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Recruitment Chatbot: What is it & How to Build One
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Recruitment Chatbot: What is it & How to Build One

Illustrator: Adan Augusto
recruitment chatbot

In the past couple of years, chatbots won over businesses and consumers alike. Bot adoption in customer support, marketing, and sales, in particular, has been single-handedly stealing the spotlight. Yet, there is still more value to be found. For instance, did you know that a recruitment chatbot might just be the tool to bring communication back into the abyss of confused silence and wasted time that seems to embody the majority of current hiring processes?

In this article, we look into:

  • The challenges of the recruiting process companies face when looking for the right people from the talent pool;
  • How a recruitment chatbot can ease these pain points across the whole process from candidate experience to administrative tasks of your recruitment team;
  • How to build a functional recruitment chatbot without coding or need for AI

A Nightmare on Recruitment Street

It’s hardly inaccurate to say that the hiring culture today is somewhat broken.

During the course of my career, I have been both in the position of a job seeker and recruiter. I can honestly say neither of those experiences has been pleasant. At times, they’re outright frustrating.

As a job seeker, I was incredibly frustrated with companies that never even bothered to get in touch or took months to do so. As a recruiter, I used to be frustrated with the lack of time, resources, and an incredible tsunami of applications for every advertised position a devastating majority of which was not even qualified for the position.

Recruitment statistics stand witness to my experience.

recruitment-statisitcs

Were you aware that:

  • 65% of candidates claim they rarely or never receive updates or notice about their application?
  • If they don’t hear back, 85% of them doubt anyone has actually reviewed their application?
  • 51% of applicants that receive a notification claim it takes one month or more?!

Why is that a problem?

Well, to start with, 72% of candidates who did have a poor application experience claimed having shared it online on employer/business review sites, social media channels, or directly with their professional or personal contacts.

A Glassdoor study found that businesses that are interested in attracting the best talent need to pay attention not only to employee experiences but also to that of the applicants.

It seems the experience economy is not exclusive to customer experience.

You need to realize that not only there are hundreds of candidates competing for your position, but also, at the same time, there are numerous talent-hungry companies competing for the same pool of skilled applicants.  Needless to say, gossip travels in the talent community. If your hiring process is putting people off, you need to start working on improving the candidate experience. Otherwise, you are risking losing the best talent before you even publish the new job opening. 

Applicants are demanding, above all, better communication.

Incidentally, a well-designed recruitment chatbot can not only help you organize but also communicate.

What is a Recruitment Chatbot?

In short, chatbots are software that may or may not rely on AI to manage recruitment and communicate with users via a messaging interface 24/7. In fact, the industry estimates that chatbots could automate up to 70-80% of the top-of-funnel recruitment interactions.

So, what can these virtual creatures actually do for your recruitment process?

  • Gather applicant information such as their CV and contact information in a structured way that's easy to process
  • Ask key candidate screening questions about their knowledge, experience, and skills
  • Rank applicants based on metrics such as qualifications, seniority, interview test results, or even overall engagement to weed out passive candidates
  • Answer FAQs about the position and application process
  • Schedule an interview with a human recruiter or facilitate a human recruitment agent takeover during the course of a chat
  • Provide information on company culture and convey company character
  • Offer updates on application status
  • Do all of the above 24/7 and simultaneously serve tens or hundreds of applicants feeding the information to the management system/database of your choice

Moreover, recruiting chatbots can take on many forms and channels to fit your needs, including:

  • Email
  • Messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger
  • Websites and landing pages

What do Applicants Think About Recruitment Bots?

In a survey by Allegis, 58% of applicants were comfortable interacting with a recruitment chatbot in the initial stages of the recruitment process and 66% of them were comfortable with chatbots scheduling and helping to prepare for an interview. A more recent study shows that when chatbots for recruiting are involved on career sites, 95% more applicants become leads, 40% more of them complete a job application, and 13% more of them click 'Apply'.

Today, chatbots are far more common assisting users across a myriad of industries. It seems the hunger for timely answers and better communication beats the weariness of talking to a machine. Take an example for a real-life case study such as L’Oreal hiring bot. It's living proof that chatbots in recruitment can not only help your business save time and money but also eliminate unconscious bias giving equal opportunities to applicants of all backgrounds.

Can You Afford a Recruitment bot?

With the every evolving advancement of chatbot technology, the cost of developing and maintaining a bot is becoming more and more attainable for all types of businesses, SMBs included. In other words, when it comes to bots, the cost is not a roadblock it used to be. 

The boom of low-code and no-code chatbot software builders on the SaaS scene changed the game. 

So, now, the hardest part of the process is in choosing the best chatbot software platform for you.

There are many aspects to consider, though one of the most important ones includes the selection of native integrations and the platform's learning curve. They will inform how easy it will be to build and integrate your recruitment chatbot with the rest of the tools you use. 

