Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used by enterprise human resource (HR) departments to handle frequent questions by employees, improve the on-boarding process of new hires, and automate repetitive HR tasks.

The next logical step is for AI to help with the process of recruiting and screening job applicants. That step has already been taken by a San Francisco-based start-up called Mya Systems (previously known as FirstJob), which has developed an AI-powered virtual assistant called Mya that can help job candidates find the right positions and employers find the right job candidates.

Mya uses AI and natural language processing to engage job applicants through online chats, initiating a conversation after a candidate has applied on the enterprise’s job site. Dialog management capabilities enable Mya to guide the conversation. This includes answering questions from applicants about company culture and policies.

“At each point in the conversation she is processing the current state, action and result,” Mya Systems explains. “Once the conversation is complete, she will send a scorecard and transcript to your applicant tracking system.”

Should a job candidate impress Mya, the chatbot will schedule an interview and notify the human decision-makers in HR.

Mya Systems says its chat bot is being used by numerous Fortune 500 companies and three of the five biggest recruitment agencies. Customers that have used Mya to “qualify, engage and schedule candidates” have seen a 70% reduction in time to hire, the start-up says.

Streamlining a process as complex as hiring employees undoubtedly is a big benefit to enterprises, particularly when hiring executive and technical talent, which can be a drawn-out process that ties up HR professionals while leaving enterprise teams to cope with productivity-challenging vacancies.

One potential drawback to using chat bots in the recruitment and early screening phase is that some candidates will be turned off by the process. According to Mya Systems, 80% of job candidates re-engaged with Mya in-app or via text after an initial exchange. That means only 20% essentially dropped out of the process (before we ever got to know what they perceive to be their biggest weakness!). Given the vast reduction in time to hire, that seems like a reasonable trade-off.

Is your enterprise using AI to help make hiring decisions? And is it helping? Let us know in the comments section below.