Survey Says Job Seekers Are Mostly OK Engaging With Chatbots

Job seekers have had to endure the resume blackhole for decades, and it turns out that lack of response from a perspective employer has led to lowered expectations. So low, in fact, that prospects are mostly OK with talking to a robot when applying to a job, reveals a new survey.

“The majority of job seekers are fairly to extremely comfortable interacting with artificial intelligence apps to answer initial questions in the application and interview process,” says Craig Fisher, head of marketing at Allegis Global Solutions, the company that completed the survey.

The company surveyed over 200 job candidates about the comfortable they have when interacting with robots online in order to create efficiencies in the interview process.

In regards to engaging with a chatbot in the initial phases of an interview to answer basic questions, they discovered the following:

  • 22 percent are extremely comfortable
  • 37 percent fairly comfortable
  • 23 percent uneasy
  • 19 percent extremely uneasy

Although this fails to represent a resounding vote of confidence for chatbots, it does reveal that a majority of job seekers do show a significant level of comfort dealing with an automated system. Fisher wrote, “This tells us that, although automation appears to be more and more accepted, we must remember to keep a human element in our candidate process.”

When it comes to scheduling interviews and helping with interview preparation, however, candidates are more accepting. Allegis found that over 66 percent of those surveyed were either extremely or fairly comfortable relying on a chatbot for this process.

The highest level of uneasiness was revealed when job seekers were asked if they were comfortable with artificial intelligence apps performing skills assessments. Of those surveyed, 20.27 percent were extremely uneasy with this option. However, the number of those who said they were either extremely or fairly comfortable came in at nearly 61 percent when asked this question.

“These results of our small survey don’t paint the whole picture,” added Fisher. “But it appears that most job seekers are used to the idea of machine-learning chatbots and other apps interacting with them as part of the job application and interview process. ”

The survey is good news for the growing number of services offering various levels of robotic communication to aid in the recruiting process. Olivia, one such technology that makes job seekers feel as if they’re text-messaging with a prospective employer, and GoBe, a job search chatbot that leverages Facebook Messenger to connect jobs and candidates are examples of one solution targeting companies and the latter appealing to job seekers.

“We’ve talked to thousands of job seekers and they’re tired of long job applications, tedious forms, broken mobile experiences, and never hearing back from employers. Olivia is able to create a better candidate experience, and at the same time improve candidate capture and conversion,” said Stephen Ost, head of product for Recruiting.Ai.

“Early days for sure and there are lots of really smart people in the industry that are trying various approaches,” added Recruiting.Ai founder and CEO Aaron Matos. “Recruiting is still a people game, but new tools and new tech should evolve things quickly over the coming years.”

The balance between bots and humans was a constant theme in the survey.

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“While adding technology to our process can streamline our candidate selection, we must remember that people want to work with people,” wrote Fisher. “The technology we have is mimicking human interaction, but we need real people in the process as well.”

Allegis also put together an infographic detailing the survey. Click here to view.

Disclosure: I am a former employee of Jobing which, along with Recruiting.Ai, is a Recruiting Ventures company. I’m also a shareholder.

Joel Cheesman

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.