Will Chatbots Take Over HR Tech? Paradox Sets The Pace.

Chatbots used to be tinker-toys. You type, try to get help, but usually result in “please call support.” Well all this has changed.

Thanks to advanced NLP (natural language processing) and AI (retrieval-augmented generation) chatbots are entire applications. They can answer complex questions, search databases, and invoke transactions on your behalf.

Pretty soon we’ll be able to ask our phones “please find me a flight to Los Angeles next Tuesday morning” and the system will check your location and calendar, look at flights, and book you a seat.

Where is this going in HR? Well the leader in this space is Paradox.ai, a company that pioneered the application of conversational AI in recruiting. And their system “defines the category.”

Let me explain.

Recruiting Is The Perfect Market For Conversational AI

Recruiting is a goldmine for automation. When you post a job, applicants want to ask many predictable things: “How much does it pay?” “What are the hours?” or “What uniform do I need” or “What are the benefits?”

The recruiter, a person devoted to filling positions, has to answer all these questions and more. They have to screen candidates, schedule interviews, check for qualifications, and look at credentials, experience, and more. It’s time-consuming, error-prone, and filled with wasted time. (That’s why talent acquisition teams have many “schedulers” and admins.)

The average “time to hire” is over 45 days and often the process goes on for months. And throughout the experience the job seeker is left wondering “when will they call back” or “what else do I need to know?”

(CEOs cite hiring as the third most time-wasting process in companies, following emails and meetings, estimated at “40% wasted time.”)

Paradox uses Conversational AI to solve this problem. And because this is a “narrow but deep” space, the system does many things we can learn from in all our AI efforts.

Paradox was founded by Aaron Matos in 2016. Aaron’s vision was to transform the candidate experience, revolutionizing the way candidates apply to jobs. Today Paradox has become a complete Conversational AI Recruitment Platform (chat to apply, scheduling, candidate support, ATS, assessments, onboarding, career site, and more), serving clients like Unilever, CVS Health, Pfizer, L’Oreal, Nestle, McDonald’s FedEx, Compass Group, Disney, and General Motors.

The platform automates tasks such as screening for requirements, interview scheduling, reminders, offers, and new hire onboarding. And because it’s so easy to use, it helps companies radically improves time-to-hire and quality of hire. Based on my conversations with clients, Paradox can automate more than 90% of the end-to-end hiring process, saving hiring managers hours every week and increasing candidate conversion by more than 10 times.

But this innovation did not happen overnight. As you know, going to a candidate website and looking for a job is a frustrating process. There are often hundreds of jobs listed, a complex scrolling website and very hard to even determine what job to apply for.

You might argue that the website paradigm for job applications was never really a good idea in the first place. People don’t want to browse for jobs: they want to apply for a job that’s best for them. So the first thing Paradox did was create an easy to use assistant (Olivia) so candidates could ask questions and schedule interviews. And this meant that Paradox had to build integrations with every ATS and personal email and calendar tools out there.

Then, as companies started to use Paradox for scheduling, the company added more. Today Olivia, the chatbot, can integrate with background check vendors, schedule interviews, deliver assessments (Paradox acquired a conversational assessment Traitify designed for this), and function as an ATS … all from a mobile phone. In many ways Paradox can be “the integration platform” for candidates and recruiters, stitching together the messy systems behind the scenes.

This turned into a massive opportunity. Just as the Google Assistant or Siri hopes to be our single contact with the internet, Paradox partners with systems of record like Workday, SAP, and Oracle to bring conversational AI to any company. The company’s revenues have grown 11 times in the last four years, and are now nearly doubling each year.

For customers Paradox has been amazing. As the candidate pipeline speeds up (by an order of magnitude), clients get higher quality candidates with dramatically reduced staff. (Staffing administrators can almost go away.)

Consider high-volume hiring companies. These businesses (McDonald’s, Compass Group, Neighborly, FedEx, Disney) hire service-related workers on a regular basis. Their revenue is dependent on having enough people. With Paradox they can set up a “continuous recruitment process,” one that even hires people the same day they apply.

Paradox has become essential to these companies growth, often paying for itself in less than a year (through reduced hiring staff, reduced spend on job ads, and reduced turnover.)

Today, as Paradox built out its ATS, customers can rely on the platform to integrate front end tool (job portals and candidate support) to back end tools scheduling, ATS, onboarding) most of which are legacy. One of our clients has 27 recruiting tools and they anticipate replacing more than half of them with a platform like Paradox.

What about higher level white collar roles? Paradox works here too. General Motors uses Paradox along with Workday (ATS), (branded Evie) to redesign the process.

  1. Interview Scheduling: Evie automates scheduling of phone screens and interviews between recruiters, candidates, and internal teams. This has reduced the time taken for interview scheduling from an average of five days to 29 minutes.
  2. Candidate Experience: Evie interacts with candidates from the moment they land on GM’s career site until the completion of their interview. Candidates appreciate the immediate communication from Evie after they apply or complete an interview, and enjoy the autonomy to select and change interview times.
  3. Efficiency and Cost Savings: The automation of interview scheduling has led to a major reduction in the cost of external contractors for coordination.
  4. Career Site Interaction: Evie sits on GM’s career site, answering questions from potential candidates about jobs, benefits, and company culture. This interaction enhances the candidate’s experience and provides them with immediate responses to their queries.

Where Is Paradox Going

The company is perfectly positioned to continue its growth as companies look for AI solutions to improve the productivity and effectiveness of recruiting. And demand is high: the 2024 PwC CEO survey found that recruiting was considered the #3 “most bureaucratic process” by CEOs (following email and meetings).

The impact on recruiters? All positive. Clients tell us they can redeploy hiring staff to help recruiters focus on the most important part of their job: talking with candidates.

But there’s a much bigger story. When a job candidate is handled efficiently and effectively the process becomes a brand-builder for the candidate, improving quality of hire. Ambitious job seekers will not put up with (or wait for) a messy, confusing hiring process. So not only is the process faster and more efficient, the quality of hire goes up.

Companies are desperately looking for AI solutions that work. As Paradox has proven, when you focus deeply on the problem, conversational AI can be transformational.

Listen to my conversation with Adam Godson (CEO) and you’ll hear the details. This is where the HR Tech market is going.

Additional Information

Understanding AI in HR

Our New AI in HR Certificate Course – #1 In The Josh Bersin Academy

The Role Of Generative AI In HR Is Now Becoming Clear

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