Traditionally slow to embrace cutting-edge technology, the real estate industry is catching up with the swift pace of tech evolution. Among companies leveraging advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) is Atlanta, Ga.-based RentPath, whose brands — ApartmentGuide.com, Rent.com, Rentals.com and LiveLovely.com — help folks find apartments and homes to rent. The company’s recent adoption of AI and machine learning to power its career site is helping position RentPath for current and future talent needs.
In the B2B realm, the company’s sales team works with property management companies to extend their reach to the customer and drive leads back to those companies. On the B2C side, its product managers work to simplify renters’ journeys, overseeing features that enable renters to identify prospective rentals and schedule their first visits to properties.
Acquiring talent has been an ongoing hurdle for the company. Its career site didn’t delineate the company’s culture, identify the kinds of skills it sought or pipeline talent, says Stephanie Haigh, director of talent acqusition.
“Talent would come to the site and not take action, like applying for a role,” she explains. “We needed to represent ourselves on the career site and convey our culture, but also capture the leads. We needed to capture potential talent leads and push appropriate and engaging content to those leads.”
RentPath’s goal is not to simply locate people to fill current openings, but to position the company for future needs. As it looks ahead to new technology it may embrace, and new products and features it will offer, RentPath wants to find employees who will help take the company to that next level.
“We needed a system that would do all of this for us,” Haigh says. “We needed a one-stop shop for our recruiters to push content to candidates, to nurture the leads and combine all that together.”
RentPath partnered with Phenom Talent Experience Management (TMX) to create a platform for engagement with both active and passive candidates that leverages machine learning and AI-enabled chatbots.
The platform allows the company to engage with and personalize the experience for prospective candidates, helping eventually convert them into applicants, says Jonathan Dale, vice president of product marketing for Ambler, Pa.-based Phenom People.
“What RentPath chose to do was not just make something look pretty, but use the latest technology of machine learning and AI to personalize the experience for the candidate,” Dale says. “Some of that is deploying what you’d expect in your consumer world. Go to the bot, learn more and engage. When you go to the RentPath career site, the bot actually engages with you as a candidate and tries to interact with you to better personalize the experience. The candidate locates the best possible RentPath job position more quickly. If I tell the bot what I’m good at, what location or city I’d like to work in, the bot can more readily present me with the RentPath opportunity right for me.”
Results so far are impressive. While only 9% of those coming to the site to learn about jobs have used the chatbot, 79% of those who did actually wound up applying. By contrast, RentPath’s overall percentage of applicants is 18% of those who visit the site.
That’s not the end of the good news for RentPath. The prescreening functionality means the chatbot is shouldering some of the initial vetting once handled by recruiters, freeing up those staffers to spend additional quality time with each job candidate, Dale says.
RentPath intends to continue refining the technology, using machine learning to learn what questions applicants need to ask. The goal is to get each candidate more quickly to the company position right for him or her.