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Could chatbots imporve your candidate experience?

Delivery company Yodel has benefited from employing chatbots

Coping with Application Demands

Today when job candidates readily take to social media, putting parts of the recruitment process online is necessary in order to protect employers’ brands. Technology can have a positive effect on efficiency, cost and the quality of candidates recruited.

Yodel gets thousands of applications every year for its driver positions. On average 1,200 applications are received per week, increasing to 5,500 during autumn.

With this amount of interest – which results in around 4,500 recruits every year – Yodel’s talent acquisition people were originally under intense pressure. They were compelled to focus on dealing with the sheer number of applications instead of producing a pleasant recruitment experience.

As demand for drivers increased, last year the firm revamped its recruitment procedures to liberate resources and deal with applicants’ drop-out rates. This involved a range of chatbots on its careers website for all three sorts of driving job available – owner-driver, employed driver and neighbourhood courier – while candidate experience bots were put in place to screen candidates.

The bots were developed by candidate engagement technology business Meet & Engage. They have witnessed a lessening of drop-off rates (now only eight per cent of applicants decide not to go further with their application, in comparison with 50 to 60 per cent previously), while the project has created a helpful, less-time-consuming process for those applying, according to Ben Gledhill, Yodel head of resourcing.

Better Candidate Screening

After submitting their applications, Yodel’s candidates are directed by a bot with a link to a screening system online. While candidate screening was previously carried out over the telephone, this is now completed in candidates’ own time. Gledhill feels it is important to let applicants deal with the process on their own terms. In fact, a growing number of interactions happen outside office hours during the evening. This expansion of hours has led to approximately 10,000 applicants being screened.

In addition, the Yodel careers site bots supply helpful details for driver applicants such as images, text and videos based around the required sort of van and tips on completing a VAT return.

These bots fully align with Yodel’s branding. Director at Meet & Engage, Ali Hackett, explains that his firm worked with Yodel to create an encouraging dialogue with applicants. As people can engage with the bots around the clock, he suggests extending the recruitment facility to other professions without a 9-5 schedule.

One month after the introduction of the chatbots, Yodel witnessed a 38 per cent reduction in the typical time taken to recruit, and 97 per cent of candidates classified their experience as ‘highly positive’.

Increased automation has also positively impacted the workloads of employees at Yodel. Gledhill explains that avoiding candidate questions and ditching telephone screening have freed up time to look at their own team’s needs.

Gledhill warns that organisations considering introducing technology into their recruitment process must get leaders’ buy-in early on and allow time to think about whether it will suit them and the applicants they hope to attract. However, Yodel found that the chatbots surpassed their expectations, and they are considering mechanising other people procedures, like onboarding.

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