Before Harry met Allie, his days were empty and his nights restless. He would often spend long hours online in desperate search for a match, but he would eventually log off, with a heavy heart. The endless forms, the incompatibilities, the same ads from prospective partners repeated across a bewildering array of websites all left him tired and frustrated. Then Harry met Allie — and she changed his life!
No, this is not the storyline for the remake of a classic Hollywood film, but a description of how the often grueling task of seeking a job just became easier. Allie is an interactive bot, a software application designed to independently perform repetitive tasks. You can find her on the Facebook page of Allianz Careers, where she helps people navigate through the multitude of job offerings.
It’s easy to catch her attention. Just send a message via the Facebook page. “Hi, I’m Allie, the very first job bot of Allianz,” she introduces herself, before offering job seekers assistance in finding a suitable position at “the world’s coolest insurance and financial services company.” Dominik Hahn of the People Attraction team at Allianz explains that Allie was created in response to changing job search patterns.
“Younger generations now gather information about and approach Allianz through social media platforms, rather than the internet site or traditional means,” he says. “Being used to instant feedback, they also expect a prompt response when looking for concrete jobs or general employer information. If a company wants a chance at winning the best candidates, then it must respond to these needs.”
Building on the growing familiarity people have with bots - such as Alexa from Amazon or Siri from Apple - Allie prompts users to respond to questions concerning the desired field of work, job level, and geographical preference. At the end of a successful chat, she presents a link to a pre-filtered job search, where job seekers can directly start their application.
Allie is designed to find jobs, but she doesn’t hesitate to inform users that she’s in her “baby years.” Allianz released her as part of a “release early, release often” software development approach. Through their interactions with Allie, users can help develop Allie to better meet their needs.
According to Nadja Gruber, also from Allianz’s Global People Attraction team, one of the next steps will be to help Allie fine-tune her ability to search through the jobs list. Allianz offers more than 1,000 jobs at any given time, but if users enter rare combinations in the search filters, even Allie has trouble finding a suitable position. She will soon be able to check whether the pre-filtered link contains results — and advise the user accordingly.
Allie responds to feedback – both positive and negative – and even tells you if the way you talk to her is appropriate for a potential future Allianz employee. Gruber sees her doing much more in the future. “For example, she could answer questions about the status of an application. Integrating other technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, could mean Allie could even become ‘smart’ enough to match CVs to suitable job offers.”
Job seekers, wherever they are in the world, need not wait for business hours in other geographies to get a response. Also, the search support Allie offers is faster than a user going through the official careers page. If the user poses a question Allie cannot answer, she directs them to a human “supervisor”, who takes over the conversation.
Currently, Allie speaks English, but is eager to learn and she is working on becoming multilingual. It is likely that she will soon speak French, German, Italian and even Spanish. She might also overcome her shyness and become more social in the future, debuting on not just the Allianz Careers page but also on WhatsApp. “From the feedback, we know that people have fun chatting to Allie. Many candidates hadn’t expected this service from a company like Allianz - it definitely has a positive branding effect when it comes to our digital readiness and attractiveness as an employer,” finishes Hahn.
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