HR Tech: the year of chatbots and improved employee experiences.

My most significant learning from last week’s HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas relates to how chatbots and online discussions are being used to improve the employee experience. Not only are there chatbots that can automate and provide instantaneous communications with those who apply to your applicant tracking system but also, there are chatbots that can answer the common questions to HR on a 24/7 basis or provide career development.

Many of these chatbots can save human resources organizations time and money. Some, like recruiting chatbot AllyO, can save their clients 60% in costs per hire and dramatically raise job candidate satisfaction.

But are job candidates and employees open to chatbots?

According to the 2018 Jobvite Recruiter Nation report, 43 percent of recruiters use texting to reach out to job candidates or current applicants, and 88 percent report positive feedback from the job seeker (and 4 percent negative feedback).  Different generations, however, have slightly different attitudes about receiving a text. Among Generation Z (who are now leaving college), 46 percent like it. Among millennials, 43 percent like it. Among baby boomers, 36 percent like it. Frankly, I am surprised by how many baby boomers are open to chatbots.

With recruiting, openness to chatbots depends, I believe, on the level and type of position. The lower the job level and the younger the job applicant, the higher the acceptance of chatbots. The trend is changing, and chatbots will gain increased acceptance over time.

Regarding general HR information, employees I have spoken with are open to receiving basic policy, onboarding, or benefit information from chatbots like calling an HR 1-800 number and speaking with a call center employee. They like the chatbot better if it lessens the time to receive an accurate answer, and if it provides 24/7 availability. Keep the call center employee for the more complex issues.

Here are three examples of HR Tech award-winning AI and chatbot platforms as announced by HR Tech Insiders from HR Executive Magazine:

  1. AllyO. The AI and chatbot platform AllyO won the top product award at HR Tech. It can automate the hiring process by scanning and parsing applications, connecting with candidates via text and web chat to update them on their status, screening them into a job requisition and then immediately adding them to an employers’ applicant tracking software. Those of you who have purchased my book Hack Recruiting will have access this week to my video podcast with AllyO co-founder Sahil Sahni.
  2. MIRA. Montage Intelligent Recruiting Assistant (MIRA) offers a suite of recruiting tools that aim to enable faster, more efficient processes, such as on-demand text interviewing, automated self-scheduling and “Unbiased Candidate Review.” This last feature masks candidates’ identities during on-demand video interviews to help ensure that decisions are based solely on the content of their responses.
  3. Olivia HIRE by Entirely mobile-enabled, Olivia Hire facilitates each step of the hiring process for busy restaurant and retail hiring managers, eliminating recruiter involvement or lengthy times-to-fill. Chatbot “Olivia” bridges the gap between candidates and hiring managers by determining eligibility for candidates and collecting a pool of candidates for hiring managers. Olivia also can eliminate administrative tasks, such as sending offer letters and onboarding documents, helping ensure both candidates and hiring managers are up to speed and using their time effectively.

I was intrigued by the HR Tech Pitchfest competition, which has two categories of winners, one from the judges and another winner based on the votes from attendees.

The winner of HR Tech’s Pitchfest (which is like a Shark Tank) was PILOT.Coach. PILOT is a software that helps HR and management develop employees using software-based coaching. With its technology, PILOT enables affordable and various forms of online coaching for employees throughout your organization.

The Attendee Choice Pitchfest Winner (and a close second to the Pitchfest competition) was Ai4Jobs by ThisWay Global. Ai4Jobs uses a powerful AI technology to find and match job candidates without bias. (Full disclosure: I use it). My video podcast with ThisWay Global Founder and CEO Angela Hood, will be released this week.

To learn all of the product award winners, see the Sept, 24th issue of HR Executive Magazine.

Smaller and midsize companies that are interested in using chatbots to answer commonly asked questions of HR 24/7 should consider technologies not at HR Tech, such as MeBeBot. This technology saves HR departments a lot of time, improves employee engagement, and is easy to implement.

Smaller companies looking to streamline and automate more of their recruiting platforms should consider Bevov. Bevov saves recruiters time and money, improves employer brand, and recommends the top five job candidates.

Companies that invest in HR technology need to remember that technology alone is not a silver bullet. In order to realize the full investment in technology, HR and managers need to streamline their processes, measure them, and train managers to interview well and to control their biases, lead teams, and provide feedback.

Are you considering chatbots to improve the experiences of your employees?

Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting. Today’s blog has excerpts from his new book: Hack Recruiting: the Best of Empirical Research, Method and Process, and Digitization. You can buy it online at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Archway Publishing.


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