Natalie McKnightOctober 13, 2020
Topics: Recruiter Experience

How Conversational AI Will Reinvent Recruiting [Video]

HR managers lose an average of 14 hours per week on manual tasks that could be automated; meanwhile, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 56 percent of all HR department tasks could be automated.

These statistics may ring alarms for HR leaders who know that building a candidate relationship is the thing that gives recruiters the competitive edge in securing top talent. Time has never been more crucial – or in such short supply.

Last week on Talent Experience Live, Deepti Yenireddy, CEO and founder at My Ally, shared her expertise on conversational AI and its ability to transform recruiting activities.

Yenireddy founded My Ally, a conversational AI-powered talent management platform to improve automation for the HR industry. My Ally in Sept. was acquired by Phenom to serve clients with this powerful technology.

What is conversational AI? How does it differ from traditional AI?

Through natural language processing, conversational AI enables tools like chatbots and email to simulate engaging, human-like conversation. To illustrate this concept, think of familiar smart speaker technologies like Google Home and Alexa, which can learn your preferences and respond intelligently.

Traditional AI uses non-conversational data to help machines make decisions, such as scoring and matching algorithms.

“We need a well-thought out application of both conversational as well as traditional AI throughout the HR suite to create the optimal ROI for our users,” Yenireddy said.

Why is conversational AI so important in today’s digital age?

As workplace operations digitally transform, more and more conversations take place online through chat, Slack, SMS, email and other channels. The COVID-19 crisis has only amplified online conversations, causing an explosion in the number of daily connections recruiters must make with candidates.

As humans, Yenireddy said, our bandwidth to keep up with so many digital interactions is limited. Tools powered by conversational AI can help recruiters respond to these ever-increasing interactions, promoting stronger connections with a broader audience.

By automating many of the communications that are transactional in nature (e.g., scheduling needs), recruiters can focus on the aspects of candidate communication that require human skill: creative thinking, relationship building, and insight-based interactions.

How does conversational AI help deliver personalized experiences?

As the need to forge personal connections with candidates gains more and more prominence, the challenge is clear – how can we make experiences with AI-assisted tools personal? How can candidates feel valued as individuals?

Conversational AI technologies enable recruiting teams to tailor candidate experiences and journeys based on previous interactions. Scheduling-based conversations provide a great example of this concept: A chatbot powered by conversational AI can discern when a candidate is rescheduling multiple times and deliver a different experience the second or third time.

Conversational AI helps recruiting teams provide white glove service at scale, a webinar viewer said.

Does conversational AI improve on its own?

Short answer: Yes.

Just like traditional AI improves over time as more data enters the system, conversational AI gets better with more human conversation. The key is to make sure workflow isn’t inundated with too many inputs and training sessions for particular groups of conversations.

My Ally’s product has reached almost 95 percent automation and accuracy levels with customers, according to Yenireddy.

What’s the best way to secure executive buy-in for Conversational AI?

For that all-important opportunity to make the case for conversational AI with executive team members, Yenireddy says to focus on two key benefits:

1. Time-saving capabilities

Think of all the communication that could be automated during the active candidate journey, from scheduling that first interview to re-scheduling meetings; to answering questions to the point of hire.

“There’s so much you can automate once you have the power of conversational AI,” Yenireddy said. “You can take that time back and build real relationships with candidates.”

2. Transparency and control

The product that My Ally built includes an activity center where users can view the rationale behind the technology’s decisions and actions, such as negotiating with candidates and re-scheduling activities.

The activity center helps dispel the mystery surrounding AI-driven technology, providing an element of transparency and control and driving better adoption and trust with users. If the product you’re interested in includes a similar feature, be sure to highlight this for decision-makers.

What opportunities does conversational AI open up for recruiters?

Chiefly, conversational AI opens the door for recruiters to improve relationships with candidates.

When recruiters are limited in terms of time and bandwidth to only take part in transactional conversations with candidates, the result is a very superficial relationship. On the other hand, when recruiters can invest time in mentoring and guiding candidates – serving as a talent advisor – long-lasting relationships can grow.

What are your predictions for AI technologies in the future?

“[The tools] are reaching human-level accuracy in tasks like machine translation, temporal expression recognition, normalization, and so on,” Yenireddy said.

Conversational AI-driven tools will increase accuracy and expand conversational capabilities. For example, humans understand a sentence that includes a double negative, but this can be confusing for machines.

With the advances that Yenireddy sees, conversational AI tools are getting better and better at predicting what humans are saying.

What aspects of recruiting can conversational AI never replace?

Unlike machines, humans are capable of creativity, emotions, and ingenuity. It’s difficult to replicate these things with AI because they require real-life experience and understanding. AI is only as good as the data set it’s trained on, and these human characteristics are very hard to incorporate in the training of an AI system.

“It [conversational AI] should enable us to become better humans,” Yenireddy said. “At the end of the day, every technology should serve that purpose. As we build more and more conversational AI into our Phenom suite of products, that is the core principle we will be using.”

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