AI in recruitment is a hot topic with the possibilities seeming infinite and endless, with the promise of shortening screening times, scanning candidates, reviewing CV’s more quickly to key match words with job specs; finding both the client and candidate the perfect career and employee.

One of the early moves towards AI is the use of chatbots. It’sbeen suggested that they could be used to initially screen candidates; findingout key information from the uploading of a CV, creating candidate profiles andshortlisting applicants. It’s thought that the use of them is more efficient interms of real time updates, feedback and the availability of answeringquestions. The aim is to create an efficient relationship with candidatesthrough the chatbots, as they ‘learn’ how to identify priority candidates andeven the best time and means to reach them. This seems incredibly efficient &very seamless; knowing how and when to always reach candidates and thelaborious task of CV writing, shortlisting and scheduling fulfilled by amachine counterpart.

Although no one will disagree that the removal of monotonoustasks will free up valuable time to speak with candidates and clients, theremoval of the initial personal process of phoning candidates is too importantto not be personal. A skilled recruiter uses that first conversation to extractthe relevant information which isn’t always on the CV, there is no standard wayto write a CV and even candidates forget the most necessary information.

It’s important to talk through and establish what thecandidate is looking for and how they feel about different options. Through asimple open-ended conversation, a recruiter could gather information that achatbot couldn’t; a conversation and understanding which can be more complexthat a standardised set of questions. The quality recruiter can also professionallyand delicately point the candidate in a different direction and suggest otherideas, a potentially un-programmable ability to spot a great potentialcandidate and fit them to the right role. Then there’s the composing of a profile for submission to the client,which for a skilled recruiter is an art, not just a reworking of words.

It’s also worth noting the chatbot experience itself from acandidate view point. It can feel impersonal and as if the information yousubmit isn’t really going anywhere. I think what is important to consider isthe process the candidate will undertake to engage with your recruitmenttransaction. Do candidates want to be greeted by a chatbot, with a set code ofgeneric and general questions to get basic details?

The process of looking for a new job can often make you feellike you aren’t getting anywhere, many applications sent out, yet nothing back.A specialist and experienced recruitment consultant will offer a sense ofguidance through the process, a further understanding on what you’re lookingfor and what the client requires, in order to fill the role so both parties arehappy. The chatbot initial screening and questions would just be another way ofsending your CV onto a generic jobsite, the opposite of what is expected andwanted when choosing to work with a recruitment consultant.

The intentions of AI are clear, in terms of a chatbotservice the economic and time saving benefits it could bring. But whencandidates choose to work with a recruitment consultancy, one of the mainpremises of this is the human aspect, getting through to someone, the feelingof progress it can offer in the process of job hunting. Replacing the initialstage of this with a chatbot will only create a frustrating stage ofun-personalisation found with submitting CV’s into large recruitment databases.Chatbots to many seem a sure-fire way to lose valuable candidates!