HR chatbots in the application process and onboarding

A shortage of skilled workers, creating a flexible working environment, demographic change: in recent years, the area of human resources has been under great pressure to innovate. Personnel departments are responding to changing requirements and are increasingly relying on HR chatbots. The rise of text-based dialogue systems is promoted by the fundamental change in the communicative behaviour of employees and applicants. The young generation in particular has no fear of contact with chatbots: according to a study by the job portal Monster, more than 60 percent of applicants from Generation Y welcome chatbots as “digital career advisors”.

HR chatbots can save recruiters a lot of work in the contact between applicants and companies and also create a positive application experience for interested parties. In their “simplest” form, chatbots on career pages answer job seekers’ questions about the company or the job advertised.

Tablets and smartphones are becoming increasingly important as contact points in job searches – a central argument for implementing mobile device-friendly chatbots. Another plus point: chatbots are available around the clock. The applicant does not have to wait for the office hours of the contact person to make contact by telephone, but receives the desired information immediately.

More complex HR chatbots not only provide answers, but also guide the applicant through a short interview. The information gained flows into an initial candidate profile and thus helps the HR manager to structure and filter the applicants. If such a virtual recruiter is linked to an applicant management system, this makes the entire candidate selection process faster and more efficient.

HR chatbots for onboarding can also help make it easier for new employees to get started. In addition to onboarding events, organizational charts and guides, chatbots answer the many questions of job starters interactively, intuitively and 24 hours a day.

Corporate chatbots

Employees of large companies spend a lot of time searching for internal, business-relevant information. Who delivers what? Up to what value may I accept a donation? Who is the right contact person in the marketing department?

Often, the answers are hidden in extensive internal documents, and the search for the relevant information binds the resources of the employees. Enterprise chatbots promise less frustration for the employee and more efficiency for the employer. In terms of content, a dialogue system provides the same information as a company’s memos and guidelines. The intuitive access to information makes the chatbot low-threshold and efficient. The user formulates his request in natural language without having to adhere to a specific form and receives understandable, practical feedback. Such interactive FAQs are already being used successfully in some companies.

In addition to being a pure question-and-answer tool, many internal processes can be mapped via an HR chatbot. Further use cases would be training of employees via a dialogue system, coordination of sick leaves or holidays via a messenger or feedback and employee evaluations via a chatbot.

How to implement chatbots

Chatbots that are individually adapted to a company do not come ready-made. The dialogue systems are based on machine learning techniques and must first be specifically trained. The potential questions and the resulting answers are fed into the system in a training phase – a time-consuming process that pays off in the operation of the HR chatbot.

The implementation of a chatbot brings with it a number of other implications in addition to the challenges of setting it up. IT security is as important a topic as data protection. A chatbot’s architecture should react flexibly to the growth or restructuring of a company – this must also be considered. Before an HR chatbot is set up, a lot of conceptual work has to be done and many departments have to be involved.

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