Chatbots in HR - support, unnecessary extra work or even the "wrong" direction?

It is not only HR software that is becoming more and more popular in human resources. In the meantime, chatbots and even artificial intelligence are making their way into the field, for example to simplify tasks such as recruiting and to relieve HR staff. But wouldn't people prefer to speak directly with people, especially in recruiting?chatbot-hr-management

For many people, artificial intelligence (AI) has the reputation of being a "job killer" and does not seem to get along at all with human resources (HR). In fact, AI in the form of chatbots or voice assistants can help bring more talent and companies together. They are therefore more like job creators. To what extent chatbots make sense for HR work and are accepted by applicants is another matter. More on this later.

Voice assistants often relieve HR managers of many repetitive or recurring tasks with automated job interviews, writes Wolfgang Sölch from the company Qualtrics in his article "Artificial intelligence helps HR" for the magazine for enterprise application software. This gives them more time for talent management, personnel development and other fulfilling tasks that make HR management a vocation. Because they want to make a difference and not just "process people's fates".

That's why, in addition to HR software, AI, chatbots and digital voice assistants are becoming more and more popular in HR - at least they seem sexy at first glance. However, chatbots or bots are not always synonymous with artificial intelligence; with intelligent algorithms, some of them are already moving in the direction of AI, as Stefan Scheller writes in his persoblogger.de and in a rexx article about chatbots in recruiting. Meanwhile, most of these bots are still more related to full-text search and still a long way from "real" AI.

Are chatbots selling functionally nonsensical "fashion"? A critical view.

recruiting-chatbotIn fact, numerous other perspectives should be taken into account when discussing whether a chatbot actually makes sense in HR. Chatbots work on the basis of artificial intelligence (AI). But in order to perform really well, AI needs a gigantic database. And at this point, the question arises whether you can achieve this yourself as a large company or corporation with more than 10,000 employees - or whether you open yourself up as a company and share your data with other companies to get a meaningful population. In addition, legal or moral questions arise, because: At this point, AI is legally questionable, because in Germany, HR decisions may not be made by software. But if this thought is taken further, one quickly comes to the next thought, which is more aimed at ethics. Because no applicant wants AI to decide about him or her as long as the learning data sets with which AI is trained are not completely neutral. And this is not realistic in the foreseeable future and there are already numerous failed projects in practice that have addressed this very issue.

If chatbots are really real and powerful AIs, then they must be completely connected to the application management or know the data completely so that the chatbot itself can make statements. But is that really what is wanted? In fact, the question does arise as to whether this is or can really be AI. Or are chatbots, as already described above, actually better full-text searches? If so, this doesn't really help with applications. Typically, a chatbot reply may come back like "To submit an application, please click on "Apply"".

Videochat more important than chatbots

Artificial intelligence, chatbots and voice assistants in HR are also not meant to replace HR management, but to support them in their work, to relieve them of repetitive tasks and speed them up through automation. However, HR work will probably never be completely taken over by chatbots. Just as with product advertising on websites, bots can probably help to "match" job offers with applicant profiles. But for more detailed questions and for the actual job interview, personal contact from person to person will always remain decisive.

It makes sense to link applications and job descriptions directly to a specific contact person. This is because the actual selection of potential talent - keyword decentralisation in the recruiting process - is shifting more and more from the HR to the specialist departments or to middle management. This does not mean that HR managers are left out of the recruiting process, but they are relieved and gain more time for the above-mentioned tasks of personnel development. However, such a solution must never be accompanied by additional work and must always be questioned as to its acceptance by applicants and employees.

An example from practice: The following job advertisement shows the contact person from the specialist department. It is easy to get in touch by phone or e-mail - even before the actual application is sent. The philosophy of rexx systems envisages precisely this direct exchange and does so in a much more targeted manner than a chatbot. "Recruiting is always about people business. This means that the direct exchange between the applicant and the future supervisor comes first," says Florian Walzer from rexx systems. Accordingly, the rexx application management controls individually for each vacancy which contact information of the department is visible. This can go so far that it is possible to contact the specialist decision-maker directly via chat and discuss individual questions about the vacancy. Alternatively, this can even be done directly via video chat, because the system knows whether the specialist is currently available, in an appointment or absent. "This transparency is a huge plus, especially for positions that are difficult to fill, and it speaks for the employer. After all, applicants would much rather engage in an exchange with their future supervisor than with an anonymous chatbot that works more or less well," Walzer continues.

rexx-videochat

 

Individual customers of rexx systems already use a chatbot as part of their application management with rexx. Others follow the philosophy of rexx and prefer to rely on direct exchange. Both are possible with rexx systems!

Since this is not always possible in Corona times, video conferences are gaining in importance even more than chatbots, also against the backdrop of the aforementioned decentralisation of recruiting processes. rexx systems has just expanded its portfolio and now offers video chat in addition to Multi Translate, an automatic translator for employees, to meet the trend. Because HR work is people business, as rexx systems always emphasises. The solution also allows job interviews to be automatically forwarded directly to the right contact person. That's quite a bit of intelligence in itself.

In summary: If chatbots are really useful and helpful, rexx systems will also offer this technology. But they won't be in the foreseeable future ...

 

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2. March 2021

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