her mannersAfter we teach our kids how to survive with things like getting food into their mouths instead of all over their faces, using their words to communicate instead of pointing or grunting and wiping their own butts, we move on to social lessons. Things like manners and social cues.

As we teach these lessons every day in the classroom or at the grocery store, it’s inevitable that we slowly start to hear that faint echo of our parents’ voices. It’s as if their voices have been channeled through our own as we constantly remind our kids that it’s not ok to burp without saying excuse me or to sneeze without covering their mouths.

We hope they’ll listen and learn because we know what happens to parents who have kids with bad manners. The look. That judging glare we get at every event where parents and children are gathered in one place and we decide who the “bad” and “good” parents are simply by their obnoxious child’s behavior. I mean, farts can become infamous in these parent circles and you’re the pariah of parenting if the story is about your kid – whether you make a great follow up joke or not. Not saying it happened to me, but it happened.

This judgement cycle is part of why that record never stops being a hit. We know we’re constantly being judged based on how our kids are acting. It likely inspired their watchful eyes and whispered threats. Even with all the technology in the world, they’ll never stop hearing our voice. Our reminder to be good people, to do the right thing. A lesson that will be passed down by our kids to their own someday. We hope, at least. At home and especially at work.

Moral Operational System

her moralsThe moral high-ground is a really vast space when it comes to hiring but some treat it like it’s thin ice. For example, why the fuck are we still talking about candidate feedback? Seems like a basic human right at this point. If someone cares enough to apply to a shitty job at your shitty company, and they don’t get the job, we have a moral responsibility to give them feedback as to why they didn’t get the gig.

Right? I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here. We can’t bitch and moan about them calling us back four times when we know the person that’s really in the wrong is us for not providing any feedback.

Then, why don’t we do it? The lame-ass reasons seem to be:

  • We’re lazy bastards
  • The volume of candidates is astronomical
  • Feedback is a major pain in the ass
  • We don’t want to give them bad news
  • We want to be liked
  • Oh yeah, it takes time we don’t have

Wait, time we don’t have. If only modern advancements in technology could come to our rescue.

{drum roll please}

Imagine a world where recruiters and hiring managers never gave candidates feedback. Where you could program your guilt away as actionable, brutal, thoughtful feedback that got delivered to candidates and no one in talent acquisition was involved with the distribution of said candidate feedback.

Seems farfetched?

WTF is a bot.

her and botsIn come the bots. A bot or chatbot is software that is designed to automate the kinds of tasks you would usually do on your own, like making a dinner reservation, ordering an Uber, adding an appointment to your calendar or fetching and displaying information. They follow a series of prompts and simulate conversation. Bots make you feel like you’re chatting back and forth as you would with a human. #ish.

Okay, but candidates want deeper, highly personalized feedback. That sounds great. But right now, 70% of candidates don’t get any feedback, so maybe something is better than nothing.

One is more than zero for the non-math majors at home. Sarcasm aside, we’re already using bots. Who hasn’t asked Siri an inappropriate question just to see how she would respond? We’re seeing a lot more bots than we even realize like:

  • Taco Bell has a bot that allows you to order and pay for tacos through an automated chat conversation. Tacos, I love me some tacos.
  • x.ai can help schedule your meetings for you. Add the bot to your email thread, and it will take over back-and-forth conversation needed to schedule a meeting, alert you once it’s been arranged and add it to your calendar.
  • Facebook Messenger has bots to help you order flowers or check the weather within the app.
  • Slack allows third-party chatbots for work that can coordinate lunch or order supplies.
  • Digibank is a bank staffed by chatbots intelligent enough to answer thousands of questions submitted via chat.
  • WeChat is a texting service where you can pay for services from verified companies and restaurants within the chat app.

This is really just the start. I’ve heard kids yell to Alexa, not Mom and Dad, to watch a show. We’re getting a lot closer to the Jetson’s than the Jefferson’s, folks. Hell, our kids might just ask Siri to teach their children manners. It’s assumed that the kids will be staring at the phone the whole time anyway.

Bots are a combination of technologies: Artificial intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning (ML), ubiquitous messaging, computer vision, speech, and serverless computing. By combining pre-set scripts and deep learning neural networks, bots can predict an accurate response to a posed question or statement in a way that skips phases of conversation to mimic regular chat.

In plain English, that means they’re really really smart. Smart enough to figure out how to get more than 30% of candidates feedback, even without being really specific. The bots understands language, not just commands. They’re even scarier when you realize a bot gets continuously smarter as it learns from conversations it has with people. That thing could probably learn manners faster than your honor roll student.

The Bottom Line

her do anythingOkay, okay, okay. At this point, you’re tired of me talking about bots. Maybe you’re terrified. In some ways, bots should terrify us at our core. After all, they could replace us.

That said, bots managing candidate feedback isn’t going to be easy, fast or cheap. And the naysayers and /or folks that generally hate technology will fight this advancement. They’ll say that this type of automated feedback isn’t personal enough.

Hold on. Really. A recruiter has never given the same feedback to 10 different candidates verbatim? Please.

Let’s be really honest here. Yes, candidate feedback can be standardized, it already is standardized, and it’s just not delivered in an efficient manner a la human beings. So, let’s take the human out of human resources already.

william tincupAbout The Author: William Tincup is a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. William has been blogging about HR related issues since 2007. William serves on the Board of Advisors for Engagedly, Echovate, Elevated Careers, VibeCatch, Continu, Hyphen, Bevy, Happie, RolePoint, Causecast, Work4, PeopleMatter, SmartRecruiters, Blackbook HR, Talent Tech Labs, and is a 2016 Council Member for The Candidate Experience Awards. He also serves on the Board of Directors for TDn2K.  William is a graduate of the University of Alabama of Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

By William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.