When artificial intelligence (AI) became available to the masses in early 2023, it made waves across the world. There were think pieces on how AI is coming for everyone’s jobs and endless LinkedIn posts on “how to write the best AI prompts”. Like the introduction of any new groundbreaking technology, change can be exciting — and even a little bit scary. So it’s no wonder the public was relatively split on the emergence of AI in our everyday work lives.
Now that the dust has settled and AI hasn’t wiped out all employment opportunities, we can more clearly see how AI can help us, particularly in the recruitment and talent acquisition (TA) industry.
In this article, you'll discover how we all started working with robots in the first place, the ways ChatGPT is currently transforming the hiring process and pitfalls to look out for when using AI. 🤖 We'll also share how to thoughtfully and carefully incorporate AI into your hiring process, with feedback from a few founders responsible for hiring.
AI in hiring: How did we get here?
Before we dig into the nitty-gritty of AI’s new role in recruitment, let's look at how we ended up here.
The use of AI in all industries has been steadily growing over the past few years. Bolstered by advancements in natural language processing and machine learning, companies are making use of AI more than ever before. From administration tasks to healthcare research to software development, artificial intelligence is advancing work, progressing ideas and making tedious tasks a lot easier for teams big and small.
Even before 2023, you may have already been using AI in your everyday life without even realizing it — tools like Grammarly, Krisp, Textio, Rev and even Gmail’s Smart Compose are all examples of generative AI, making work a little bit simpler.
Now Open AI’s ChatGPT, Google Bard and Microsoft’s new Bing are taking generative AI (GAI) to the masses. 💥
AI officially hits hiring
With that, it’s no surprise that the AI boom has now hit the hiring world. After all, hiring is one of the most challenging and time-consuming aspects of running (and growing) a business, especially for small teams that lack dedicated recruitment support. It can be costly, time-consuming and exceptionally difficult to decide who, out of all the candidates in your pipeline, will be the right fit for your business.
Recruitment teams are looking to simplify even more of their monotonous tasks, and they’re turning to AI for help.
Many hiring pros started using AI tools for their recruitment long before OpenAI’s free tool (think chatbots and employment assessments). With the recent uptick in AI usage and its growing popularity, it's turned from a novelty into a norm. Recruitment teams are now looking to simplify even more of their monotonous tasks, and ChatGPT has officially entered the chat. 😏
Although it might sometimes feel like it, the rise of ChatGPT in hiring didn't actually happen overnight. It’s the culmination of tech advancements spanning various sectors, a hunger for recruitment efficacy and a dedication to building a more inclusive hiring process.
And yes, it’s riding the broader wave of using AI to make our most difficult, monotonous work a bit more bearable. 🧘
Benefits of AI in hiring 🤝
So, what's all this hype about? Well, using AI in hiring brings a ton of benefits that can improve your recruitment efforts.
Here are a few key advantages of introducing this new tech into your recruitment process:
AI will save hiring managers a lot of time
There’s almost no doubt about this and across the board, everyone is in agreement: AI elevates efficiency. AI-powered tools like ChatGPT can help you sort and organize applications, saving you countless hours of manual screening.
It can also take care of some of the more mundane tasks of the hiring process like writing job descriptions and crafting templated emails to send candidates. Freeing up time in the hiring process gives recruiters and hiring managers more time to work on the more human side of growing a team.
Hiring gets quicker
Saving time throughout the hiring process also means you’re more likely to be able to hire quicker than before. An important side note here: We don’t believe AI can cut down your time to hire in half, or something extreme like that. But we do think that naturally, outsourcing some tasks to AI will mean a somewhat quicker hiring process.
That means you may be able to publish job posts, screen applicants, set up job interviews and send candidate communications quicker than your competition who aren’t making the most out of GAI.
By relying on objective criteria and removing human bias from the initial screening stages, AI tools like ChatGPT can promote fairness and diversity in hiring. This ensures that all candidates have an equal chance to shine.
One example of how you can more easily incorporate AI into your recruitment process is to use the technology to remove any gendered language from job posts and your career page. Doing something like this can help you diversify your applicant pool and remove some unconscious bias from your hiring process. Be sure to read the next section to learn the flip side of all this!
Downsides of AI in hiring 🚨
While AI has its advantages, it's important to understand its limitations and potential downsides.
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you delve into the world of large language models (LLMs) and recruitment:
Lack of human touch
AI tools are great at handling repetitive tasks, but they can't replace the human element of hiring. “Candidates are losing that human connection at the beginning of the recruitment process which may turn them off from your company”, says Andrew Meyer, Founder and CEO of Arbor.
For example, if your candidate screening is some version of AI asking your candidate questions, this might not be the best impression of your company.
You may want to consider the message an AI-heavy recruitment process sends potential applicants. Building relationships and assessing value fit is still best done by humans (a.k.a your hiring team) — you’re likely never going to be able to train your AI to do this
Potential for bias
While AI can help reduce hiring bias, it's crucial to understand that the algorithms powering these tools are not always designed with fairness in mind. "My main worry is that AI has similar issues to psychometrics in that it learns from a small subset of the population, so introducing bias,” says Geoff Newman, CEO of Starget, a recruitment advertising firm.
