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AI Virtual Recruitment Assistant​


The Royal Navy



Positive Provocation

We positively provoked the Royal Navy to undertake a complex project to develop a sophisticated conversational AI solution to better support candidates through their recruitment journey.

Our approach

We are working with the Royal Navy to increase recruitment at a time when global tension means a potential recruit can take months to sign on, has many questions and concerns and where drop-outs proliferate.

The recruitment team’s core challenge was to:​

  • Improve pipeline conversion – by providing support & help, reducing hesitancy and building enthusiasm​
  • Encourage more hesitant & diverse audiences to complete the process​
  • Staying future-fit & meeting younger audience expectations ​
  • Freeing up human team resource to focus on more complex queries where more support is needed for certain candidates.

To meet these objectives, we knew we needed a fit-for-purpose solution that was:

  • Optimised for Gen Z and their expectations around personalisation  & convenience – 24/7 Conversational support and nudges to stay future-fit for the new generation of potential candidates​
  • Emotionally supportive through Conversational AI  – aims to address the potential hesitancy, perceptions and doubts that more diverse audiences have about a potential career with the Royal Navy or Royal Marines. Reassure users that they will be both welcomed and are wanted, which will give them the confidence to join.
  • Inclusive by design – A key part of this project was ensuring we developed a supportive and inclusive innovation service for all. We actively baked diversity into the research, design and testing of the service. From offering a range of representative avatars to answering specific questions around race, religion, sexuality and gender, we worked to develop an AI that actively considers the experiences and worries of those from diverse backgrounds and supports them along their recruitment journey.

Working closely with our technical partners, we developed a sophisticated Conversational AI solution, which lives on the Royal Navy website, and supports candidates (particularly the hesitant ones) throughout the recruitment process with individually tailored journeys; content and nudges.  Users can type freely to interact with one of six virtual AI guides, who get to know you individually over time and tailor the content they serve based on what it knows about you; pulling from variables such as age, gender, interests and even emotional commitment.  The AI guide can support candidates by answering complex queries, helping them find the most relevant role for them and even filling in their application, within the chat.  With real-time analytics, the AI assistant will be adapting answers over time and drawing on the experiences of previous candidates and recruiters to power one of the most personal, supportive and effective Conversational AI experiences yet created. The pilot launched in March 2023 with an exciting development roadmap of Generative AI features to follow.​

Try the live pilot: ​


The AI Virtual Assistant has already been a huge success, fostering trust and delivering a more personalised approach than before, with almost 20,000 questions answered from potential candidates in the first three months alone. We found that each user interacts an average of 26 times with the AI. This has resulted in a 50% reduction in live-chat traffic; freeing up agents to handle the most complex queries only. 

Allowing candidates to ask any question they want, we also captured thousands of valuable data points, hearing directly from our audience about what they want, need and are worried about – giving us the ability to adapt the content over time.

And most importantly, we’ve already seen an increase in expressions of interest to join the Royal Navy, especially from traditionally underrepresented groups. We’ve already seen a 100% increase in interest from those from ethnic minority backgrounds; 64% increase amongst women, and 58% overall YoY for period since live.

Questions asked in the first week
reduction of live-chat traffic; freeing up agents to handle complex queries
Questions asked in the first three months

“This complex project has been a brilliant collaboration between all our digital partners. And we’re only at the start of an exciting roadmap. Our ambitions for this solution are long-term, and I look forward to seeing its capabilities developing over time.”​

Paul Colley, Director of Marketing, Recruitment & Attraction at the Royal Navy

Growth Stories