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Interview Scheduling Automation: There’s more to it than you think

Posted by
Kaushik Satish
on
February 18, 2022

Interview scheduling automation is often seen as a productivity enhancement initiative for recruiters. Yes, it’s definitely that but also much more.


What if we told you that by automating interview scheduling, you can:

  • Reduce time-to-hire by up to 50% (not kidding)
  • Deliver a delightful candidate experience
  • Stop candidates from ghosting you (yes!)
  • Positively impact your employer brand
  • Eliminate recruiter fatigue

And, of course, save your hiring team hours every week. Let us show you how.


How automated interview scheduling works

Once upon a time, interview scheduling was all about calendar sharing. The recruiter marks available slots on their calendar, shares a link and the candidate picks a time. While useful, calendar sharing is pretty limited in scope. For instance, if none of the available slots works for the candidate, they will either begin a back-and-forth with the recruiter or quietly drop off. And in case of a change of schedule later, the recruiter still has to coordinate with the participants.


This is where conversational AI-based interview scheduling helps. An end-to-end interview experience fueled by AI and automation will look something like this.


Step 1: A recruitment chatbot is deployed on the employer’s or staffing portal’s website to engage candidates as they show interest, screen them using a series of custom questions and instantly schedule qualified candidates for the next steps.


Step 2: An automated email is sent right away, marking the candidate, the recruiter and the interview panel (optional), confirming the appointment on their calendars.


Step 3: In case the interview slot is changed or cancelled, a custom email suggesting alternative dates is triggered to the participants. This simplifies communication.


Step 4: Automated reminders are sent to the candidate (and interviewers) 1-2 days before the interview via email or text. In our experience, text works very well for follow-ups and reminders as it reduces no-shows by up to 70%.


Step 5: Once the interview is over, feedback can be collected from the candidate via text or email, thus closing the loop.


In essence, using AI and automation to upgrade interview scheduling transforms the way both candidates and recruiters experience the process.


Benefits of automated interview scheduling

Faster hiring

The top 10% of candidates tend to find their next job in less than 10 days while the average hiring time hovers around 27 business days. Spot the problem?


To hire the best candidates, you need to significantly reduce hiring time. This means engaging candidates at every critical touch-point while nudging them to the next stage of the process. For instance, if a candidate leaves a query on your careers page over the weekend, it may be hours or even days before a recruiter can respond. Your top candidates would have moved on by then.


Deploying a conversational chatbot, you get a digital recruiter available 24x7 to answer questions, provide status updates and screen candidates in real-time. The chatbot is integrated with your recruiters' calendars, which means it can automatically schedule qualified candidates for interviews.


“There is a visible increase in the number of active talent logging onto job portals over the weekends, particularly Sundays. With automation, we are able to adjust to their preferred timings very easily. Candidates who engage with a bot schedule within 28 minutes,” Emily Giltner, Senior Vice President at Staffmark Group.

Stellar candidate experience

Ask any candidate and they'll tell you that waiting to hear back from employers is the most frustrating part of a job search. This wait is inevitable at every stage of the hiring process: after expressing interest, submitting their resume, getting on screening calls and interviews.


AI chatbots mitigate this frustration by screening candidates and scheduling interviews right from the careers site. Candidates no longer have to go through lengthy (often broken) applications or wait around for days to hear back from a recruiter. They feel assured that they’ve moved to the next step in the process. And it all happens seamlessly at a time convenient for them on their mobile phones (according to Glassdoor, 58% of job-seekers apply to openings on their phone).

You can extend this experience even after the candidate has left your website through follow-ups (application status updates), nudges (text reminders about interview time) and check-ins (making sure they are all set for their onboarding). All this makes the candidate feel valued and happy candidates are more likely to choose you over the competition.

Reduce candidate ghosting

There’s hardly a recruiter who’s not been ghosted by a candidate. You may consider ghosting ‘normal’ but it can be pretty disappointing and according to Indeed, is on the rise. A whopping 76% of employers reported that they’ve been ghosted by a candidate in 2020, a year of job losses and retrenchment.


Why do candidates ghost employers? Apart from bad interview experiences, the more common reasons are surprisingly simple. Most candidates are working one job while looking for another, which means they are busy during the day when recruiters typically reach out. They just may not have the time to pick up calls. More often, candidates miss interview appointments because they simply forgot to set up a reminder or schedule it on their calendars.


Candidates also get put off by how long it takes to hear back on their application. And their expectations are pretty high—34% of candidates expect to hear from recruiters within 24 hours of making an initial enquiry.


AI-powered chatbots have a fix for all these. Think of them as round-the-clock digital recruiters that are available to field queries at any time of the day and schedule qualified candidates whenever they are ready, while also helping avoid accidental ghosting with timely reminders.

Enhance your employer brand

What happens when you’ve had a bad experience at a restaurant? You get onto Yelp and talk about it. Candidates do that too. More than 52% of candidates who’ve had a bad experience say they share their experience on social media.


There is a lot of scope for missed communication and delays, which can be very frustrating for candidates. Platforms like Glassdoor, Indeed, and even Reddit and Quora are rife with such firsthand stories.


Such negative reviews can severely impact your employer brand (in the example above, 11 other candidates have marked this review as helpful) and over time, make you unattractive to top talent.


By automating interview scheduling, you give candidates full control over their time, flexibility to choose slots that work for them, and complete visibility. When they have a great experience interacting with you, they are more likely to leave you a positive review or even refer others from their network.

Eliminate recruiter fatigue

Remember the episodes on Seinfeld on the frustrations of coordinating an outing with friends? The back-and-forth, the endless change of plans…we’ve all laughed about it. Now imagine doing it every single day.


Recruiters spend more than 15% of their time coordinating with candidates and internal teams to schedule interviews. In high-volume recruiting, this number increases manifold.


"I've experienced [burnout] more than once in my career. You're having very similar conversations every day, filling the same roles, working with the same people. Sometimes I've referred to it as Groundhog Day," says Catherine Jaeger, Senior Recruiter at Walmart.


In our 2021 survey of HR leaders across 600 firms, respondents told us that they want their recruiters to focus on listening actively to candidates and building deeper relationships with them. How can recruiters do this if a large chunk of their time and energy is wasted on busywork?

How to choose the best interview scheduling software

The case for automating interview scheduling is pretty strong. So, how do you choose the best tool for the job? The real question to ask is whether you need one more standalone software that doesn’t talk to any of your other solutions while increasing your tech and operational overhead.


We at Sense are fans of an integrated recruiting stack—it keeps your operations simple, data unified and costs low. Look for an automation solution that comes with interview scheduling capabilities, in addition to meeting your core recruiting requirements.


When evaluating interview scheduling solutions, here are five capabilities to look for:

  1. Conversational AI to instantly engage applicants
  2. Real-time sync across multiple calendars
  3. Intuitive mobile-friendly interface
  4. Bi-directional integration with your ATS
  5. Enabled for both text and email communication


Do check out Sense’s suite of solutions that have helped 600+ market leaders accelerate hiring with 3X more hires, 2.5X increase in candidate NPS and 3000+ recruiter hours saved. See case studies.

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