Marriott launches Facebook chatbot to assist in career development

Marriott International launched a new way to interact with job seekers: MC, the Marriott Careers chatbot for Facebook Messenger. Powered by data-driven logic and specialized algorithms, the chatbot is designed to provide those seeking a position with Marriott International with a personalized experience.

MC imitates human speech patterns as it guides users interacting with it via Facebook to apply for open jobs based on discipline and location, and additionally provides education on the company culture and values. After brief quiz within the conversation, MC will help job seekers learn which of the 30 Marriott hotel brands may align more closely with their interests. Users can chat with MC by downloading the latest version of Facebook Messenger and adding Marriott Careers, or by visiting Marriott Careers on the Facebook website and clicking Message.

MC provides information about some of the most commonly asked questions from job seekers, such as:

  • “Do you have event manager job openings in Chicago?”
  • “Do you have restaurant manager job openings in San Francisco?”
  • “How do I get in contact with a recruiter?”
  • “How many brands does Marriott offer?”
  • “What are Marriott’s core values?”

In January, the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas launched its own interactive chatbot, but this machine was designed to interact specifically with guests. Marriott's foray into chatbots instead sees the company interacting not with guests but prospective employees, which may be fitting for a company with 30 brands and more than 5,700 properties.

When asked why Marriott is using chatbot technology to help fill positions at the company, David Rodriguez, EVP and global chief human resources officer at Marriott International, said Marriott is paying attention to consumer trends and is reacting to what it is finding. According to Rodriguez, current research shows that roughly half of the U.S. population is willing to interact with businesses they can message directly, and Marriott wanted to make the job search process as seamless as possible in response.

“We were early pioneers of using social media channels for employment, and when we saw the preferences that the next generation of workers has, where text is a preferred method of communication… we began to think about what the implications would be for human resources processes,” Rodriguez said.

Currently, MC draws on data and response algorithms to help users find the positions they need—a game of “20 questions” for the job hunt. In the future, however, Rodriguez said Marriott would like to implement artificial intelligence into the process, though that is not likely to be seen for at least two to three years. Also, the chatbot is currently best used to help find positions for low-level positions, or for those just starting out in the industry who are unsure what they are interested in. 

“Right now if you ask ‘What is the coolest bartending job in New York City,’ both myself and MC can tell you that the bartending position at The New York Edition on Madison Avenue is a cool job given how many celebrities come in,” Rodriguez said. “The modern generation wants the opinions of others though, data and facts. We think we have a great story to tell, and we can put an advertisement out to show how great we are, but modern generations don’t care about what companies say about themselves. So there is a desire to factor in reviews from sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor in the future.”