How Chatbots Can Help HR (and This Blog) Be More Productive

chat bot HR human resources recruiting

As a small business owner and entrepreneur, I’m all about productivity and prioritizing my time to ensure that I can do my best work while juggling clients and growing my business. The feeling of never having enough time and too much to do is constant. However, it is really not that much different than when I worked in HR. In fact, it’s exactly the same.

In the world of the entrepreneurship, productivity is critical to your success. However, in my experience, employees are not always celebrated for being productive or highly proficient with their time or effort. I think much of this stems from fear; the fear that if we are too good at our job or if we find an easier way to do something, we will be rewarded for our creativity and productivity by automating ourselves out of a job. I want to believe this isn’t true. I think that those who are productive should be rewarded through additional projects, new training and different opportunities within the business. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and I think that those who are highly efficient are seen as the enemy and become a target for roadblocks and office politics.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the small stuff. Those emails that seem to never end. It’s those administrative requests like paperwork filing, employee questions and business leaders.

It’s that small stuff we keep sweating and chatbots can help drive productivity allowing us to focus on the more strategic efforts by still providing a level of service that our employees and business partners expect.

Later this month, I am launching a chatbot on Workology. I am using Botsify. It’s not A.I., but has decision trees and I’ve built some assumptions into helping to provide answers and resources to blog readers.

What’s a Chatbot?

From SHRM: It’s a computer program that can simulate conversation—either via text or voice. Chatbots, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and armed with machine learning, can interact with humans and become increasingly agile with each interaction. Chances are you’re familiar with robo-assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. If you’ve ever interacted with one of these tools, you were interacting with a chatbot.

These tools can support recruiting professionals with the human interactions common to the hiring process—receiving a resume or application, setting up times for interviews, conducting interviews, making an offer, receiving an accepted offer and beginning the onboarding process. In short, chatbots can save time, expedite the hiring process and reach more candidates.

Recruiters are overwhelmed by too many open positions. Candidates are frustrated with hiring processes that they view as too slow. How can chatbots help HR and, most importantly, will candidates take to them?

Allegis Global Solutions conducted a survey in 2016 of 200 job candidates to determine how comfortable they were interacting with “online robots” during the interview process. The results:

  • About 57 percent of respondents were either “fairly” or “extremely” comfortable interacting with AI applications when answering initial questions during the application and interview process.
  • Candidates were most comfortable interacting with bots during the scheduling and interview preparation process: 66 percent were either “fairly” or “extremely” comfortable.

Using chatbots has become easier through open source development, and most require little or no coding. If you have a business page on Facebook for your company, you can even use an intuitive chatbot, like Chatfuel, for messaging via Facebook 24/7. Voila, 100% response rate for your business page.

Chatbots are unlikely to replace the human factor in recruitment. Ideally, they can take on the more labor-intensive, transactional elements of the application process, freeing up your time to focus on high-touch tasks in your recruiting funnel.

How do you see yourself using chatbots in HR? I see a lot of possibility from onboarding, to fielding generation employees questions to helping people navigate their company intranets.

Want more on how to get started with chatbots? Check out Entrepreneur’s Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your Business.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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