More is discussed about its use daily, and more companies are looking to integrate it into their processes.
With a limited understanding of the new forms of this technology* – one that seems to be quickly taking over the world – we set out with a task to see if we could better understand it and see how it could benefit (or maybe hinder) our consultants.
And what better way to do this than use the tool itself? Here is what one of the most well-known AI generative platforms – ChatGPT – had to say about itself:
“ChatGPT is a computer program that can understand natural language and generate human-like responses to questions and statements. Think of it as a smart chatbot that can hold a conversation with you, answer your questions, and provide helpful information. It is based on advanced artificial intelligence technology and has been trained on a large amount of data to improve its understanding of language and ability to generate appropriate responses.”
So, it’s a tool that can answer questions by providing human-like responses. But how does it do this?
“The way ChatGPT works is by using a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning. It’s been trained on a huge dataset of human language, so it has a good understanding of how people talk and what they mean.
When you type something into ChatGPT, it analyses your input and tries to figure out what you’re asking or saying. Then, it uses its knowledge to generate a response that sounds like something a human might say.
The more people talk to ChatGPT, the more it learns and the better it becomes at understanding and responding to different types of questions and conversations.”
And it is learning every day from the people who are using it.
Speaking to the team in our office, half of them find it exciting; the other half find it a bit uncomfortable.
But how can it help us in recruitment? ChatGPT claims that:
“As an AI language model, ChatGPT can have a potential impact on recruitment in various ways. Here are some possibilities:
Overall, ChatGPT can have a positive impact on recruitment by streamlining the process, reducing bias, improving the candidate experience, and increasing the efficiency of recruiters. However, it’s important to note that ChatGPT is not a substitute for human recruiters and should be used in conjunction with human judgement and decision-making.”
But what about the downsides; can ChatGPT recognise its own shortcomings?
“While ChatGPT can have several benefits in the recruitment process, there are also some potential downsides to its use. Here are a few:
Overall, ChatGPT can be a valuable tool in recruitment, but it’s important to consider these potential downsides and use it in conjunction with other recruitment methods and human judgement.”
It’s very interesting that a couple of its downsides directly contradict its benefits.
Benefit: personalised communication vs Negative: Lack of personal touch
Benefit: Bias reduction vs Negative: Potential for Bias
Whilst there are obvious benefits – streamlining the process and improving efficiency – what is apparent is that the effectiveness of any AI tool is determined by the information that is put into it – the questions it is asked and the prompts it is given. Basically – ask a silly question, get a silly answer.
We were being sold the benefits of an AI tool the other month, one that would help write job adverts. We said that we probably wouldn’t want the whole team to have access to it. When asked why, we said that the junior members of the team should learn the art of writing a job advert for themselves first. Their response was, “Arguably the art of writing a job advert yourself is dead”. This was a worrying opinion to us.
Fortunately, our initial fears about AI were somewhat alleviated after attending a meeting at the LinkedIn offices last month. During the meeting, they shared valuable insights into AI and its place in recruitment. All of which helped give a better understanding and appreciation of how the technology could actually fit.
“Generative AI will help recruiters focus on the human part of hiring,” said one of the experts.
The general takeaway was using AI (well) will help carve out the inefficiencies – the repetitive parts – of the recruitment process. (No mention of the art of a certain recruitment skill set being dead!) But, people will need to be trained on it to make it worthwhile and beneficial – a new skill set needs to be forged from somewhere to ensure that any AI use is an enabler and not an inhibitor. Remember that if you ask it a silly question, you’ll get a silly answer. The power in some of the AI tools – ChatGPT being one – is the prompts that are fed into it. Rather than solely learning the ‘tools of the trade’, recruitment consultants of the future (read recruitment consultants from today onwards…) will need to develop skills in what to put into an AI tool to get the best out of it AND work out the parts of their job that it can help.
A separate point made at the same meeting was that the labour market was changing in general at the moment – for many more reasons than the explosion of AI. It is estimated that 1 billion people will need to reskill in the next decade to ensure that the jobs of the future have the right people to work them. That’s a third of workers worldwide. And one of the main reasons for leaving one employment for another is the desire to upskill and advance in careers. So, AI aside, upskilling our team always needs to be a priority. (We just now need to work out how AI fits in!)
In our opinion, human judgement is always going to be paramount (something AI noticed for itself), particularly in a people-centric industry such as recruitment. A lovely quote from another of the LinkedIn speakers was “Recruitment was the art of persuasion”. This was music to our ears. Isn’t writing a good job advert the first step in the persuasive part of recruitment? A persuasive job ad = applicants, a generic AI-generated job ad with no knowledge-based flair = no applicants? Maybe that skill set isn’t dead after all.
Even from our limited knowledge of AI, we know that it (currently) doesn’t have persuasion and judgement listed as its key attributes. These are the human parts that were referred to earlier. These are the skills that will still need to be maintained in any changes to our industry because of technology. And arguably, these are already the attributes that differentiate a good consultant from a not-so-good consultant.
In a bid not to ‘get left behind’, we will be keeping an eye on how AI is used and will try it in different aspects of our business. A few of the team are pioneering ahead without guidance from the top and exploring how it helps them. And no doubt, our Operations Director will need to sit through multiple software demos to help pinpoint what tool aligns with our business model. We will learn from tools, from each other and through trial and error. But, to maintain our company values, we will always make sure our team maintain the core skills of recruitment – ones that hone their human judgement skills and make them “artists in persuasion”. And ultimately help us stand out (for the right reasons) and continue to deliver the service our reputation is built on.
And that’s what we rely on for repeat business. And the prime focal point is not just that we are good at what we do, but that people actually like doing business with us. We have a team of people here who are great recruiters – our artists – but most importantly, they are nice people. It’s unrealistic that these business relationships will be replaced by AI – well definitely not in the short term, who knows what will happen in the long term!
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