Chris Russell

2 min read


Recruiting Technology

What Is an AI Recruiting Assistant

Regis Corporation, the largest salon owner and franchiser in the United States, hires thousands of stylists a year with almost no help from a recruiter.

How do they do it? By using an AI recruiting assistant.

“Tasks that are assumed to take a team, or an individual, to manage are no longer the case,” explains Jacob Kramer, associate vice president of talent acquisition and head of the Regis automation project that turned over the sourcing, contact, and application process to an AI assistant.

“AI can be used to thoroughly streamline the recruiting process, enhance the candidate experience and build out workforce planning automation.”

AI-powered natural language assistants are fast becoming must-have recruiting tools, freeing their human recruiters from tedious routine tasks while simultaneously improving the candidate experience. As the Regis example demonstrates, these assistants make it possible to connect with candidates, walk them through the application process answering questions as they go, qualify them and schedule them to meet with a hiring manager in minutes or hours instead of the days it would take a human to handle the details.

AI assistants are chatbots

AI assistants are chatbots, similar to Siri or Google Assistant, and deployed not just by large companies with high volume hiring needs. Smaller organizations benefit just as much by implementing them on their career sites. There, they will answer questions about health benefits for one candidate, help another with their job search while asking others qualifying questions – and do it all at the same time. 

These bots as they’re sometimes called are a far cry from those of just a few years ago. The first chatbots were text-based decision trees, identical in approach to the “touch 1 for this or 2 for that” of automated corporate phone systems. While these types of chatbots still outnumber AI assistants, they’re rapidly being replaced by bots that understand questions the way a human can.

For example, an AI-enabled recruiting assistant can tell from the context and nature of a conversation about benefits that a candidate asking, “What about pets?” is probably inquiring if the organization offers pet insurance.

Without the help of an AI assistant, a potential candidate who considers pet insurance essential might simply choose not to apply if they couldn’t reach a recruiter directly.

Answering questions on a career site is the most common use of AI or natural language processing chatbots. A 2019 survey found half of all TA leaders that have deployed a recruiting assistant on their career site say the single biggest benefit is an improved candidate experience. Not far behind is the saving in recruiter time they provide. What’s more 71% report candidates were satisfied by their interaction with the chatbot.

That alone makes deploying an AI assistant a worthwhile investment. 

More Than a Bot

Yet, there’s much more these bots can do. Regis and other companies are using recruiting assistants to sift through the digital resumes and applications they keep on file to find talent matching current needs. Without having to involve a recruiter, the assistant will send each an invitation to become an active candidate, directing them to update their resume, answer a few questions, take an assessment or directly schedule an interview.

Companies like Ernst & Young and Triumph Motorcycles are also deploying them internally to answer employee questions about vacation accruals, sick leave, scheduling and others that previously would require an HR person to answer. Ernst & Young’s Goldie HR chatbot saved more than 10,000 HR staff hours over six months.

Call them AI recruiting assistants, conversational chatbots, virtual assistants or just bots, they are all built to serve the same function — improve the user experience and free up talent acquisition professionals to do what they do best.

About Emissary

Emissary is a candidate engagement platform built to empower recruiters with efficient, modern communication tools that work in harmony with other recruiting solutions.

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