It’s All About the Bot: How Stanford Health Care Connects with Candidates

Devin Foster

Michelle Hart, Lead Talent Strategist at Stanford Health Care, joined Talent Experience Live on June 10 to discuss how implementing a chatbot on their career site has transformed the talent experience for the organization. Get the scoop on what they learned, benefits of the chatbot, and how they’re planning to optimize their hiring strategy for future candidates!


Most of us are familiar with chatbots from shopping our favorite brands online. But they’re not just for consumer sites – chatbots can help employers provide a stand-out experience for candidates, giving TA teams the ability to deliver personalization at scale by automating sourcing, screening, scheduling, and FAQs. 
 

However, our State of Candidate Experience: 2021 Benchmarks report revealed that only 9% of Fortune 500 companies have a chatbot on their career site.
 

How exactly can an automated chatbot – essentially, a 2D robot – help provide a more personalized, candidate-friendly experience? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Discover how Stanford Health Care’s chatbot is doing just that — watch the full show below and read on for highlights! 
 


Chatbot FAQs reveal what candidates want
 

Chatbots save time for both recruiters and candidates. Beyond this key advantage, chatbots also provide insight into how employers can continuously adapt and improve the candidate experience on their career site.
 

For Stanford Health Care, a U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital, this benefit crystalized right away.
 

Leading up to the chatbot’s launch, Hart and a team of recruiters brainstormed FAQs they thought would be the most common and useful for candidates. Once the bot was up and running, however, a different picture emerged. 
 

“What it began to show us was some of those FAQs were not necessarily the same as what our candidates were wanting. So we were able to tweak those,” Hart said. She and her team adjusted the scope of FAQs to match what candidates asked about most often – an insight that wouldn’t have been so readily available before implementing the chatbot. They also mine questions coming in through the chatbot on a regular basis to guide career site changes and additions (more info on this later!).
 


Simplifying the candidate journey
 

Nurse recruitment is a challenge for any healthcare organization right now. Covid-19 further strained the existing nursing shortage, creating an extremely competitive market.
 

Stanford Health Care's chatbot makes it easy for time-strapped nurses to complete the application process at their convenience, right from their cell phones. “We get a lot of responses and actual applies for our nurses through the chatbot,” Hart said. 
 


Relevant job matches. The chatbot takes nurses through a few questions, then suggests positions that best fit their skills and experience. 
 

Applying made easy. If a job candidate can’t complete the application process in one go, the bot allows them to pick up where they left off at any time. “If they happen to get disconnected, they can come back … or we can follow up with them,” Hart said. “The process is so simple.”
 

An engaging experience, site-wide

Candidates often enter a company’s career site from job boards and other channels, so their first encounter is not necessarily on the home page. But no matter where a candidate enters Stanford Health Care's career site, the chatbot is there to engage and answer questions. 
 

Another benefit to having the chatbot available across the site? The bot “follows” candidates on every page and throughout the application process, which means candidates don’t have to leave the page they're on if they have questions when applying for a job. 
 

“I also like that it remembers you, and will pick back up from conversations you’ve had previously, so you can see the interaction you’ve had with it,” Hart said.
 


With chatbot-CRM integration, personalization soars 
 

Although the chatbot launched in July 2020, it wasn’t until January 2021 that Stanford Health Care went live with a new integrated CRM. Now when the bot captures candidate details and the positions they’re interested in, that information gets passed along to the CRM. 
 

It’s made a dramatic difference in their recruiters’ ability to execute highly targeted email or text campaigns, or conduct personal follow-up with candidates. “It allows us to not miss out on candidates,” Hart said.
 


Staying connected with partial-apply candidates

Recruiters send “let’s stay connected” emails to keep Stanford top-of-mind with candidates who leave the career site or drop off during the apply process. “We’re saying ‘Hey, let’s stay connected. This time may not be right, but let’s look at the future – here’s the job you were interested in,’” Hart said. 
 

Personal FAQ follow up

Similarly, the recruitment team can see candidates’ specific questions on the FAQ page. Because the chatbot captures their email addresses along with the question, recruiters can follow up if needed to make sure questions were answered adequately. “We take it to the next level, and we can respond individually to them,” Hart said.


Related: The Value of 1M Chatbot Interactions: Southwest Airlines Tells All



Metrics: A quarter of a million chatbot interactions
 

As with any new technology, Stanford Health Care leaders initially questioned the chatbot's ROI, Hart noted. Analytics made it easy for Hart's team to demonstrate its value, showing that the bot drove: 
 

  • 35,000 unique visits
  • 11,000+ candidate leads
  • 12,000 apply clicks
     

But the metric that made the biggest impact? Since the re-launch in January, the bot has garnered a quarter of a million interactions. “That was surprising to them, that there’s that much interaction that takes place on the career site. And for many [candidates], that’s the only interaction they have,” Hart said. 
 


“I think our leaders were truly blown away by the fact that that so many people interact and get a lot of their responses that way – so that’s why it’s even more important that our responses are relevant and meeting the candidates’ needs.”
 

Chatbot analytics enable agile career site optimization
 

With a daily check-in on chatbot analytics, Hart has been able to quickly adapt the career site to better meet candidates’ needs and expectations. 
 

“Our chatbot, along with our net promoter score … those two pieces provide me insight into how the site is doing, and any challenges somebody may be having with the site,” she said.  This feedback has prompted changes from minor tweaks that prevent frustration (e.g., fixing broken links and upload failures) to more major revisions. 
 


For example, Hart’s team noticed many questions coming in from newly graduated nurse candidates about the application and hiring process. “We realized there was such a need that we’re actually creating a more robust landing page on our career site with videos and links and more details, just for our new nursing grads. And that came from our chatbot,” she said. 
 

Reducing the number of support tickets

By using insight from the chatbot, Hart’s team can proactively address issues that typically would have resulted in calls and emails to HR from confused candidates. As a result, support tickets in the recruiter queue have dropped from an average of 50 per week down to one or two, according to Hart. 
 

Next up: automated scheduling 
 

In talking with department leaders, Hart has discovered that scheduling is a major bottleneck in the hiring process. Needless to say, she’s looking forward to implementing automated scheduling through the bot. 
 

“We want to add that so we can save our recruiters even more time, [as well as] our hiring managers – and have that strong candidate experience,” she said.
 


Check out Stanford Health Care's career site for inspiration and to view the chatbot in action!
 

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