Smart vs Dumb Chatbots: Why you Should Invest in a True Conversational AI Platform for Your Staffing Firm

Andrew KimmellBots, Conversational AI

You’ve probably been hearing people talk about artificial intelligence for the past few years. And let’s be honest, sometimes it felt like the talk was a lot more exciting than the tech. 

Fully autonomous cars have felt like a pipe dream, a lot of chatbots out there are still frustrating to chat with, and the robots can’t even figure out what a crosswalk is.

But, recently, the buzz about artificial intelligence has been getting louder and louder – and with good reason. In the past few years, real-world applications for AI have exploded, with mind-boggling innovations in every facet of life, from art and music to science and business. 

You can now use AI to create images compelling and convincing enough to win art awards. Biochemists are using AI to make medicine faster and cure diseases. AI music generation tools are giving the Beatles a run for their money. And an AI copywriter generated these sentences:

In a world where the competition for top talent is increasingly fierce, AI provides a significant advantage. It’s clear that AI is the future of staffing and recruiting.

AI copywriter

And though the AI pens a good sentence, we’d like to make an edit: AI is the future of staffing and recruiting – and the future is right now. 

The AI chatbots of today have evolved since the dumb, smoke-and-mirrors AI of the past. Here’s how real AI is different and how it can help your staffing firm start more conversations, place more candidates, and stay ahead of the competition.

Smart vs Dumb Chatbots

Successful staffing firms are built on conversations. And, as skilled as the AI above is at writing good sentences, a good conversation is even harder to emulate. Conversations are dynamic and unpredictable. They require the kind of responsiveness that you might not associate with chatbots. 

But, that’s because most people are used to interacting with dumb chatbots. So, what’s the difference between a dumb chatbot and a smart chatbot using real conversational AI?

Here’s a quick breakdown.


A chatbot that runs on dumb AI is pre-programmed and acts solely on the specifications of a decision tree. If a candidate types in X, the chatbot will respond with Y. 

But, anyone in staffing knows that candidates aren’t all the same. Candidates are complex and don’t fit into a prewritten script. Sure, some candidates will type in X and ask the predicted question. But many more will reach out with something unique and off-script, with R or 9 or X2

When the scenario of an unknown question occurs, smart and dumb AI will initially respond in the same way with something like “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that.”

What differentiates smart and dumb AI is the ability to take a phrase it didn’t understand, let a human know, get trained on the new responses, and continually learn. 

In the face of an unpredictable question or unfamiliar phrase, a chatbot that runs on a decision tree will respond again and again with an error message. Because this kind of old-school chatbot can’t learn, it creates a poor experience for candidates. 

After the third or fourth “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that” from the old-school chatbot, the candidate will likely navigate away. And the staffing firm will have no way to teach the chatbot to handle the situation differently in the future.

But real AI is different. Real AI is smart and conversational. It uses natural language understanding, processing, and machine learning to respond to unpredictable situations. 

Natural language understanding means that real AI uses algorithms to understand people’s meaning. Machine learning is real AI’s ability to adapt to new situations without being explicitly taught what to do. 

Together, NLU, NLP, and ML (what it takes to make a smart conversational AI) mean that a chatbot that runs on real AI will be continuously learning and responding to candidates’ specific needs. AI with a teachable Bot Brain can learn to respond more like a human. And staffing firms can update language on the backend to help the AI be even more responsive to candidates.  

As a result, new chatbots have your firm’s back and can be available to candidates 24/7 (24-hour accessibility, btw, is the most popular benefit of chatbots for consumers) – without the need for constant human supervision. 

Making AI Conversational to Connect with More Candidates and Clients

Since your staffing firm runs on conversations, the more connections you can make with candidates, the more meetings you can get booked and the faster your staffing firm will grow. 

But many staffing firms are stuck in the old way of doing things. Whether they’re relying on simple email automation or not using a smart chatbot, their recruiters still have to make manual touchpoints with potential candidates at every stage of the candidate journey. 

Without a true conversational AI, recruiters simply cannot connect with as many candidates. These firms tend to fall behind. In fact, fast-growth firms are 109% more likely to use chatbots than slow-growth firms.

Smart chatbots allow you to scale your conversations, freeing up your recruiters to focus on the most important points of connection in the candidate journey. 

When potential candidates first reach out to you via website visits, live chats, or text messages, you can trust new, intelligent chatbots to handle these initial conversations with ease. The chatbots can direct visitors to open job listings, guide them through application steps, and even walk them through FAQs. 

Because smart chatbots are on the frontlines for you, your recruiters have time to build relationships, run interviews, and create deeper connections with candidates. In fact, 64% of agents with chatbots are able to spend most of their time solving complex issues.

Smart chatbots don’t just respond to inbound leads. They can also help your staffing firm send outbound bot flows that offer a series of touchpoints throughout the recruiting cycle. This allows your firm to connect with more candidates and qualify them faster. 

With a smart chatbot to field incoming contacts and generate more leads, you can touch more candidates and grow your staffing firm faster.

Go from a Knowledge Base (FAQs) to a Knowledge Model (Bot Brain)

So, how do you get started with real AI for your staffing firm? One easy way to make your website more interactive and engage more candidates in conversation is to make your FAQ section a bit smarter.

You likely already have a FAQ section on your website. Potential connections, candidates, and clients navigate to your website, scroll through the FAQ page, and click around to find the information they are searching for. 

Though they may eventually find the answer to their question, this model – expecting browsers to do the work – is outdated. 

Two of the most common frustrations consumers have when interacting with online platforms are struggling to find answers to simple questions and being unable to find basic business information. These are the hallmarks of a hard-to-navigate FAQ page. 

The more accessible basic information about your firm is, the more these frustrations will be reduced. 

With the latest generation of AI, you can upload your FAQs into a Knowledge Model, or a Bot Brain. This allows AI to answer candidate questions through many more channels including your website chatbot, text message, or even through Alexa. ? 

The biggest differentiator between a knowledge base and a knowledge model is the ability for the bot to kick off complex processes from a question or statement rather than just respond with text or a link. Some examples of this are starting a live chat with a recruiter, scheduling a call, or starting an apply process. 

By shifting to a Knowledge Model, conversational AI can access and answer frequently asked questions. This turns a frustrating browsing experience into another positive conversation.

Invest in a true AI platform

As the FAQ example shows, it’s crucial to implement AI at the most beneficial points in the candidate journey. For example, many firms mistake email automation software for AI. 

Recruiting automation software up to this point has been based on email as the primary channel and attempting to build a conversational AI experience on these older platforms is a recipe for disaster.      

To stay ahead of competitors, you have to invest in a true conversational AI platform that is backed by powerful NLU, NLP, and ML instead of expecting your email automation software to try and provide it. 

OneReach.ai’s proprietary NLU Engine amalgamates multiple systems and selects the best-performing one. Read more

We’re beginning to realize the true, vast potential of AI to accelerate our connections, improve our workdays, and help you place more candidates. 

We’re at an inflection point and the evolution of AI is going to move at lightning speed. Those who don’t adapt early will quickly find themselves falling behind. 

P.S. We’re here to help!

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