Quick-Fire Chats with Yodel: Using Chatbots to Put the Candidate in Control

Ben Gledhill is a familiar name in the UK recruiter sphere, and a big advocate for rec tech, employer branding and candidate experience both online and off. His passion and drive to innovate recruitment has brought him a wealth of experience heading up recruitment at companies like Santander, Sofology and most recently, Yodel.

We’re thrilled to welcome Ben to our Recruitment Technology Conference stage on 7th February 2019, as he will tell us how chatbot technology has helped Yodel deliver a quick and painless candidate experience in a matter of weeks. Below we catch up with Ben to find out a bit more about his upcoming talk.  

“When I joined Yodel in January last year, the recruitment process wasn’t set up for success – our role was purely transactional, we had no forward-planning in place and no form of relationship with the wider business,” Ben says. This led to a very disengaging recruitment experience for the candidate, as a result.

A hiring culture driven by candidate experience

“People still see resourcing as a very transactional part of the business but there is a strategic element to it, it’s all about the people! Recruitment is critical to the growth and safety of the business. I’m a big believer in creating a culture of giving good candidate experience.”

Like most delivery companies, Yodel’s peak hiring period is just before Christmas. During this time, Ben and his team receive about 5,500 applications per week. Due to the sheer volume of applications, they knew they needed to become a lot more efficient if they wanted to ensure a perfect experience to thousands of candidates at once.

But to achieve this, they had to do it on the candidates’ terms. As most delivery service drivers work in shift-patterned roles, they will probably be unable to apply for a role during the normal 9-5 working hours. Others might not have the confidence to speak to someone over the phone about work opportunities. It was quickly clear that the chatbot route was the most optimal one to take to allow candidates to apply at their own convenience.

“It’s all about working around the candidates’ schedule and showing them we have all the right information to get a good sense of the job that suits them, at the interview stage.” By automating the preliminary screening, candidates could be matched to vacancies and apply for a role in as little as 10 minutes.

Keeping it simple

With a 97% positive experience reported within the first 6 weeks of implementation, Yodel’s chatbot application system has freed up the recruitment team’s time to do more value-adding activities with Hiring Managers and candidates at the bottom of the funnel. “Before we implemented the chatbot, we did a lot of research and process re-engineering to make sure our house was in order. We knew that if we kept the user experience simple and gave the bot a very conversational tone of voice, we could achieve something great.”

With so many of our daily transactions already automated, candidates expect advanced technology to facilitate their application process, Ben believes. “I don’t think candidates are afraid of tech. I think recruiters are, because they think their own processes might not be set up for success. There is still a lot of miseducation around automation and technology in recruitment.”

We will never remove the human element from recruitment, but there are certain processes that can be automated to make the overall experience much better for both recruiter and candidate, he concludes.

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Hear Ben’s full story and find out why you too should give chatbots a try, at our Recruitment Technology Conference on 7th February 2019.

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