You might also consider whether or not the platform in question enables the use of natural language processing (NLP) which makes up the base of AI chatbots. As it is, not all platforms or bots need to use AI. In fact, many successful chatbots are structured rule-based experiences. Indeed, for a bot to be able to engage with applicants in a friendly manner and automate most of your top-funnel processes, using AI is not necessary.

How to Build a Recruitment Chatbot with Landbot

In this section, we will present a step-by-step guide to building a basic recruitment chatbot.

If you want to follow along, register with Landbot for free!

Identify the Type of Chatbot (Or Branches within that Chatbot) You Want to Build

Naturally, you are wanting to build a recruitment bot.

But, as I mentioned before, there are a number of different tasks within the recruitment process this bot can cover. You can design one or all of the following:

  • 📝  Application Bot – Collects essential personal data as well as candidates’ experience & qualifications information. Speeds up the time-consuming screening process by pre-screening all applicants.
  • 🤔  FAQ Bot – Answers frequently asked questions about the hiring process & company culture.
  • 🗓  Scheduling Bot – Asks for additional information, provides interview prep and can schedule interviews
  • 🏅  Skill Test Bot – Sent to eligible candidates only. Tests position-specific practical skills.
  • 🤪  😩  😎  Attitude/Personality Test Bot – Can be used to test if the candidate’s attitude and thinking are aligned with company values and direction (e.g. being customer-centric or a good team player).

These tasks can be handled by a single or several different bots that share information via a common database (e.g., a Google Sheet).

It’s especially important to identify which of these tasks are unique to the open positions and which can be used on multiple occasions.

In a bit, you will see why!

Design a Conversational Job Application

Let’s start with a “simple” conversational job application form.

There are two ways to go about it.

When you enter Landbot dashboard you can either choose to build a new bot from scratch or look up a relevant pre-designed template. Templates are a great way to find inspiration for first-timers or to save time for those in a hurry.

The template offers a sample flow that asks the candidate for basic details but for the purposes of this exercise, we will make our very own.

Landbot’s drag-and-drop interface is very easy to use.

⚠️  Note: If this is your first time with the platform, you might want to check out our bot-building tutorial that covers all the basic features.

To kick off the application process, start by adjusting the Welcome Message block.

You can begin the conversation by asking personal info and key screening questions off the bat or start with sharing a bit more information about what kind of person you are looking for.

You can play around with a variety of conversational formats such as multiple-choice or open-ended questions.

To make things easier many of the common questions are already formatted (e.g. date, address, phone number, URL, Yes/No questions, etc.).

build-hiring-bot

You can even ask your applicants to upload files such as a CV, a cover letter, or a portfolio:

HR-chatbot-file-upload

 

Integrate the Bot with Your Preferred Management Tool

As you might have noticed in the screenshot above, each of the answers has been saved under a unique variable (e.g. @resume).

Within the Landbot app, you will find pre-existing common variables. However, you can always create new ones to serve any personalized purpose as we created above, just so you can get going creating an interactive chatbot resume.

Why group the answers under variables?

Well, variables are the key to effective automation. They allow you to easily pull data from the bot and send them to a third-party integration of your choice in an organized manner.

One of the easiest and incredibly effective integrations you can implement within Landbot is Google Sheets.

Example: Setting Up Google Sheets

Before you try to connect a particular spreadsheet to your application bot, you need to create a sheet with the information fields you wish to collect.

GoogleSheet-Bot-integration-codeless

Inside your bot builder, draw the arrow to create a new block and select “GoogleSheet.”

If you haven’t connected your Google Drive account with Landbot yet, click “Add Account.”

And:

  • Select your email address to access all spreadsheets on your Google Drive
  • Set the document where you want to store the information
  • Select “Insert a new row”
  • Assign the respective variable to the header of each row
  • Done, the spreadsheet will update with every conversation!

These simple steps allow you to screen through applications efficiently focusing on candidates with the right type or years of experience and qualifications.

GoogleSheet-intergration-recruitment-bot

Even if you are already working with a certain applicant tracking system, you can use Landbot to give your application process a human touch while remaining efficient.

Connect Landbot with Zapier account and send the collected information to virtually any tool or app out there.

Apply Conditions to Screen Candidates in Real-Time

So, now we know how to create a basic job application.

However, there are ways to take it up a notch and set sail towards the attractive horizon of sophistication 😎.

The Conditional Logic function allows you to hyper-personalize the application process in real-time. Simply put, when a field exists or equals something specific, you can contextualize the application experience based on the candidate’s answers.

To build a “Conditions” block, click on the green output dot from which you want to continue the flow, drag an arrow and type “Conditions” to search for the function in the block selector, and voila:

Essentially, you are determining “If THIS and/or THAT is true THAN this Happens”

You can use conditions to screen out top applicants as they are filling out their applications.

Example: Identifying Top Applicants

To separate top candidates from the rest in our fake sample application, I set the conditions of our application as follows:

When

  • @education equals XXX

AND

  • @yearsofexperience equals 5+

AND

  • @teamleaderexperience equals Yes

THEN...

