Seems to me that there are a lot of people freaking out about the robots. Chatbots are all the rage. Snatching up some nice funding, getting wonderful press, and solving some real problems for customers. It’s a remarkable time to be alive and working in talent acquisition. As much hope is being put in these chatbots, there is a hefty amount of fear surrounding the them. People are genuinely worried that robots will replace them. Even when it is clear that human resources requires a human touch.
But like any polarizing issue, there is very important and often overlooked gray area. Despite the basis of the robot code, this is not binary, it’s not 1s and 0s. You see, here’s the thing: If we take the emotion out of this conversation, the robots are a gift. To be plain, there are countless work (and personal) tasks that I despise doing. So much so, that sometimes, they simply don’t get done. There is even a subset of things that don’t get done because I hate doing them that are detrimental to my business (scheduling meetings, I am looking at you). I mean, think about it. Personally, I would be thrilled to never schedule another meeting and allow the robot to learn how I like to plan my day, and then schedule meetings for me. Can you tell I hate scheduling meetings? I would LOVE to have robots do this. I don’t want to hire someone to do it. I want to hire someone to help me get the big stuff done.
So, what if we started there: Handing off the tasks we hate that are generally menial. Things like scheduling, fielding questions, directing people to the right information. This is how our current slate of chatbots are designed. Get to the website, use the bot to search, use the bot to schedule, use the bot to get answers. Frankly, when done correctly, it’s glorious. It enhances the experience for all talent when they can come and interact with something. Get some guidance. Get to that dream job faster. Understand what it means to work there. I am not sure why everyone doesn’t have one of these things!
Now…let’s talk about the stuff that HAS to get done that we really HATE that’s detrimental to our business. I am talking about dispositions and exit interviews. Dispositions have been crippling our industry since the dawn of time. And exit interviews have the power to propel us, if we could just get good, honest feedback. Also, people seem to get in the way of each of these tasks.
You see, the #1 complaint from every single job seeker, regardless of generation, is the black hole. The black hole is the thing that does more damage to your employer brand en mass than any bad PR. The worst part is that the candidates know it’s real. The expectations from candidates are so low. They just want to hear SOMETHING. And yet, we still can’t seem to get this done. We cannot seem to communicate the disposition to people in any systemic way.
Having talked to hundreds of recruiters over the years, I know that no one likes sending the disposition letter. Dispositioning people sucks. It sucks to give people bad news. And then there’s legal (shudder). So, it’s understandable why we don’t just send the disposition. We hate it. It’s scary, plus, if we let the candidate hanging long enough, they’ll just “know”. Yep, this is all incredibly true. But what if the robots did it? What if the robots could craft an on-brand disposition that included enough feedback to help the candidate? What would that do for your employer brand and candidate experience?
And then, there is the exit interview. I know we, in TA, don’t really hate the exit interview…But, the people leaving do. OK, they might not hate it, but I would say that they are less than enthusiastic about it. Think about your last exit interview you participated in as the exiting employee. How would your answers have changed if you knew it was a robot? I can tell you that first of all, I am not always asked to do an exit interview even when I want to. Second, as a people pleaser, I am likely to water down my feedback so that it is not very useful, and forget about the exit interview with your manager. If we let the robots do it, we may get legit feedback that can make our companies stronger.
Change is scary to people. Really scary to people. Fear of change leads to procrastination. You know who doesn’t procrastinate, the robots. I say, let’s find the stuff we know we hate but must be done, and let the robots do it.