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Can Recruitment Harness the Potential of Chatbots?

Is the recruitment industry missing the most important channel to market?


Mobile = personalisation

Referring to ‘smartphone adoption’ simply doesn’t have any relevance as there are well over 2 billion people on the planet actively using a smartphone. Smartphones are fully integrated into the fabric of our lives and we use them, on average, for 2-hours a day with 52% of people stating that they check their smartphone within 15-minutes of waking up in the morning; what do we most like to see when we review our smartphone at this early hour? — I’ll come back to this point later in the post.

Smartphones have driven the development of messaging apps that have long surpassed the humble ‘text message’ as the preferred means of communication across all demographics; as of April 2016, WhatsApp held the top spot as the Number 1 messaging app of choice followed by Facebook Messenger, QQ International, WeChat (with over 700 million active users in China alone) and other platforms such as Skype and Viber.

With such personalisation available at our fingertips, my subjective view of the recruitment industry is that, in general, there appears to be a failure to harness this channel by prioritising and developing a mobile-first strategy. Equally, can creating an app be the most effective mobile solution? Companies with an ‘app only’ plan are likely to suffer as the ‘build it and they will come’ approach does not guarantee success; without a target market segment and a plan to engage a specific demographic, the likelihood is that these individuals will not even discover the app, let alone use it.

Recruitment = App-tastic?

Type ‘recruitment’ into the App Store search and you get over 70 apps to review which include the stable job board players such as Indeed, jobserve, Totaljobs, Jobsite and Office Angels — all offering you the ‘most comprehensive search engine for jobs’; the caveat is that you will have to do everything you would normally do on a desktop in the mobile app format. Is this an improved experience and is it any more engaging?

Within this list is also the ‘app offering’ from Global and UK established recruitment agencies, the digital recruitment boutiques players and specialised recruitment agencies offering you another way to ‘register’ with them and send your CV for ‘review’ for ‘future vacancies’. The jobs on offer are the same as the one’s advertised on the website, the ‘follow us on’ tags are the same to lead you to Twitter, Facebook etc; all this illustrates continuity; however, the lack of personalisation is equally consistent.

In contrast to the aforementioned apps, there are a couple of interesting propositions such as Debut, a Graduate Careers app that has added a layer of gamification to the search for a new opportunity. Another innovative proposition, jobandtalent, allows employers and individuals looking for a job to identify one another utilising location-based services, talk directly to one another in a chatroom scenario and then complete the hiring process all across a mobile platform.

In addition to Debut and jobandtalent, there where a couple of apps offering video-conferencing where you (the individual looking for a new opportunity) could record a 1-minute pitch that will be utilised when a relevant employer advertises a vacancy; alternately, an employer could meet and screen / interview a potential candidate by video conferencing offering both parties the chance to ‘ditch the CV’. Neither appeared developed to the point of being a convincing proposition, however, both offered a clear indication of what could be integrated into apps in the very near future.

Mobile = personalisation + engagement

Returning to my question in the beginning of this post — what would you most like to see when you check your phone? (regardless of the time of day).

I would venture that messages, photos and content from friends and family would be a priority — a welcome reminder that there is still life beyond the confines of the routine of a working day.

Numerous studies that stated that the majority of smartphone usage is focused on 1). Social Networking (i.e. Facebook, WhatsApp), 2). Gaming, 3). Entertainment (i.e. video content, news), 4). Utilities (i.e. bill payment, financial transactions and shopping) and then there is the ‘5th element’ — ‘Other’ which can range from anything to do with trying to learn basic Spanish for that trip to Madrid to starting a political movement based on the love of cat videos. It can be that random.

In my opinion, recruitment would be ranked in the ‘Other’ category; although, I know some would argue that it would could / should be classed as ‘Social Networking’.

My rationale is based on the fact that individuals would view contact from a recruitment consultant as sales-based and similar, in some respects, to a ‘push notification’. Regardless of how jovial a tone the recruitment consultant presents, the context of the message is ‘here’s something for you to consider’ as opposed to contact from a friend asking ‘hey, how’s your day going?’. Which one are you more inclined to answer immediately?

This is where ‘personalisation’ and ‘engagement’ are absolutely essential and a passive app is not going to encourage a response.

A recent article in Business Insider stated that over 11,000 bots came online soon after Facebook released a bot-development platform for Messenger; in addition to this, chatbots have been created for WhatsApp, Slack, Snapchat, and Skype and the numbers are said to be staggering. As we know, messaging apps already surpass every other social media channel in popularity and this means unlimited potential for AI-powered chatbots.

The future of customer service is already starting to be defined by chatbot solutions as natural language processing (NLP) is utilised to deploy self-learning chatbots with a key goal of learning more about you as well as ****us.

💡 References

Most popular mobile messaging apps worldwide as of April 2016, based on number of monthly active users (in millions) — The Statistics Portal — April 2016

Why it’s time your business went all in on chatbots — Business Insider — September 8, 2016.


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