"Additionally, AI doesn't get much feedback to reinforce its decisions. For example, AI doesn't know if an applicant was suitable or unsuitable in the long term," says Geoff.
Some AI designed for recruitment may use CV, demographic or social media data, which can introduce bias into the process. As an example, in 2017, Amazon scrapped the candidate-ranking tool they were building that ended up systematically downgrading women’s candidacy and therefore created a preference for male candidates in the process.
Along with that, if an AI is trained a certain way, it can be more susceptible to unethical and inequitable hiring tactics. With that, AI in recruitment requires a lot more human intervention and oversight when it comes to mitigating bias.
Low barrier to entry
Free versions of AI like ChatGPT-3 mean anyone and everyone can use it (including your applicants when applying for roles). That can more easily bring about its misuse and therefore an overreliance on it for hiring.
“Anyone can pretend to be anything with AI and it's a paradox,” Rodolphe Dutel, CEO of Remotive, tells us. “Hiring teams want to hire very fast, they want to get someone on their team right away to hit the ground running. So due diligence when hiring, like checking references, having a trial period, has never been glossed over as much as it is now.”
Difficult to assess candidate soft skills
AI excels in a lot of areas, but it’s no expert in assessing a candidate’s soft skills during the interview process.
”A huge part of long-term candidate success and retention is based on whether they're a value fit for your organization,” says Kelsey Bishop, founder and CEO of Candor. “If you rely too heavily on AI analysis of hard skills when narrowing down candidates, you run the risk of missing applicants with important soft skills that could make them the perfect fit for your organization.”
Along with this, AI may not be cut out to help teams recruit across every industry. Some roles and industries require a much more human approach to TA and recruitment. As Sarah Jeffries, Managing Director of First Aid Course Leicester tells us, “relying too heavily on AI in the hiring process may overlook candidates with exceptional interpersonal skills, compromising the quality of care and support for those in need.”
“Striking a balance between the efficiency of AI-driven recruitment and the necessity for human empathy and connection becomes a crucial consideration for the future of hiring within an industry like first aid,” says Sarah.
Onboarding AI tools like ChatGPT can be technically tricky and may call for some tech saviness. It requires proper data management, documentation and ongoing maintenance. Small teams will need to invest time and resources to make full use of the benefits.
Hiring is hard enough as it is for small and scrappy teams, and implementing AI tools adds another task to the to-do list, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
How to use AI or ChatGPT in your recruitment (thoughtfully)
Now that we've explored the benefits and downsides, let's discuss some practical ways you can start using AI or ChatGPT in your recruitment process. Here are a few options to consider:
1. Train your AI to learn your voice and tone for hiring comms
The only way to get AI to work for you, is to train it. Doing this is an ongoing process that requires effort, feedback and adaptation to maintain alignment with your AI and company your company’s tone and voice. Here are some things you can try as you train up:
- Use the same thread for your conversations: A tool like ChatGPT learns from the same thread/conversation. So it’s best to stick with one thread if you’re working on developing any recruitment materials
- Provide the AI with examples: The best way to teach an AI how to embody your business’s voice and tone is to give it an example. Copy and paste career page copy, job post messaging and a job description. Be sure these examples perfectly encapsulate who you are as a business.
- Set guidelines in prompts: Guidelines should be developed to define the company's tone, voice and specific communication styles. You could even share your official messaging or voice and tone guidelines with the AI for it to follow.
<div class="inpage-callout-container"><p class="inpage-banner-text">😎 Pro Tip: The key is to use AI thoughtfully and in combination with human judgment. AI should complement and enhance your TA and recruitment efforts, not replace them entirely. There are no true shortcuts to finding the right team member!<br></p></div>
2. Write job posts and job descriptions
You may already know how to write a job description and you may also have already entered the wonderful world of job description templates. But one thing to consider is using AI to improve and optimize your job description.
Rodolphe from Remotive welcomes the use of ChatGPT in crafting job descriptions. “I’ve spent the last 10 years reading job descriptions and there are a lot of terrible ones out there,” he says.
“Even though a company is great, the person writing the JD may not be HR-minded, they may not be technical, or they may not have the cues to convey the perks, benefits and the joy there is in working at that company,” says Rodolphe. “This is what’s so exciting to me about AI — to some extent, it may be able to optimize the job description process.”
3. Candidate engagement and FAQs
Use ChatGPT to handle frequently asked questions from candidates, providing them with instant responses and guidance. This ensures a streamlined and consistent experience for all applicants, saving your hiring team valuable time.
If you don’t have any FAQs, ask the AI to come up with questions that a candidate may have about your company to get the ideas flowing. You can also train ChatGPT to align with your employer brand and maintain a human touch throughout the conversation.
