SmartRecruiters Blog

How to Better Qualify Candidates with Conversational Recruiting

When narrowing down a pool of top job candidates, communication, engagement, and documentation are essential. Instrumental in that process is the combination of conversational recruiting and knowledge management

Both recruiters and job-seekers alike will tell you: the recruiting process can be full of pain points that can derail a relationship before it even really begins. Too often, these problems boil down to miscommunication—which can cause myriad other problems, such as gaps in knowledge, redundant processes, and mismatched targeting.

The key to ensuring clear communication takes place?

Conversational recruiting—backed by a solid approach to knowledge management.

What is Conversational Recruiting?

Conversational recruiting is the process of conversing with potential job candidates in an effort to attract and engage them—and begin qualifying them for the position in question.

(Those familiar with the concept of conversational marketing can see parallels between how both approaches can generate leads and engage with their intended targets.)

In contrast to the traditional approach to recruiting, conversational recruiting involves minimal “formal” engagements, such as form-filling and other more mechanical processes. 

Instead, conversational recruiting focuses on communicating with candidates in a more authentic, personable manner. This, in turn, allows recruiters to develop stronger relationships with high-quality candidates well before the “official” interviewing process begins.

“Chatbots are a great tool to improve the candidate experience and recruiter efficiency. That being said, they are still only a small piece of the overall talent screening process. When a chatbot is combined with the right screening and matching technology, we not only see improvements in efficiency but in accuracy and fairness as well.”  – Somen Mondal, CEO of Ideal

Research shows that feeling understood is a powerful driver of social behavior. An important aspect of being able to understand another is picking up on the nuances in conversations, such as a shift in tone or direction.” 

One of the main reasons conversational recruiting has become a growing trend is because technology has enabled recruiters to absolutely thrive in this area. 

By today’s standards, recruiters can communicate with potential candidates in a variety of ways, such as:

  • On-site and social media chat.
  • Social media content, posts, and comments.
  • Email, text message and push notifications.
  • Audio and video chat.

In addition to enabling true one-to-one conversations to occur between recruiters and candidates, technology also allows recruiters to create simulated engagements with potential hires. For example, on-site or social media chatbots can help you collect preliminary information on a potential candidate from your very first engagement:

Or, you might set up templated emails to be sent out to candidates that take a specific action (such as submitting their contact information via your chatbot). Here, you could engage in a more personalized conversation with the individual candidate, allowing their replies to become more open-ended in nature.

Regardless of where or how a given conversation takes place, the goal of conversational recruiting is for each engagement to keep the relationship growing and moving toward an interview. 

Again, technology comes into play here, as it allows recruiters to:

  • Engage with recruits on the platforms they’re most likely to use throughout their job search.
  • Pick up conversations right where they left off, regardless of the channel.
  • Deliver the right information to the right recruits, and begin preparing them for the interview process.

Now, technology can enable all of this to happen; but it can’t make it so.

In order to take advantage of the technology involved in conversational recruiting, you need to have a solid knowledge management system in place. In the next section, we’ll explain just why that is.

How Does Knowledge Management Fit Into Conversational Recruiting?

Knowledge management refers to the organization-wide process of collecting, organizing, interpreting, communicating, and using information.

A few examples:

  • An outgoing employee creates a file documenting their tasks and duties for their replacement to refer to as needed.
  • Managerial staff develop policies and procedures for their teams to follow, and use various tools to deliver these documents to their employees.
  • Information regarding engagements with prospective employees, customers, and other entities is documented, stored, and communicated to stakeholders as necessary.

From a bird’s-eye view, it’s pretty easy to see how knowledge management relates to conversational recruiting: Without this flow of information occurring throughout an organization, engagements with potential candidates can go absolutely nowhere.

More than just enabling these conversations to take place, proper knowledge management allows these conversations to thrive. As we said earlier, a pleasant and productive lead-up to onboarding a new hire will ultimately lead to more productivity across the board.

That said, let’s take a closer look at how effective knowledge management can improve your conversational recruiting efforts.

Knowledge Management Centralizes and Prepares Data for Delivery

Most instances of conversational recruiting happen in or near real-time.

