes interview transcripts and key elements of the interview identifiable and shareable. This allows for more efficient team collaboration between various stakeholders and quicker decision making, so the time between interview and feedback is shorter. Candidates won’t need to wait around too long hoping to hear back from recruiters—which both leaves a good impression and reduces any post-interview anxiety.

4. Frees up time for HR professionals

Not only does conversational AI improve the candidate experience, but it also greatly improves the day-to-day of recruiters. One statistic estimates that nearly 70-80% of a recruiter’s day is spent searching for potential employees and screening applications. With conversational AI, recruiters can spend more time on priority tasks.

For example, as conversational AI chats with candidates and passes on less qualified applications, hiring teams have more time and energy to connect with top candidates. Recruiting no longer carries the burden of responding to every application or answering uncomplicated applicant questions.

When top of the funnel candidate assessments are supported with technology, recruiters are able to focus on what matters most: matching the best candidates to roles. And with AI applied to the interview process, recruiting teams can assess the quality of candidates more effectively. When themes, sentiments, and applicant capabilities are interpreted accurately, recruiters and hiring teams have the information needed to do their job well and hire the next right person for the organization.

Modernize your interviewing strategy with conversational AI

In one survey, 96% of recruiters said conversational AI enhanced the recruiting process. Of course, not only does conversational AI enhance the recruiting process, it improves the interview process too. Able to transcribe and interpret interviews, it makes for more insightful and meaningful conversations with potential employees. It empowers recruiters and hiring teams to make informed decisions and hire candidates they understand thoroughly and helps facilitate meaningful interactions.

Where once the hiring process might have felt like searching for a needle in the haystack—or a four-leaf clover in a field—conversational AI transforms the experience. Finding the right candidate becomes less like an overwhelming search and more like an intuitive way to build connections. It creates an experience that is both positive and efficient, for both candidates and recruiters.

Wondering what a true intelligent interview platform can do for you? Request a demo today.