The role of AI in job search

CV expert Emma Alkirwi outlines how AI is changing the recruitment process and why we still need to retain a human touch in it.

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Over the past few years, the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies has been significantly progressing. As a result, AI is becoming more commonplace and quickly changing many aspects of daily life. The use of AI as part of job searching is becoming more and more common for both employers and candidates.

Surveys have shown that around one in four companies use AI to automate repetitive administration tasks and speed up the hiring process.

Although AI has many benefits and uses in the job market, there are also some pitfalls. In this blog, we will break down how both employers and candidates use AI in a job search, share some tips to help candidates make the most of these tools, and give points for consideration on why the human touch is still as important as ever.

How recruiters use AI

Given its role as a means of speeding up administrative tasks, there are many opportunities for recruiters to use AI to create a more streamlined application journey for candidates and fill open positions quickly.

AI technology has been used for many years as a way of shortlisting candidates for a role.

One example is Applicant Tracking Software (ATS), which allows recruiters to rank application documents based on their inclusion of specific keywords that are relevant to the Job Description.

However, the role of AI is now being significantly expanded and machine learning can be used to:

  • Analyse existing employee behaviour to make predictions about the performance of new team members.
  • Pull information from across the internet to source the best candidates for a role.
  • Analyse the experience, education, and professional background information on a CV to evaluate if a candidate is a good fit for a position.
  • Design chatbots which can automatically answer questions about the application process.

Models like ChatGPT are now also used to write job listings and suggest how existing adverts can be improved. There are many benefits to this beyond saving time. AI is believed to also help with reducing accidental bias in the recruitment process, giving all candidates an equal chance to secure a role.

There are additional tools available that are changing what the application process looks like, through AI-powered assessments for personality, culture fit and even social skills.

It is important to remember that while these opportunities save time, they remove the human touch from the application process.  For example, recruiters now have the opportunity to use AI to support interviews. The software will analyse tone of voice and facial expressions alongside the candidate’s answers to judge whether they are a good fit for the role.

This use of AI doesn’t allow for nuance. For example, what if a candidate is nervous, their screen is poorly lit or their interview is interrupted by background noise? All of this could impact their employment prospects, where a human could judge things differently.

How candidates use AI

AI is not a new part of the candidate job search. Platforms like LinkedIn, for example, use machine learning to curate job listings for each individual on the platform who signs up for job alerts, based on the information in their profile and the preferences they select.

Job searching platforms are becoming more automated, allowing you to populate templated CVs and Cover Letters to send off at the click of a button.

There are now tools that can help candidates prepare for a successful application too. For example, there is software that will ask you sample interview questions, and will then record your answers to analyse your performance and give you points for improvement.

AI is now also being used much more frequently to help with the creation of application documents. While this may speed up the application process considerably, it may not be viewed favourably by recruiters.

Many employers will now ask upfront if you have used AI in the application process. From their perspective, if you have used AI to pull together a generic application without spending any time or effort personalising it, not only could you be sharing false information, but employers may make judgements on your work ethic too.

If you choose to use AI to assist with the creation of your application documents, it is important to view it as a guide, rather than a writer.

The information that language learning models provide you with is always based on data it can pull from across the internet. It is not tailored to you, and without a human edit, the information you share with an employer will be false, generic and unlikely to stand out.

Here are a few of our suggestions on how to use ChatGPT to assist you in the initial stages of a job application:

  • Prompt it to create a structure for your Cover Letter, splitting it into the basic key sections. You can then use this as a springboard and tailor the information to your own experience.
  • Ask for a list of sample interview questions, based on the role you are applying for and your professional experience.
  • Use it to create outreach emails to prospective employers. This will help you strike a professional tone, and you can then personalise the content to each company you are contacting.
  • Copy the job description into ChatGPT, and then ask it to generate a list of potential keywords that you can factor into your CV.
  • Ask for a list of the kinds of experience – such as examples of software you’ve used – to provide information for what you should include on your CV.

Points to consider

AI can make the job application process quicker for both employers and candidates.

However, issues can arise if neither party knows the other is using AI. If AI is being used to generate documents, and these documents are being read and assessed using AI, human beings are being removed from the experience.

For example, chatbots can only answer basic questions and so may cause frustration when candidates require more specific knowledge. Additionally, experience, education, or interview performance could be judged unfairly without human empathy to lead decision-making.

And for recruiters, receiving high volumes of generic application documents can make it more challenging to find a good fit for a position, and reduce your chances of making it to the next stage.

Both employers and candidates need to feel valued in the job market. Human interaction should always lead the application experience on both sides.

Try not to get stuck in AI. Instead, understand how it is used by employers, and use it as a tool to help you stand out.

And if you would prefer to avoid using Artificial Intelligence to prepare for your job hunt, we would love to help. We take a people-first approach to creating CVsCover Letters and LinkedIn profiles, and our expert writers will work directly with you until you are happy with the final draft.

*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of the CV Guru which is the leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services. 

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