< Back to Hiring Blog

How to Train a Recruiting Chatbot to Answer Not-So-Obvious Questions

August 21, 2020
iCIMS Staff
5 min read

Today you can go to work, tour a home, order groceries, attend a concert, explore world-class museums, and maybe even find love – all from the relative comfort and safety of your couch. This is the real story of 2020, or at least part of it anyway. Understanding modern life is impossible without first understanding just how much of it takes place online.

Welcome to the wonderful world of digital transformation.

For decades businesses have sought to move more and more of their operations online – including essential HR functions such as recruiting. This year has fast-tracked those plans by years.

  1. Digital transformation in hiring is no longer optional. If you’re working remote, chances are how you source, screen, and interview is remote as well. It’s no longer just about constant improvement and finding a better way of doing things. It’s about necessity.
  2. Transforming how you recruit online is far less complicated than it used to be. We no longer have to choose between excellence and simplicity. And you don’t need to be a tech titan to benefit.

Enter the fastest, easiest – dare we say the best – way to transform how you hire. Enter a recruiting chatbot.

The newest member of your team rocks (and is also a friendly robot)

Why chatbots? First, because chatbots represent more time back in your recruiters’ days.

That’s time they don’t have to worry about coordinating background checks or scheduling interviews. Valuable time they can now spend sourcing and building authentic, one-on-one relationships with candidates. That’s true whether you’re hiring for multiples of the same role or looking for that one purple unicorn.

Second, interacting with your company is easier for job seekers when you employ a recruiting chatbot. Chatbots are a convenient, low-pressure way to find information, learn about job openings, and start the application process instantly from any device.

So, you like the idea of a recruiting chatbot. But what about training one? It’s a lot simpler than it sounds. Today, we’ll focus on the questions your chatbot should be prepared to answer and how to get started.

Did you know? Companies with sophisticated recruiting processes and technology generate an average of 18% more revenue and 30% more profit per employee?

Questions your chatbot will get about your company and culture

  • Can you describe the company culture?
  • Where are your offices located? What are the amenities?
  • Tell me about your vacation policy.
  • What is the salary and benefits?
  • Do you have a work from home policy?

Most of what your chatbot needs to know about your company is evergreen. Questions about when your company was founded and where it’s located won’t change often, if at all. Barring major changes to your organization or hiring process, your chatbot is good to go once it’s set up (although we do recommend periodic audits to make sure the information is up to date).

However, it’s wise to consider current events and trends. Job seekers will ask your chatbot about your company’s response to the events 2020 has put on our plates. For example, since COVID-19-related lockdowns began in March of 2020, we’ve seen a huge uptick in the number of job seekers asking about flexible hours and work from home policies.

Did you know? Recruiting chatbots engage job seekers who might not otherwise interact with a recruiter. In the first half of 2020 iCIMS ARI interacted with more than 1M unique job seekers.

This chatbot knows more about pizza than you

While many questions will be somewhat transactional in nature (“how much will I get paid an hour?”), there’s opportunity to train your chatbot to sell unique and compelling aspects of your employer brand.

Take your company culture for example. RPM Pizza, the largest Domino’s franchisee in the U.S., trained their recruiting chatbot Dottie “to share fun facts, like how many slices are in a large pizza, and to deflect inappropriate questions.” Dottie is very much a characterization of RPM Pizza’s brand; she’s fun, bubbly, earnest, professional.

But there’s more to her than meets the eye. Dottie played a pivotal role in cutting RPM Pizza’s employee turnover rate by half and keeping it well below the industry average. While Dottie exemplifies a fun work environment, she’s also upfront and honest about the fast-paced nature of the business. This encourages poor fits to self-select out of the hiring process before it gets started.

Questions your chatbot will get about relevant job openings

  • What are my career advancement opportunities?
  • Who is a good fit?
  • How make breaks do I get per shift?
  • What full time positions do you have?
  • Who would my manager be?

Questions about job openings are pretty straightforward. You can draft answers that address these questions or program your chatbot to explain that specific details will be discussed later with a recruiter.

Ever read a job description and thought to yourself, I have no idea what this job actually is. Am I qualified? Chatbots cut through the legalese and corporate jargon to connect job seekers with the right roles. Using smart matching technology, your chatbot can suggest jobs based on the interests and experience job seekers share.

Did you know? Chatbots free up recruiters by engaging in conversation and fielding frequently asked questions. In the first half of 2020, iCIMS ARI sent and received more than 70M texts and answered nearly 125,000 candidate questions.

Questions your chatbot will get about the application and hiring process

  • What should I bring to the interview?
  • How do I apply?
  • Can I schedule an interview?
  • Please change my contact phone number.
  • How old do I have to be to apply?

Most questions about applying will be simple. But there’s one last, big advantage to cover.

Your chatbot doesn’t just help active job seekers. Like any good recruiter, your chatbot courts potential applicants who weren’t quite ready to apply. Whether a job seeker is passively looking or just doing a bit of research, your chatbot knows when to ask and when to play it cool.

At first, chatbots introduce themselves and play an informative role. Hello, how can I help you today? As the conversation progresses, they seek to convert job seekers who indicate they’re open to applying.

As a potential candidate, there’s less pressure when talking to a chatbot versus a human. This also frees your recruiters to spend their time focused on interested job seekers.

Did you know? Chatbots are ideal for high-volume administrative tasks. In the first half of 2020, iCIMS ARI received nearly 1M applications by text and set up over 30,000 interviews.


Want to learn more about what a chatbot can do for your team? Check out our Definitive Guide to Creating Recruiting Chatbots to get your newest recruiter up and running. Get your copy here.

DG to recruiting chatbot cta

Join our growing community

and receive free tips on how to attract, engage, hire, & advance the best talent.

privacy notice

Explore categories

Explore categories

Back to top

Learn how iCIMS can help you attract, engage, hire, and advance the best talent

Read more about Recruiting chatbot

Do I really need a virtual recruiting chatbot?

Read more

Business and hiring plans changing, again? We got you.

Read more

Build a better job seeker experience with a recruiting chatbot and conversational AI

Read more