When engaging with an on-site chatbot, for example, recruits will typically expect an immediate response to any question they may have. For this to happen, the “recruiter”—in this case, a digital tool—must have immediate access to the information being requested. It’s essential, then, that your organization’s collective knowledge be stored in a centralized repository solution such as a knowledge base or wiki. 

In addition to creating the structures for such communication to occur, knowledge management also ensures that the right information exists in the first place. With regard to conversational recruiting, this means:

  • Knowing what documentation to create for recruiters to pull from.
  • Organizing documents and files to allow for easy recall and communication of the right information.
  • Continuously maintaining and updating data to ensure accuracy at all times.

SmartRecruiters’ applicant tracking system, for example, allows recruiters to document engagements and other touch points as they begin to bring new hires onboard.

Without solid knowledge management, it’s nearly impossible to provide your candidates with the information they need when considering working with your company. 

But, with proper knowledge management processes in place, you’ll always be able to deliver the exact information your top recruits are looking for. In turn, they’ll be even more likely to remain engaged with your organization.

Knowledge Management Ensures Proper Data Collection

As much as conversational recruiting is about delivering info to your recruits, it’s also about collecting info from them, as well.

As your team or tools engage with a recruit, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn more about them. For example, over the course of multiple interactions, your recruit might end up discussing their:

  • Skills, qualifications, and certifications.
  • Professional and personal goals and preferences.
  • Individual circumstances that may impact their performance.

With proper knowledge management processes in place, all incoming candidate data can be funneled directly into the same centralized location. This ensures that you’ll never miss out on a vital piece of data that might prove valuable when attracting a given recruit. 

Photo of numbers on a white sheet of paper.

Knowledge management also aims to ensure that outdated candidate information is continually replaced with current data as it comes in. That way, your team and tools will always be able to pick up with candidates right where they left off.

Looking at the whole of an organization’s initiatives, knowledge management involves collecting and internalizing performance data, as well. This can help you optimize your approach to conversational recruiting moving forward—and enable you to better attract and engage the right candidates for your company.

Knowledge Management Helps Identify Best-Fit Candidates and Optimal Engagement Strategies

Speaking of engaging with best-fit candidates…

As we said, you have a variety of options at your disposal in terms of conversational recruiting. Each option, of course, includes its own set of options and variables. And, of course, not every candidate responds the same way to each of these options.

Knowledge management, then, is necessary for identifying:

  • The best-fit candidate(s) for a given position.
  • The optimal way to reach out to these individuals.
  • How to proceed with a given candidate in order to help the relationship grow.

By assessing all relevant information known about the candidate, the position, and anything else of note, your recruiting team can develop a clear-cut strategy for bringing your next new hire onboard.

A recent case study by chatbot development company ubisend displays exactly how a chatbot helped a business qualify candidates and save precious time. 

The business, a large construction company, struggled with applicants making their way too far down the process before realizing they lacked important qualifications. With over 350 positions open at any given point, the time wasted was significant.

To combat this, the business implemented a recruitment chatbot. The recruitment chatbot would be the first line of contact between applicants and the business. Its sole purpose would be to gather the necessary information from applicants to vet their qualifications. With this information, the chatbot would be able to:

  1. Act as a gatekeeper to applicants who do not fit the requirements.
  2. Prioritize candidates that do fit the requirements.
  3. Save everyone (including candidates) time.

The recruitment chatbot approach resulted in a 73% reduction in unqualified job applications across the business.


The takeaway from this post is twofold:

  • Conversational recruiting is an incredibly effective way to engage with and qualify job candidates during the leadup to the more formal interview stage of the process.
  • The effectiveness of your conversational recruiting efforts depends on your knowledge management capabilities.

While knowledge management can be implemented in all areas of your business, our focus today is on using knowledge management to create a streamlined experience for your potential recruits—as well as your recruitment team. 

Interested in adopting conversational recruiting into your talent acquisition strategy? There’s no better place to begin than pairing SmartRecruiters’ ATS with an Intelligent Chatbot.

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Josh Brown

Josh Brown is a digital marketing consultant at Helpjuice.