Candidates are already using tools such as ChatGPT to write cover letters and CVs. But it’s just a small piece of how AI is transforming hiring processes.
“I’ve had students use ChatGPT to write appeals for parking tickets,” says Vince Miller, reader in sociology and cultural studies at the University of Kent, UK. “But in general, the technology allows people who may not necessarily possess the best writing skills to suddenly have them.”
Jobseekers are among those reporting such benefits. Leveraging a dataset containing 570 billion individual words, OpenAI’s ChatGPT can compose convincing cover letters on demand, or synthesise a few career details into a competent, bullet-pointed CV. Want to send an email to a hiring manager? Prompt the chatbot, then copy and paste the AI-generated text straight into the message.
But hiring managers aren’t oblivious: they understand candidates are already leaning on generative AI to assist them, and may well do so even more as the technology grows in sophistication. This could create a shift in job applications as we know them, moving recruiters away from the traditional modes of evaluating candidates.
Not all recruiters report the use of generative AI as a hiring red flag – or even a worrying development at all.
Adam Nicoll, group marketing director at recruitment and job-consulting firm Randstad, based in Luton, UK, says time-poor hiring managers may be unlikely to distinguish between a cover letter written by a candidate and one generated by AI. “The language generated by ChatGPT reads clean, if formulaic. Compared to most cover letter writing, there are no idiosyncrasies; there are no red flags, but no personality,” he says.
Despite this, he says he wouldn’t necessarily consider this cheating the hiring process. “It’s helping those who aren’t the best at writing and editing in producing a neat summary of career highlights. It’s the digitised version of asking a friend to review your CV.”
Nicoll says that recruiters have already been relying less on traditional modes of evaluating candidates, anyway. “The cover letter has been on its way out for years: hiring managers skim read a resume for less than 10 seconds, let alone read a 200-word personal statement. At best, the cover letter is a box-ticking exercise that accompanies the CV – it’s virtually obsolete.”
Instead, Nicoll says recruiters increasingly prefer viewing a candidate’s social media and LinkedIn profile to understand their personality instead. And as more candidates use generative AI to compose their written materials, he adds the importance of these application elements is becoming even more irrelevant. “If anyone can artificially enhance their pitching email to a hiring manager, then it becomes redundant,” says University of Kent’s Miller.
As more candidates use generative AI to compose their written materials, the importance of these application elements is becoming even more irrelevant
Experts say standard hiring processes may change as a result.
For instance, since generative AI can create pre-interview presentations, employers may introduce harder assessments in response. “The onus is to test and evaluate what the machines can’t do,” says Miller. “While generative AI can arrange data in an interesting way, it’s not particularly creative – it can only work with what already exists. So, that could mean assessments demanding more creative and abstract thought from the candidate.”
Additionally, there could be a greater emphasis on scrutinising candidates in face-to-face settings, says Brooke Weddle, partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Company, based in Washington, DC. “As opposed to cover letters, which typically convey little information critical to the actual hiring decision, employers look hard at cultural fit and soft skills during the interview process.”
Furthermore, some recruiters are already embracing new AI tools on their side of the job hiring process. For instance, some large corporations are leveraging AI in the recruitment process to test job seekers’ qualities through skill- and personality assessments, which use data-driven behavioural insights to match candidates against vacancies and reveal their soft skills.
These kinds of emerging platforms that give recruiters more data on candidates stand to change the job-application process, too, especially as “we move from degree certifications to skills-based hiring”, says Weddle. And this may be just the beginning of big changes to come.
This post was orginally published on https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20230418-ai-anxiety-artificial-intelligence-replace-jobs