Chatbots have revolutionized the staffing industry’s top-of-funnel digital strategy. The benefits are numerous since chatbots can:
- Save time
- Increase diversity in recruiting
- Save money
- Provide relevant candidate information
- Improve candidate experience
- Source the very best talent
Not only can chatbots streamline staffing and recruiting, but they can also help with employee retention as well. The evidence suggests that chatbots are here to stay, but that doesn’t mean using chatbots can’t become a liability for recruiters and their clients. We’ve found some helpful tips to help you use chatbots without sounding like you’re a chatbot.
When chatbotting goes awry
Chatbots, for all their usefulness, can present a conundrum for recruiters:
- Chatbots can negatively affect a candidate’s experience. Some chatbots can become confused by a candidate’s questions or answers. Not knowing how to respond to a job seeker, a chatbot could stall out and become repetitive in asking them to repeat or rephrase their question. Some chatbots can even become unresponsive. This can make candidates feel like they’re getting mechanical or impersonal responses that reflect poorly on an employer.
- Chatbots can be heavily front-loaded tools. They are extremely useful in the long run, but setting up a chatbot can be frustrating and time-consuming (especially when you’re trying to get your chatbot to sound as natural as possible, and to provide relevant information to inquiries).
- Chatbots aren’t designed to identify the go-getters. While chatbots are great at increasing diversity in recruiting by reducing bias, often chatbots can’t identify that “it factor” that could make a candidate outstanding.
- If a chatbot is operating on strict binaries, it might include candidates who meet qualifications of a job description but who are mismatched to the company’s core values.
- Chatbots could also overlook ideal candidates who might not meet a specific requirement in the job description. This can be especially bad news for recruiters who regard required skills for open positions as more of a loose guideline than a strict requirement.
Even still, chatbots are an incredibly useful tool if you can get them to act and sound… well, not like a chatbot.
Tips to help chatbots keep from sounding chatbotty
Anyone who sends something funny to their coworkers by email or slack risks their punchline landing flat. Humor and nuance can be clunky and difficult to convey over text. Now imagine your understanding of nuanced social exchanges comes from a synthetic AI interface. Bots are only as intelligent as their design.
To engage authentically with job seekers, a bot should be able to understand sarcasm, read between the lines, or get the context of dialogue. This is often the first thing that will trip up your bot, creating a frustrating experience for your visitor.
The best way to avoid these awkward and frustrating interactions is to keep your chatbot simple and human. (We’re aware that humans are anything but simple, so stick with us here.)
Keep it simple
Your chatbot is there to be a helpful first point of contact, to direct job seekers or employers towards what they’re looking for, provide relevant information and hopefully get enough information to create a lead. Chatbots are not designed to interact with candidates on a deeply emotional level. They’re not therapists, and they’re not there to tell a story.
Keeping questions simple like, “Where can I direct you today?” or, “Are you looking to hire someone or get hired?” Also, be transparent with your chatbot. Using clear language like, “I’m just a chatbot, but I can help!”
Also, if you have a membership portal for job seekers or employers, don’t rely on the chatbot to take account numbers or passwords. Just have the chatbot either provide a login form or send the visitor to the login page. By keeping your chatbot’s interactions simple and clear, you can avoid getting into complex transactions the chatbot isn’t designed to handle.
Keep it human
Your bot can be fun without having to go deep. Writing emoji’s into your bot’s language and using colloquial language like “What’s up friend? 🙌” or “How you doin?” can go a long way to keep the conversation loose and light.
Also, humans make mistakes. So bots can also make mistakes and own up to them. Likely, your bot could trip up somewhere. It’s a good practice to plan for confusion and write a response that can keep the conversation on track and to find a proactive solution. You can do this by writing responses like, “Sorry! I’m just a chatbot, I might have blown a fuse there. Let’s get your contact info to someone who can help you more!”
People who interact with chatbots usually want help right away. Reinforcing how important it is that their needs are met and that someone will reach out to them immediately can avoid causing them to feel like they’re being given a runaround.
Go deep with proactive programming or artificial intelligence
Many staffers and recruiters might need to go deeper with their chatbots than surface-level conversation. Often, the people they’re dealing with are looking for work, and that can be an emotionally charged endeavor.
Deeper chatbot interactions require more pre-programing.
If you want your chatbot to keep up with deeper human interactions, you or a programmer will need to spend a little more time at the outset building out your bot for more complex interactions by:
- Mapping out the many different paths a job seeker or employer would follow through your site. Predicting as many scenarios as possible and writing a variety of responses to address each scenario.
- Program your bot to behave with more human characteristics by:
- Programming it to speak with a human voice
- Recognizing and combining two-part answers. Translating responses like, “I’m looking for a job” and “I’m interested in openings for engineering and technology” to “Find me open positions in engineering and technology.”
- Programming empathetic responses by prompting your chatbot to recognize certain trigger words and phrases such as “frustrating,” “fired,” “can’t get hired,” “job search,” or “unemployed.”
- Adding a typing status during longer searches. This will indicate that, just like people, the chatbot is working on the answer and hasn’t bailed on the conversation.
AI: better chatbots without the manual legwork
Many employers want a deeper level of interaction from their chatbots but don’t have UX designers, writers, programmers or conversation designers they need to build out the bot of their dreams. Then we turn to artificial intelligence chatbots who are programmed with machine learning and natural language processing to better understand and assist people and their needs.
AI chatbots might cost a bit more, but those costs are offset by the time and resources you’d otherwise spend having your own team predict, map out and respond to every UX path conceivable on your website.
Plus, AI chatbots only get better. With machine learning, they build on every human interaction. They become smarter and more efficient at completing tasks, so the longer they work, the better they get!
Consider other automation tools to attract and engage with job seekers and employers
Chatbots aren’t for everyone. We get it. Some staffing and recruiting firms are just set against the idea of a robot at the wheel. And that is okay! At Parqa, we’ve developed several tools to automate your outreach and engagement. We make attracting leads, nurturing engagement and growing your staffing and recruiting firm a snap by:
- Building out your ideal customer profile and buyer’s journey
- Automating your workflow
- Implementing your content strategy
- Providing useful, relevant data to help you make key decisions
If you’re ready to inject your staffing and recruiting firm with efficiency and scalability, contact the team at Parqa today. (Chatbots are also welcome! We can talk about the latest binary plug-ins, or whatever.)