The wakeup call: Chatbots now, voice soon
Remember in 2010 — about three years after the iPhone was released — you heard that mobile Internet was taking over the world?
That you needed to go mobile?
That recruitment was going mobile?
People don’t apply with their phone. You want to take your time. You do that at home.
But now you see over 50% of your visitors to your corporate recruitment site visiting by mobile — and they still cannot apply.
Or at least in the Netherlands, they cannot apply at 65% of all corporate career sites according to research by Digital-Werven.
In 2015 about 75% of all corporate career sites did not have their vacancies optimized for mobile; thankfully this has increased the last few years, but I still wouldn’t call it “good.”
I would hate to put a number of the cost of all the missed applicants in these years.
Well, it’s 2010 all over again, but now for voice. This is your wake-up call: Voice is coming. One in six Americans have a smart speaker at home and 75% say they are never getting rid of it again. They love it. But it’s not just smart home speakers, it’s also Siri and the likes.
We are moving our internet interface from text to voice and you’d better be ready for it!
What does this have to do with Chatbots? Everything. Chatbots are the in-between step, and I’m not saying they will be replaced — just as websites will not be replaced, just as the web didn’t replace TV — but the focus will shift.
The importance will shift and candidate expectations will shift in the next 3 to 5 years.
There are basically the following kinds of recruiting chatbots available now:
- The information providing bots like JobPal
- Recruitment process bots like Ari or Mya
- Assessment bots like TalentSwot
- Sourcing bots like Robot Vera
- Engagement bots like Robo recruiter
I’m not going to talk about the different bots and how to use them. I believe you need to start using at least one of them in order to learn this type of interaction with candidates. The reason for this is because the basics are the same as with voice.
I recently talked to a voice developer and he even told me he’s now using a program that offers him the possibility to export his functional design to either Facebook Messenger or Amazon Alexa. That’s how similar the basics are.
And since both are conversational forms of communication, the expectations are that human interaction will probably be pretty much the same — with nuances of course. We do speak in a different way than we write (most of us at least).
From chatbots to voice
Will chatbots and voice-controlled bots rule the future?
I don’t think they will replace websites, but they can. I’ve heard about a Chinese chatbot in Wechat that actually has no website and does the entire application process, from information to applying to responding and the follow-up in the app.
I don’t know if we will go there fast, or at all, but it’s possible.
Recruiters, be aware of the changing interfaces your candidates are using and will be using. Prepare for it. Start using chatbots this year and learn from the experience.
In order to raise awareness, at least in Europe, we’ve invited a voice specialist to TA-Live (www.ta-live.com), the European Recruitment Innovation Event. If you can’t make it to Amsterdam the 20th of September, please do visit a voice event in your area soon and learn about the developments. Let’s not make voice another mobile where other departments are asking recruitment if they know it’s the 21st century yet.
Bas van de Haterd
Bas van de Haterd is a self-employed professional that helps companies recruit smarter by using the right technology. He is mainly known for his in-depth knowledge of pre-screening assessment technology. He also runs a research, award, and event called Digitaal-Werven that focuses on the candidate experience. Follow Bas on Twitter @bvdhaterd or connect with him on LinkedIn.
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