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The Recruitment Chatbot: Coming Soon to An Office Near You

Rullion investigates how the latest AI advancements will benefit recruiters

Intelligent robot assistants are no longer science fiction: they’re already here.

In July 2016, a San Francisco HR technology company unveiled the world’s first fully automated recruitment assistant, Mya, which promises to streamline the process of hiring candidates in a whole new way.

The Robot in the Workplace

Mya is a chatbot which uses natural language processing and machine learning technologies to automate up to 75 per cent of the recruitment process, freeing human recruiters to focus on the most important interactions. Mya can pre-screen candidates and communicate with them in real time across various channels, such as SMS, email and Facebook Messenger. She can answer frequently asked questions, provide personalised updates and alert all candidates when a position has been filled.

Mya Systems claim the technology is already producing impressive results for its clients, including a 70 per cent decrease in the amount of time to hire, and an overwhelming improvement in candidate engagement. Naturally, this has spearheaded healthy investor interest: just this month, the company announced it had attracted funding of $11.4 million, which will be used to expand its team and further develop the chatbot’s capabilities.

In an email to tech news website VentureBeat, Mya founder and CEO Eyal Grayevsky explained how he wanted to help fix the disconnect between employers and candidates. “The existing recruiting landscape is made up of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), online assessments, job boards, and professional networking sites,” Grayevsky wrote.  “The market is broken, as evidenced by the fact that 75 per cent of workers submitting applications don’t hear back from employers and 54 per cent of employers say it’s become more difficult to find qualified candidates. [1]

Mya is ‘disruptive in every way and set to revolutionise the talent pipeline’ according to international human resources executive Louis Efron, the former Head of Global Employee Engagement for Tesla Motors. “Mya is set to transform the way companies qualify, engage, and nurture large candidate pipelines—offering job seekers much-needed updates, feedback, and guidance throughout the application and interview process,” Efron predicted in an article for Forbes.

“One of the most notable pain points for recruiters today is the “spray and pray” approach to job searching, whereby job seekers apply to every posting that is a near match. As a result, recruiters are often inundated by low quality applicants and locked into a tedious and inefficient process. Mya solves this problem by eliminating irrelevant resumes, engaging directly with viable candidates, and uncovering valuable insights to help recruiters make better hiring decisions. [2]

Trailblazers

Another company intent on changing the nature of recruitment is Beamery, founded in 2014, with offices in London, Austin and San Francisco. The firm, which lists Facebook and House of Fraser among its clientele, has developed a cloud-based system of ‘candidate relationship software’ which enables companies to establish more enduring and beneficial connections with talented candidates, including those who are not actively looking for a new role.

The system links in to a company’s existing ATS, email and calendars. Beamery uses algorithms to gauge whether applicants are likely to be a good fit with an organisation, as well as when they are more likely to be open to offers. By treating candidates like valued customers, Beamery claims that it has vastly improved the efficiency and effectiveness of talent acquisition strategies. The company’s website states that its system can reduce the cost of new hires by 39 per cent and time to hire by 31 per cent.

Also at the cutting edge of AI recruitment is ThisWay Global, a start-up based at ideaSpace at the University of Cambridge. The company has used its diverse research and development team, drawn from 14 countries, as a reference point to develop a machine-learning system which aims to overcome the hurdle of conscious and unconscious bias in candidate profiling and selection. ThisWay Global says its system eliminates the risk of ‘decision fatigue’ as it can do in minutes what would take a human recruiter a week to do. The end result is substantial savings of ‘more than 50 per cent’  in time and money, the company claims.  

However, despite the speed of new developments, AI experts say it is unlikely machines will ever be able to perform all the functions of a human recruiter. Machines may now be able to learn from experience, but the complexities and subtleties of human interaction and understanding remain well beyond them at present.

“Our goal isn’t to try and replace recruiters – we’ll still need them,” Angela Hood, ThisWay Global chief executive, told Personnel Today [3].  “What we want to do is remove the fatiguing part, the grunt work, so they can focus on recruiting, onboarding and engaging people better. It’s about complementing rather than replacing.”

[1] https://venturebeat.com/2017/05/10/mya-systems-raises-11-4-million-for-its-ai-recruiter-chatbot/

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/louisefron/2016/07/12/how-a-i-is-about-to-disrupt-corporate-recruiting/#3ec2e0b03ba2

[3] http://www.personneltoday.com/hr/rise-artificial-intelligence-mean-death-recruiter/

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