Once you hit “SAVE,” you will be left with this block:

conditinal-logic-block

Condition block has two outputs GREEN and PINK. The green is the TRUE output and the pink is the FALSE output.

In this case, we connected the FALSE output with the original flow, storing all the information into the Google sheet.

What about if the output is true?

You have a myriad of possibilities and combinations to follow:

  • Knowing the applicant fulfills the essential requirements, you can personalize his or her application and ask them further questions. The kind you would usually proceed to ask after you screened through all the applications.
  • Send a Slack or Email notification to the responsible recruiter to notify them a qualified candidate has just applied so they can get in touch with them promptly.
  • Export the collected information to a sheet dedicated to top applicants only.
  • Schedule a Zoom call
  • Etc.

Conditional logic is just one way to go about pre-qualifying candidates. You can pick up more strategies from our lead qualification tutorial which might be focused on qualifying sales leads, but the inner workings behind it are the same!

If you choose your questions smartly, you can easily weed out the applications that give HR managers headaches. The kind that is not qualified for the role at all. So, in case the minimum required conditions are not met, you can have the bot inform the applicant that unfortunately, they are not eligible for the role right on the spot.

Automatically Schedule Interviews with Candidates

Having done the candidate pre-screening, you can design the chatbot to go ahead with scheduling interviews or pre-interview calls with designated employees or managers. 

The easiest way to do so in the Landbot builder is by making use of the Calendly integration: 

recruitment chatbot calendly integration

The setup is quick. All you need to do is to link the integration with the Calenldy account of the person in charge of the interviews and select the event in question. Next, create the custom message and button names. For more details, refer to the help center Calendly guide

Save Your Flows as Bricks to Reuse them & Easily Integrate Them When Necessary

Remember when I said identifying which recruitment bots were position-specific and which were generally applicable was important?

Now is the time to use that knowledge.

Landbot builder enables you to create so-called bricks—clusters of blocks that can be saved and used in many different bots.

For example, although requirements for every position are different, there is certain information you need to collect every time. So, instead of starting from scratch or copying an entire bot, you can turn the universal parts of your application dialogue flow into a reusable brick.

Simply tick the relevant blocks and click “Create Brick.” The brick will be automatically saved in the database along with the pre-designed bricks. All you need to do is to connect it to the rest of the flow:

Rename the brick and click “Edit This Brick.” When inside, you will be prompted to create an initial message that will serve as a connector to the “mother bot.” Finally, before you go back, connect the dialogue brick to the OUTPUT at the end to reconnect with the main flow.

edit-brick-inside-dialgue-flow-hiring-bot

⚠️  Note: If necessary, you can create more outputs to send users to different points of the main flow – depending on their answers.

Bricks make your backend conversation flow cleaner and more organized as well as speed up the creation of new bots with similar functionalities.

In a similar fashion, you can add design a reusable application process FAQ sequence and give candidates a chance to answer their doubts before submitting the application.

Remember, you only need to create the FAQ sequence once – even if you need to make a few changes for each position, it’s certainly faster to tweak a few answers than create an entirely new flow.

Below is how the brick would look in practice. Notice that when the user selects an answer that connects to the designated output, they reenter the main flow.  In this case, exiting FAQ brick means automatically entering the Personal Information brick. 

What Should Not Miss in Your Bot?

Before you wrap things up with your new hiring chatbot, you should ensure you covered all bases for maximum effect.

  • Ensure that the avatar character, as well as personality, match your company image and values (it will help you to find the right kind of people).
  • Abide by the basic rules of conversational design (otherwise you will end up with nothing more than a glorified online form).
  • Personalize the application process as the candidates progress in real-time (it’s an effective way to pre-screen all candidates and make sure you are spending your time effectively).
  • Make the steps and timeline of your application process clear to minimize frustration.
  • Notify unqualified candidates about their status as well, either using the bot or email trigger.
  • Thank your applicant, notify them about the next step and say goodbye (as you would at the end of any real-life conversation).

What’s Next?

Job boards are saturated with job offers with companies looking and ready to fight for the best talent they can get. If you want to snag the most skilled candidates, you need a recruitment strategy that offers a positive experience for successful and unsuccessful applicants alike.

After all, the recruitment process is the first touchpoint on the employee satisfaction journey. If you manage to frustrate them before you hire them, they aren't likely to last long. 

Employer branding and positive image have never been more important as quality experiences are becoming valued above all else—by customers and employees.

A recruiting chatbot brings “human interaction” back to the hiring process. It allows for a variety of possibilities to help you organize and streamline the entire workflow. It can easily boost candidate engagement and offer a frustration-free experience for all from the first touchpoint with your company. All that, while assessing the quality of applicants in real-time, letting only the best talent reach the final stages.

Bots are not here to replace humans but rather be the assistants you always wanted. In fact, if you don’t pick up the trend your candidates can beat you to it as CVs in the form of chatbots are gaining on popularity.

Curious?

Try building your very own recruitment chatbot today and bring your talent acquisition into the modern era of digital experiences. 

No coding, no hassle!

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