The end of the cover letter? AI is transforming traditional recruitment

Research reveals that 7 in 10 early career applicants are expecting to use ChatGPT to complete a job application or assessment – what does this mean for recruiters?

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70% of early career applications are expecting to use ChatGPT to complete a job application or assessment within the next 12 months, with 17% of young jobseekers already actively using it.

The research published by Arctic Shores in collaboration with research agency Opinium also unveiled that ChatGPT-4 outperforms 98.8% of human candidates in verbal and reasoning tests. These are commonly used throughout graduate recruitment processes.

The survey results analysed the responses of 2,000 students and adults who are in the first two years of their career to determine their attitudes towards the use of generative AI.

Survey results hinted at how ingrained AI is in the daily life of the Gen Z workforce. 32% of students would not want to work for an employer who told them they couldn’t use generative AI in the application process.

A further 30% would think that the employer wasn’t very progressive if they banned the use of the technology.

Recruitment’s new tools

“Generative AI is not a nice-to-have amongst students and graduates, it’s seen as an essential part of their approach to applying for jobs and their future careers,” explains Robert Newry, co-founder and CEO of Arctic Shores.

ChatGPT has become not only a tool that can write cover letters in a matter of seconds. It’s also become a tool that helps candidates reach the top percentiles of job competition.

Arctic Shores and Opinium partnered with University College London (UCL) to test ChatGPT’s ability to complete traditional psychometric assessments frequently used by graduate recruiters.

OpenAI’s paid-for product, ChatGPT-4, can complete situational judgement tests to a level that would place it in the top 70 percentile of candidates. This is usually the cut-off point used to progress candidates ahead to the next recruitment stage.

Both the free and paid versions of ChatGPT can also complete a question-based personality assessment and suggest high-matching answers tailored to a specific role, based on a job description.

As far as these tools can take candidates, however, the research revealed that neither version can complete interactive, task-based personality or aptitude assessments with the same efficiency as humans.

Whilst the immediate reaction of recruiters might be to integrate ChatGPT detection systems into their recruitment screening, research proves that 2 in 10 times detection methods produce false positives.

“Given generative AI’s rapid adoption, the obvious and logical answer is not simply to deter or detect AI usage, but to refocus hiring strategies to incorporate ChatGPT-proof assessments if they want to see a candidate’s true ability,” recommends Newry.

ChatGPT and keeping an even recruitment playing field

ChatGPT-4’s effectiveness in mirroring a human candidate in the recruitment process is skewing the playing field in favour of those who can afford a subscription.

UCL’s collaborative research project showed that GPT-4 scored higher than 98.8% of all candidates across a sample size of 36,000 people. This could potentially set back social mobility work for years, according to Arctic Shores.

Importantly, ChatGPT is increasingly becoming an essential tool for neurodiverse candidates.

Students who are using ChatGPT utilise the tool for an average of 1 hour and 14 minutes a week. Neurodiverse candidates use it an average of 12 additional minutes per week.

“Talent acquisition leaders need to consider carefully which stages in the selection process they want to encourage generative AI usage, especially if it is to create a true level playing field for all candidates,” warns Newry.

“In some ways, permitting usage levels the playing field. In others it gives an unfair advantage to those who can afford to pay a premium for ChatGPT-4,” he reflects. “Failing to work through these issues and simply deterring generative AI use in the application process could set back the progress made by employers in improving social mobility by years.”

Artificial intelligence is forcing all sorts of industries to reconsider how their traditional processes work. Recruitment is evidently not exempt.

Decisive and inclusive policies on where artificial intelligence sits in the recruitment process will be key to ensure employers uphold fairness and transparency when sifting through candidates.

Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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