4. Create skills assessments
Let ChatGPT create skills assessments for you so you can more easily narrow down the right candidates for the job. You can also use assessment tools that specialize in this. If you have a smaller budget to play with, consider checking out ChatGPT.
Using ChatGPT, this could be just about any form of assessment:
- Hard skills test like the practical use of technology and digital literacy tests
- Soft skills tests
- Adaptability tests
- Work sample tests
GAI can help you more quickly create assessment questions for the hiring process. For example, you can ask ChatGPT to generate a pool of assessment questions covering a wide range of topics from technical knowledge to behavioral competencies.
5. Standardize candidate emails
Make use of ChatGPT to create versatile email templates that cater to various stages of the recruitment process. This can include application acknowledgments, interview scheduling or feedback requests.
Each template can be crafted in a way that conveys genuine appreciation and interest toward the candidate while maintaining a professional tone that aligns with your employer brand.
For open job roles that involve a high volume of applications, ChatGPT can be used to help you draft a large number of emails. This means every candidate will receive timely communication without overwhelming your hiring team.
<div class="inpage-callout-container"><p class="inpage-banner-text">Hiring hack 🔥 : Pick out some hiring email templates from a trusted source (like Homerun!), plug those into ChatGPT and have it edit them to include specific info and reflect your company's own tone of voice.<br></p></div>
6. Generate unique interview questions
If you’ve invited a candidate to an interview and you’re all out of strong interview questions to ask, ChatGPT is a bit of a goldmine. It can be especially useful for more niche roles or if you’re interested in going beyond the typical interview questions candidates are most likely tired of answering.
ChatGPT has the ability to really dig into a topic and come up with interview questions you’ve never encountered (particularly open-ended questions). Try providing it with a candidate persona specific to the individual you're interviewing.
7. Implement guidelines for how to use AI in hiring
When integrating AI into the recruitment process, it’s wise to first set guidelines for how to use this new technology ethically and effectively as a hiring team. To help you create a list of your own AI in recruiting guidelines, here are some of our top suggestions:
- Define your objectives 🎯 – Make sure the objectives of using AI, such as boosting efficiency or reducing bias, are defined and aligned with company goals.
- Keep it ethical 🌳 – Put protocols in place that secure ethical use of AI, ensuring fairness, transparency and avoiding bias in candidate screening and selection.
- Understand the legal stuff ⚖️ – Ensure that the use of AI adheres to all legal standards and regulations related to employment and data protection, like GDPR or other local laws. More on that below!
- Make it accessible and inclusive 🌎 – Design processes in a way that ensures all candidates, regardless of their technological familiarity or abilities, can successfully engage with the AI tools.
- Monitor often 👀 – Regularly check and audit the AI system to identify and fix any biases, inaccuracies or ethical concerns that may show up over time.
- Secure your data 🔒 – Safeguard candidate data by implementing data security protocols. It’s important to point out that you may want to avoid inputting any candidate data into an AI tool — we don’t know who has access to that information and anything you are inputting into an AI (like ChatGPT) is ultimately feeding their algorithm.
- Champion transparency 🎙️– Clearly communicate to candidates about the use of AI in the recruitment process. It’s imperative that they’re aware of and explicitly consent to how their data will be used when applying for a job and continuing the hiring process with your business.
- Involve the humans 👥 – Human decision-makers should always be in the loop to validate and make final decisions, adding a layer of emotional intelligence and ethical oversight.
8. Understand the legal and ethical risks of AI recruitment
With great power comes great responsibility. That’s why it’s important to understand any potential ethical and legal risks of using AI in your recruitment strategy.
We’re not legal experts but that’s why we spoke with Natalia Morozova, Managing Partner at Cohen, Tucker & Ades Immigration Law Firm about this and here’s what she had to say: “Before implementing AI strategies into your recruitment process, it’s wise to make sure that you’re complying with your local employment laws and GDPR, wherever you may be.
"These laws could vary between different industries and locations in terms of things like candidate privacy or data deletion, both of which can be managed with AI,” says Natalia.
When in doubt, talk to a legal expert to get the lowdown on what you need to do to make sure you’re in the clear, if you would like to infuse more AI into your recruitment process.
AI in the recruitment process — this is just the beginning
Long story short: AI is reshaping the recruitment and hiring landscape in lots of ways and there’s almost no way to avoid its impact.
By thoughtfully weaving AI into your processes, you're on track to improve your hiring journey in some ways. But, let’s not forget — every cool new tool, AI included, comes with its own set of challenges and hurdles to jump.
Being the human in this scenario, it’s all on you to keep a keen eye on potential biases and to keep that all-important human touch alive in your hiring workflow. Why? Because no one wants to feel like they’re chatting with a robot. When you’re truly present in the hiring process, it’s a win-win — engaged hiring teams hire engaged candidates.
It’s also helpful to remember we’re still only just dipping our toes into the world of AI. It’s changing things, but we’re still a long way from AI entirely altering how we work and how we hire. With a solid hiring strategy locked in, turning those eager applicants into incredible, thriving team members will always be within reach, even with AI joining the party.
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