The DB Smile chatbot – a personal assistant for job applications

Header_DB Smile ChatBot_1920x480px_Gorodenkoff_v2

Article: The DB Smile chatbot – a personal assistant for job applications

04/2023 – The DB Smile chatbot makes the entire process easier for job applicants and DB Talent Acquisition. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and a background knowledge of Deutsche Bahn, the DB Smile chatbot can find suitable jobs, provide answers to almost all questions relating to a job application, and now even accept job applications via chat.

Deutsche Bahn wishes to fill approximately 25,000 job vacancies in 2023 alone. To achieve this goal, and to make it as easy as possible to apply for a job, applicants should not encounter too many hurdles during the job application process. That is why Deutsche Bahn's HR experts have teamed up with DB Systel to launch job applications via a chatbot. This not only simplifies the job application process, it also supports DB Talent Acquisition in accomplishing this task.

DB Smile Karriere: Der Job-Bot der Deutschen Bahn

Since 2019, job seekers visiting the Careers Portal have been able to use a chatbot that searches for jobs and answers their questions. This chatbot, powered by the DB Group's own AI Platform, now ensures fewer hurdles and greater speed when filling job vacancies: Anyone wishing to apply for a job can do so while in direct conversation with this chatbot – without using a computer, without filling in any forms, and without even registering. Since the chatbot is optimized for mobile devices, job seekers can also use their smartphone to apply for their desired job from any location. Sixty-two percent of people who talk to this chatbot already use their smartphones for this purpose. 

How a job application via chat works – job seekers become job applicants simply by answering a few questions (The texts of the graphics are not translated into English because the chatbot currently only speaks German).

Just a few questions away from a dream job

The chatbot is an advisor, companion, networker, and a true expert in finding jobs – it conducts conversations in natural language and learns quickly. The chatbot can already answer 97% of queries automatically. Only rarely does the chatbot fail to find a suitable answer. In such instances, it guides job seekers to the live chat option where employees from DB Recruiting Service can provide answers. Our colleagues in DB Talent Acquisition have been training their system on job applications via the chatbot since 2020. For example, the AI model learns words such as "remote job" and how these words are used in text. This is clearly important in a career’s context. For example, the chatbot understands that these terms mean a job with an option to work from home. 

"Our vision is to make DB Smile Careers the most user-friendly job bot in the world, offering everything related to job searches and applications. The ability to accept job applications via chat brings us a great deal closer to this goal."

Maximilian Lerch, Head of Candidate Experience, Systems and Innovation

Foto_Maximilian Lerch_1000x1000px

One of the biggest advantages of the DB Smile Careers chatbot is its scalability and accessibility. It is available to users around the clock and responds immediately at all times – there is no closing time and the chatbot is never too busy to respond.

Artificial intelligence as a building block for Deutsche Bahn

Before the launch of Deutsche Bahn's own chatbot, DB Smile Careers, the recruitment department deployed an external chat solution. However, the move to the Group's internal AI Platform made it possible for Deutsche Bahn to use high-quality, ready-to-use AI components with a special focus on Deutsche Bahn. The dialogue systems based on DB Systel's AI Platform offer new interaction channels that are readily available to DB Talent Acquisition.

The central AI Platform provides AI services for the entire DB Group. The platform resembles a building block for the development of scalable specialist services and offerings based on artificial intelligence. It enables AI digitalization projects to be designed as simply and securely as possible. AI services are provided as a self-service and are always guaranteed to be compliant with Deutsche Bahn and data protection laws: Deutsche Bahn's governance requirements are already integrated into the AI Platform's services and tools. They are also automatically transferred to new projects.

Thanks to Conversational AI, machines learn to understand humans and vice versa.

Working together to develop intelligent solutions for the future

Conversational AI technology, which is available to every Deutsche Bahn IT project via DB Systel's central platform, is used for the DB Smile Careers chatbot. Conversational AI is the art of mimicking natural conversations and controlling machines with natural language, for example. This includes teaching IT systems to comprehend language, understand key words, and recognize context.

The chatbot service is part of the Conversational AI services available on the AI Platform, which is fully integrated into DB World.

The HR specialist team uses the "AI Platform Circle" and associated working groups to present its requirements for the further development of the chatbot and to exchange ideas with AI experts, product owners, and business units that use AI. These forums form part of requirements management within the DB Group, which ensures the implementation of new central features that are absolutely necessary in the DB environment. 


„Wir haben DB Smile Karriere zunächst beigebracht, Standardanfragen, wie die Frage nach der Anschrift, richtig zu beantworten. Durch das tägliche Training können wir analysieren, welche Fragen häufig gestellt werden und zu denen es noch keine Antwortbausteine gibt. Diese erstellen wir dann.“

Susanne Schneider, Team Candidate Experience, Systeme und Innovationen

Foto_Susanne Schneider_1000x1000px

Artificial intelligence never stops learning

The simpler the job application process, the greater the benefit to Deutsche Bahn. Having fewer hurdles makes it possible to reach new target audiences and increase the number of applicants. As an innovative showpiece, the new job application process has an additional positive effect on public perception.

Deutsche Bahn will continue to diligently train the chatbot and has its sights firmly set on further milestones until it achieves its vision of the "world's most user-friendly job bot". In the next step, it will be possible to submit a job application via voice input thereby eliminating the hurdle of typing and making mobile job applications even more accessible. The chatbot can then be used by people with physical disabilities, such as the visually impaired.