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Lukas Bierfreund
Lukas Bierfreund
Head of Solutions Engineering

Apps versus bots in recruitment

Why you should choose bots over apps when designing the ultimate candidate experience

Employers want to create a unique candidate experience which is digital, scalable, differentiated and appeals to a broader audience. To connect and interact with talent in a way that speaks to them, they often want to “gamify” their application process.

 

They often come to us (Talkpush) with this idea: “We’d like to have a custom-made app for our applicants!”

 

While the intentions are sound, the method is not, and employers are often surprised when we tell them apps are not the way to go. It’s true that adapting your recruitment process to the world of smartphones is a sound move, even a necessary one and that the app economy is doing just fine, with a predicted worldwide revenue of US$101 billion in 2020. It’s just that apps are not designed for this type of interactions. Let me explain…

 

Choosing the right tech for the job

 

Just because your target audience is glued to their phones doesn’t mean a gamified recruitment app is the best way to go. The average smartphone user has between 60 and 100 apps installed on their phone. If you want to obtain a spot on one of those covered spots on someone’s phone is , you will be need to fight stiff competition. Consider that an active job seeker typically applies to dozens of jobs every day… Imagine if everyone of them asked them to download an app? Within half a day, the phones memory would be maxed.

While applicants may love their apps, they will not want to download a new one onto their phone just so they can apply for a single job. For them, one-time events like job applications do not justify the hassle that comes with the installation. The success behind some of the most frequently used apps like Facebook Messenger, YouTube, Google Maps, SnapChat, Spotify is that they offer something that encourages regular use and don’t serve just a single use case, you can access many friends, videos, places, songs etc. An app is only valuable if users keep coming back for more. In the table below, I’ve highlighted the benefits of apps vs bots for different user cases.

Before choosing to build an app or a bot, you must weight in the pros and cons…

Employers want to engage potential talent and allow them to interact with them in the quickest, most convenient and most intuitive way possible. However, after that short period of interaction a candidate will either be hired, or politely told they’re currently not the right fit. Either way, they will no longer have a need for the app.

 

Enter Messaging

 

If not through a custom-made app, then what is the right way to offer potential talent a unique, digital experience? It’s messaging. Employers may not realize it because — like many people — they are unaware of the richness of experience, but messaging is without a doubt the preferred communication channel today with currently over 2 billion users of messaging apps.

Recruitment is a conversation, not a game

Chatbots are artificial intelligence software designed to perform certain tasks — usually mimic a human conversation. Combined with messaging platforms, they become the ultimate way for employers to create the experience of real time interaction between candidates and the company. Where apps are great for regular, prolonged use, chatbots offer instant communication. A recruitment chatbot allows candidates and employers to ask and answer questions, exchange information, set up appointments and provide feedback.

Sample exchange from Stanley, the recruitment chatbot from Talkpush

More than words…

Many people still associate messaging with dry, text-only interactions with bots that mimic the old IVR (interactive voice response). Not so! Natural-language processing has made huge progress in “understanding” what people are saying, whether its text or audio or video, and platforms like Facebook Messenger (with over 1.3 billion monthly active users), Slack, Line, Viber and WeChat all deliver much more than text, including vignettes, videos, images, coupons, and many other things that don’t even have a name yet!

When saying “I love you” just isn’t enough… Animate it!

Why “Easy” is more important than “fun” in recruitment

All this messaging interaction looks a lot fun, no doubt, but more importantly, it is easy. Candidates don’t have to download any new software onto their already crowded phones — a huge plus! — because 99% of them already have at least one messaging app installed. Unlike an app, a chatbot living within Messenger doesn’t burden candidates with a constant stream of required updates, that eat away their phone’s storage capacity (and increase the risk of viruses). Why does easy matter? An easier application will benefit form a higher conversion rate (the % of visitors who complete their application), which equates to a bigger talent pool, which converts into better quality hires.

Less invasive / intrusive / creepy

Another reason a recruitment app may not perform so well, compared to a bot will, is because apps can be perceived as intrusive . Candidates might ask themselves: Why is this employer asking to get access to my camera? Or to my messages? Creepy, right? Built on top of existing platforms, chatbots offer developers a lot flexibility on the type of experience they want to deliver, and make it easy for them to update it. Bot developers can change the flow or the content easily, without having to install any updates on the candidate’s phone, allowing employers to keep adjusting and improving the candidate experience as they go along.

TL;DR
In summary: no matter how impressive it might feel to have a custom-made company recruitment app, the reality is that it’s not the right choice. Ditching your app-building ambitions may feel disappointing at first, but it actually opens you to the new and exciting world of bots, which are designed for a world of interpersonal, real-time, rich communications. In other words, the world of recruitment.

Want to add automation to your recruitment process? Want to see how your recruiters can work alongside our recruitment chatbot? We’d love to hear from you. Send us a message at hello@talkpush.com, on Facebook, or find us on Twitter@talkpush and YouTube.

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