Solving the Job Application Black Hole with Chatbots

Written by Bailey Newlan, Content & Growth Marketer at Wade & Wendy.

ATS Black Hole

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are not inherently bad — for the hiring manager. They are critical to managing massive amounts of resumes and establishing an efficient workflow. However, the candidate experience suffers. A survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that 52% of employers responded to less than 50% of candidate applications. With such little communication, candidates are left frustrated and unsure of where they stand. This is referred to as the “ATS Black Hole.”

By incorporating Conversational Intelligence into the existing process, better engagement, better communication and transparency can be realized.

Conversation with Wendy in Facebook Messenger screenshot
This is how a conversation with Wendy, our conversationally intelligent chatbot, begins in Facebook Messenger.

Here’s How the ATS Fails Candidates

When an individual applies for a job, his or her resume is sent into a company’s ATS. Through matching algorithms and keyword extraction, a shortlist of candidates is generated for the hiring manager to review. These algorithms fail to take into account spelling errors and deviances in word choice (explained in more depth here). Because matches are generated exclusively through one-dimensional data, hiring managers’ understanding of candidates is distorted.

The result: Very few qualified candidates make it past the ATS and to the interview stage.

This problem is further compounded by the ease of the application process. In response to mounting candidate frustrations with lengthy applications, many employers now offer “Quick Apply” or “1-Click Apply” options. While this significantly lowers friction for applicants on the front-end, they are actually worse off in the long run. Employers are receiving more and more resumes, but, due to the simplicity of new application processes, they now have less data from which to draw conclusions.

In a world where candidates expect engagement and transparency, they are getting less and less.

On average, a single corporate job opening receives 250 applications. With an influx of resumes to review and no uptick in resources with which to process them, hiring managers cannot possibly respond to each individual applicant. In fact, of those 250 applications, only four to six will be called in to interview. As a result, most candidates receive zero communication, experiencing what has ubiquitously been labeled the “ATS Black Hole.”

Here’s Where Conversational Intelligence Comes In

Conversational Intelligence transforms the application process from something static to dynamic. At Wade & Wendy, we believe artificial intelligence is at its best when used conversationally. Our two chatbot personalities are built with this in mind. By creating a space in which conversations can occur, chatbots have the power to drastically improve the application experience.

Chatbots can engage every single applicant at any point in time.

Immediately following submission of their resume, candidates are directed to have a conversation with a chatbot through either text or Facebook Messenger. This introduction allows for a much friendlier first point of contact. Rather than receiving a “Thank You for Your Application” message from a “do not reply” email address, you meet Wendy. Here, candidates can inquire further about the company and the job itself.

At Wade & Wendy, we have designed each of our chatbot personalities to be conversational and inviting. Conversational Intelligence has the power to make a notoriously stressful and automated process fun and distinctly personable, especially when emojis are involved 🙌.

Chatbots give every candidate an equal chance at landing an interview.

Chatbots provide context and depth around the static data gleaned from the ATS. Because every candidate can be engaged via chatbot, algorithm mismatches, various misspellings and differences in keywords no longer hinder a strong candidate from getting in front of the hiring manager. Chatbots, like Wendy, allow candidates to provide context to their resume; they have an opportunity to explain properly a successful project that would otherwise be summed up in a mere bullet point.

Candidate Chats with Wendy
Here, the candidate is able to give Wendy more details about her experience with open source projects.

A candidate’s experiences and skills cannot always be properly communicated in a resume. On top of that, the ATS responsible for gauging a candidate’s ability to do a job utilizes flawed algorithms and thus provides flawed recommendations. Conversational Intelligence allows candidates to best communicate who they are and what they can do, while also overcoming algorithm flaws within the ATS.

About the Author:

Bailey Newlan, Content & Growth Marketer at Wade & Wendy

Bailey Newlan is the Content & Growth Marketer at Wade & Wendy, a New York City-based startup on a mission to make hiring more human. Wade & Wendy’s artificially intelligent chatbot personalities bring clarity and simplicity to the hiring process. Wade is an always-on career guide for job seekers, while Wendy assists hiring managers throughout the recruitment process. To connect, reach out to Bailey via LinkedIn, Twitter or Medium and don’t forget to join the beta list.✌️


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