How DBS Bank screens candidates through chatbots

It now takes only eight minutes to assess a candidate’s resume, as compared to the 30 minutes taken earlier.


DBS Bank, erstwhile Development Bank of Singapore, a full-fledged digital bank, has been using technology extensively to find and hire talent. The Bank is truly and deeply immersed in advancing its digital-transformation agenda.

“This ethos reflects in our hiring process, as we seek to create a richer experience for our applicants. To this end, the Jobs Intelligence Maestro (JIM) was developed in Q4 2019, at DBS India, to streamline the end-to-end job application process and enable real-time interaction 24/7,” claims Kishore Poduri, head -HR, DBS Bank India.

Development of this chatbot technology had begun in April 2017, by Singapore-based startup, Impress.AI, in collaboration with DBS Bank’s in-house talent-acquisition team.

After deploying JIM

Poduri shares, “Post the deployment of JIM, our talent-acquisition specialist now takes only eight minutes to assess a candidate’s resume, as compared to the 30 minutes taken earlier.” By automating the pre-screening process, with real-time interaction available 24/7, the organisation can now save some 40 man-hours a month.

DBS is one of those banks, which has been looking to make effective use of AI in its hiring processes as AI works well for high-volume hiring where there are significantly more applicants.

For instance, in 2018, about 5,000 candidates applied for 400-500 jobs, as DBS wealth planners. The objective behind deploying such technology was just to improve the application experience for job aspirants as well as the HR team. Jobs Intelligence Maestro was initially deployed to screen applicants for high-volume hiring of wealth planners. These planners are critical resources who manage the investment needs of the Bank’s growing retail base. The AI-backed application at DBS has helped make the screening process more efficient and applicant-friendly, while also freeing up recruiter’s valuable time to focus on the later stages of the hiring process.

Kishore Poduri

Post the deployment of JIM, our talent-acquisition specialist now takes only eight minutes to assess a candidate’s resume, as compared to the 30 minutes taken earlier

The goals of the project were aligned with the team’s vision of using AI to help make smooth and scrutinised decisions in the recruitment process at DBS.

The artificial intelligence programme introduced in the year 2018, has sped up and improved the quality of initial screening for so-called wealth planners, entry-level staff in its consumer-banking operation.

This pre-screening chatbot makes effective use of its cognitive and personality tests to assess candidates and answer their queries. It has been helping create a better experience for job applicants, and providing a faster and more streamlined process, with real-time interaction available 24/7.

The applicants are mostly busy during the day, and many of the Bank’s recruiters end up working long hours to connect with them at times convenient to the applicants. Therefore, a virtual bot, such as JIM takes care of the pre-screening process and enables the recruiters to focus more on other work of higher value. The once manual processes have all now been fully automated.

JIM’s success rate

Not just the hiring queries, the chatbot can also answer any job-related questions from the candidate during the application process. It can review resumes, collect applicants’ responses for pre-screening questions and conduct psychometric profiling assessments. After this, a recruiter evaluates the scores and makes the final decision on whether or not the applicant should proceed to a face-to-face interview with the hiring manager. Also, this AI interface reduces recruiters’ workload. Manual processes – such as posting screening questions, conducting psychometric assessments – are now fully automated. This frees up recruiters’ time so they can take on higher value work and enhance skillsets.

Data shows that 97 per cent of candidates’ questions can be answered by JIM. About one-third of the candidates who are cleared through the JIM interface, get placed with DBS, compared to only one-seventh that were hired under the previous manual system.

Poduri further explains, “Over the last six months of its deployment, JIM has screened about 110 applications, shortlisting 25 per cent of these for the next steps of the hiring process. Thus, it has enabled recruiters to focus more time on interviewing applicants, talent advisory or even upskilling themselves.”

“We are committed to being an employer of choice for the brightest minds in the country, and will continue to foster talent through our strong people proposition,” asserts Poduri.

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