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Don’t Let Chatbots Throw Off Your Job Search Game

I’m the founder & CEO of Cheeky Scientist, a platform that helps people with Ph.D.s transition into meaningful, high-paying industry careers

Your fate in the early stages of the hiring process may now be determined by a robot.

I consider artificial intelligence in recruiting to be one of 2022’s top hiring trends. More and more companies are turning to chatbots to handle the increased demands that the current competition for qualified workers has placed on recruiting. These chatbots are now helping employers with everything from recruiting passive job candidates to prescreening applicants over text and video interviews.

When you’re active on the job market, it’s now only a matter of time before you run into a recruiting chatbot. Here’s what you can do to prepare to make the most of the encounter:

1. Learn why employers like recruitment chatbots.

The first step in mastering interactions with recruiting AI is to understand why employers use it.

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In general, I’ve found employers like recruitment chatbots because of their impact on two top recruiting KPIs: reduced time to hire and improved hire quality. Chatbots enable companies to make decisions about and respond to candidates much more quickly than a human could. In this way, they can ensure the best candidates stay engaged, reduce the chances of applicants getting snapped up by a competitor and provide an advantage in a tight labor market.

2. Find out how chatbots work.

Knowing why employers like recruitment chatbots puts you in a better position to appreciate how they work to help companies hit their hiring targets.

Recruitment chatbots interact with potential job candidates 24/7 regardless of geographic location. To navigate these interactions, they rely on advanced computational techniques called natural language processing and machine learning that allow them to interpret, score and compare human responses.

For example, I’ve observed some tools that reach out about job openings to people who “like” the social media page of a company that is looking to hire or who have a profile on LinkedIn or another career platform that looks like a match based on the job description. They can then analyze potential candidates’ responses to evaluate their interest in the opportunity. In this way, they help companies source candidates.

Chatbots use similar processes when they screen candidates. For example, chatbots can ask basic questions such as, “How many years of experience do you have?” or, “Do you have a degree in a relevant field?” They can then assign prospective hires a score based on their responses and compare that score to the scores of other candidates. They can even help schedule a candidate’s next interview and provide them with a tracker they can use to follow their application’s progress in the hiring process.

3. Leverage your understanding of recruiting AI to plan your response.

Once you know how recruiting AI works, you can adapt your job search strategy to optimize your AI-determined candidate score so you advance more quickly in the hiring process.

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Based on the two examples outlined above, there are two activities professionals should undertake:

1. Make it easier to be found.

2. Have a plan for how to respond in encounters with recruiting chatbots.

To make it easier to be found, curate your online presence. Start by Googling yourself. Make sure the top hits in your search portray you as a professional in your desired industry by revising, deleting or creating content as needed. “Like” the social media profiles of the companies you want to work for. Finally, increase your activity on career sites to further attract the attention of recruiting chatbots by commenting on others’ posts, sharing content you found helpful and even writing your own posts.

You’ll also want to know the best practices for interacting with recruiting chatbots so you’re ready when you get contacted. First, make sure your responses are simple, and proofread them if you are interacting over text. Use keywords from the job description and include any company-specific language you’ve learned about from your research. Doing so reduces ambiguity for the bots and makes it easier for them to give you a good score. Finally, follow up if needed. Many companies are willing to connect you with a person if you experience issues with their chatbot that you think may unfairly impact your evaluation.

Remember, recruiting chatbots can be a job seeker’s best friend because they can answer your questions, quickly evaluate your candidacy and spare you the wait to find out where you stand in the hiring process. By following these three steps, you can enjoy these features and benefit from recruiting AI as much as employers do.

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