February 21, 2019

Can a chatbot reduce HR ghosting by bridging the enthusiasm gap?​

Bots can keep the conversation going, while humans can’t or don’t have time. It all comes down to bridging the HR enthusiasm gap.

If you’re a millennial who’s gone on a few dates in the last 5 years, then you’re probably familiar with ghosting. In case you’re not, it’s when you go out on a date with someone, have a seemingly great time and then never see or hear from them again. In other words, they basically become a ghost. This phenomenon isn’t exclusive to dating culture. After chatting with a few different recruiting managers, we realized that ghosting is a more common problem than you might think.

In 2019, Indeed reported that 83% of surveyed companies experienced ghosting during the recruiting phase, while 1 in 5 new hires failed to show up for the first day of work. In a more recent study released in the first half of 2022, Brazen and TalentBoard identify ghosting as the top challenge for recruiters.

You’re probably thinking if humans can’t stop people from ghosting, what makes us believe that a bot can hold people accountable for showing up? Because bots can keep the conversation going, while humans can’t or don’t have time, and it all has to do with bridging the HR enthusiasm gap.

What is the HR enthusiasm gap?​

The enthusiasm gap is exactly what it sounds like. As job seekers find, apply and interview for jobs, their enthusiasm generally builds, especially, the further along they are in the interview process. Enthusiastic employees are more valuable to a company because they’re generally more engaged, positive, productive and inspiring than their less enthusiastic colleagues. However, once someone signs their new contract, resigns from their current position and begins their notice period, their enthusiasm tends to take a steady downturn.

A visualization of time vs. an employee's enthusiasm level with peak moments indicated

Whether they’re caught up in handovers, start second-guessing their decisions, or are approached by other companies for positions they previously applied to, new hires are stuck in this weird limbo during their notice period. Notice periods can last anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks, and during this time, the new employer goes radio silent and the new recruit starts to feel disconnected from or even ghosted by their new employer.

A visualization of time vs. an employee's enthusiasm level before and after the enthusiasm gap is bridged using conversational AI

However, suppose you can bridge this period with a pre-boarding program that maintains the current level of enthusiasm or builds on it leading up to the first day, not only do you reduce the chances of ghosting. In that case, you also start the employee’s first day and onboarding process at a much higher level of enthusiasm.

What are the benefits of bridging the enthusiasm gap?​

Before diving into how to bridge the enthusiasm gap, let’s address why you should bridge the enthusiasm. A.K.A. What’s in for you?

Benefits for recruiters​

👻 Fewer ghosts​

Keeping new recruits engaged during their notice period with a pre-boarding program makes it much harder for them to disappear into thin air.

💰 Avoid extra hiring costs​

The hiring process is expensive. If your first choice declines the offer, then you move on to your second choice. However, when a new signee ghosts, you need to restart the entire hiring process for the same position, because you already closed the vacancy and informed the other candidates that the position is filled. In the end, it costs double to fill a single position.

💾 Save time in the long run​

Not only is the hiring process expensive, it’s also time-consuming. Finding candidates, reading resumes, scheduling and hosting interviews, following up, negotiating contracts… It takes a lot of time to do it once. Now imagine having to do it twice…

☺️ Happier colleagues​

When a candidate signs a contract, it can be just as exciting for the future team as it is for the candidate. Most of the time, teammates look forward to the new employee’s start date. When a new employee doesn’t show up on the first day, it can have the team feeling anything between disappointed and annoyed to devastated and enraged. In short, no ghosts = happier colleagues.

Benefits for recruitees​

🧈 Smoother transition​

Bridging the enthusiasm gap with a pre-boarding program gives new hires a smoother transition into their new company, team and role. They start familiarizing themselves with their new job so that on their first day they’re more comfortable and spend less time trying to figure out who’s who and what’s what.

🧘 Reduced stress and anxiety​

The night-before jitters are a real thing. Imagine if you had someone who was available to answer all those last-minute questions you forgot to ask the hiring manager or weren’t included in your new boss’s welcome mail. How helpful would that be for easing your mind and prepping your work bag for the first day?

⚡ Faster integration​

By maintaining contact and keeping up enthusiasm during the notice period, new recruits learn more about the company and culture so that they assimilate more quickly. They know what to expect and they can ask their questions when they pop up instead of waiting for 3 weeks and ultimately forgetting. They also feel like they’re already a part of the company before they officially begin.

🏃 Increased productivity​

When new recruits start, they often spend the first day trying to figure out how to log in to their email. The next three weeks aren’t that much more productive either. Asking for access to different company tools, learning who’s who, trying to figure out where the printer is located… These are all things that take time and energy away from doing the job you hired them to do. If you covered all these basic questions during a pre-boarding phase not only would they maintain a connection with your company during their notice period, they’d hit the ground running and be ready to go on their first day.

How can a chatbot bridge the HR enthusiasm gap?​

A chatbot can’t do everything, but it sure can help with a lot of things, including bridging the enthusiasm gap.

Here are 6 reasons why chatbot is perfect for automating employee pre-boarding and onboarding and ultimately reducing ghosting.

1. It’s personalized​

A bot answers exactly what your new hire asks when they ask it. You can also set up time-triggered flows and messages to engage the new hire at key moments before their start date. Ex. Ask for banking details 2 weeks prior to the start date, or send a good luck message the night before.

2. It’s interactive and instantaneous.​

Instead of waiting hours or days for a response, new hires receive an answer instantly. They can also ask follow-up questions, which makes the experience interactive and engaging.

3. Neutralize unfair advantages​

Some managers are great at reaching out to new hires before their start date and prepping them for their first day and week. Others, not so much. Using a chatbot relieves new managers of this pressure and puts all new employees on the same playing field. Every new hire has access to the same information and support.

4. Streamline communication​

A chatbot is consistent in how it responds. You only need to update the information in one place and then it’s the same answer for everyone who asks that question. It also serves as one central point of contact for new hires to visit and ask questions.

5. Strengthen employer branding​

You define what your chatbot answers and how it responds. So it’s always in line with your employer branding and company culture.

6. Save time and resources​

Instead of wading through your overflowing inbox and spending time answering the same question over and over, you sit down once and define the answers once. From that moment on, you won’t have to answer those questions again. You’ll just need to make small updates when there are changes to policies or updated information.

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