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Chat GPT in Recruitment: Believe the Hype

By Stephen O’Donnell, CGO TAtech

If you even glance at your Twitter timeline occasionally, then you’ll have noticed it filling up over the past 2 months with a profusion of content focused on one specific subject – Chat GPT. Where previously I mostly saw politics, sport, and arguments about movies, I am now seeing a Tweet-Wall of guidance on the Top 10 prompts to be using in any Generative AI interface – and in fact, a whole range of competing interfaces that can not only respond to written queries with seemingly original text, but also now generate images, videos, and music content.

So, unless you’ve been hiding in a cave, your options are to jump in, or to bail out. Jumping in will keep you on the cutting edge of this technology wave, and could give you and your business a competitive advantage, as well as bragging rights as the person who knows most on the topic down the pub. Conversely, you could bail out, in the sure knowledge that other people can do the early-mover legwork and you can fully catch up when it’s ready for human consumption – like when Windows 3.1 jumped to Windows 95 (too geeky?). Or even when MSDOS went to Windows for the first time (even more geeky).

But whilst Chat GPT might be recent news to the masses, the GPT resource has been available to, and in use by, many technology platforms that we are already using on a daily basis. Whenever you’ve been conversing with your bank in their automated chatline (chatbot), responding to an automated email to make and then change your interview appointment (chatbot), when responding to a Whatsapp message about your job application, and answering a series of questions (chatbot).

In fact when 200 CVs / resumes are prioritised according to their suitability for an open vacancy, there is every likelihood that generative AI has been used in assessing the relevant suitability of candidates, based on a range of criteria including, but not limited to, their CV / resume.

So, is Chat GPT really all it's cracked up to be, or is it just another example of the overhyped promises of AI?

Let’s have a recap

The online job board industry has seen a significant uptick in the use of Chat GPT, an AI-powered tool that automates recruitment processes. Chat GPT has revolutionized the way recruiters and hiring managers operate by automating repetitive tasks and reducing time-to-hire. For clarity though, those hiring managers are not picking up their Chat GPT box, but instead are using a range of tools built into their ATS, job boards, or in dedicated SAAS products. As a user, this can genuinely feel like magic!

Chat GPT is a conversational AI tool that can engage with candidates and assist them throughout the recruitment process. This technology has gained significant popularity in recent years as it can streamline recruitment workflows and save recruiters time and effort. By automating repetitive tasks like pre-screening and scheduling interviews, Chat GPT can free up recruiters' time to focus on more critical tasks like candidate engagement and cultural fit. [For more info, see TAtech’s recent post on these “exemplar skills.”] In practice however, most recruiters are usually given more vacancies to fill, rather than use the time saved for personal candidate engagement (not all, but most)

One of the most significant benefits of Chat GPT is its ability to provide a personalised experience to candidates – or one that feels personalised at least. It can understand natural language, and engage with candidates just as a human recruiter would. This personalized approach can help employers build a relationship with candidates, and create a positive candidate experience. However, how personal can a conversation really be when it's with a machine? And does the use of Chat GPT risk depersonalising the recruitment process and making candidates feel like they're just another number in the system? Many employers, and providers of conversational AI tools will recommend being transparent with jobseekers, by making it clear they are chatting with a clever BOT, rather than an actual human, and then again when the person is escalated to actually speak with a recruiter or hiring manager.

Another major benefit of Chat GPT is that it can (when used carefully) reduce bias in the recruitment process. Unlike human recruiters who can be influenced by their biases, Chat GPT is trained to be neutral and objective. It can evaluate candidates based on their skills, experience, and qualifications without being influenced by factors like age, gender, race, or ethnicity. This can help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, which can lead to improved business outcomes. Whilst this is a great thing, we must never stop coaching people to be aware of their own biases, and be able to set them aside, or indeed for organisations to relinquish unfair discrimination in their hiring processes – like always hiring from the same sources.

There is a very good case to be made for unbiased AI based systems actually teaching human recruiters the benefits of an unbiased process, by presenting rich shortlists of fantastically capable and diverse contenders for each role.

The use of Chat GPT has also led to improved efficiency in the recruitment process. Chat GPT can handle multiple tasks simultaneously, like scheduling interviews, sending reminders, and answering candidates' questions – and it never sleeps. This can help recruiters manage their workload more effectively and reduce time-to-hire. Additionally, Chat GPT can help reduce the cost-per-hire as it can perform many tasks that would otherwise require a human recruiter.

Despite the many benefits of Chat GPT, some critics argue that it can dehumanize the recruitment process and make it less personal. However, this is not necessarily the case. Chat GPT can help recruiters build a relationship with candidates by engaging with them in a personalized and timely manner. Additionally, Chat GPT can assist recruiters in identifying candidates who may be a good fit for the company culture, which can lead to better retention rates and higher job satisfaction.

Technology fads are appearing more frequently in 2023, and there certainly feels like an acceleration in the progress being made from blueprint to product launch. You may feel that this is too overwhelming, and you can wait for the second wave. The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

I say, in this case don’t be the mouse. Even if you don’t implement tools straightaway (and you absolutely can) at the very least have a play. Gain an understanding and appreciation of what is already happening, and where it is likely to head. You’ll feel all the more clever for having done so.