GenAI in job applications: To Ban or Not to Ban?

Mar 20, 2024 | Home Featured, Opinion, Selection & assessment

With some employers announcing a ban on using AI in job applications, Estelle McCartney at Arctic Shores considers the consequences.

The battle between employers and candidates over the use of generative AI (GenAI) in job applications is getting hotter than the latest season of Gladiators.

But unlike Gladiators, this issue is rife with complexity.

Banning AI in job applications

Recently, The Telegraph reported that the Big Four have officially put their foot down, banning graduates from using AI to write job applications. And in some ways, who can blame them?

When you’re drowning in a sea of identical applications, thanks to tools like AutoApplyAI, finding a standout candidate is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Especially when even traditional question-based psychometric assessments are susceptible to inflated scores from candidates using ChatGPT. We found this tool is proven to:

Outperform 98.8% of human candidates in verbal reasoning tests

Score in the 70th percentile on situational judgement tests

Ace question-based Personality Assessments for any role, by simply reading the job description.

This combination of rising applicant numbers and less reliable sifting tools is leading to a subsequent drop in candidate quality at the interview stage. So, it’s no wonder that talent acquisition teams are taking decisive action to put a band-aid on a less-than-perfect solution.

Quick fix

But in reality, while many employers have to maintain the effectiveness of their selection process, the consensus is that banning GenAI use should only be a quick fix –– not a long-term solution.

Some talent acquisition teams are already moving to redesign their entire selection process. For example, employers share how AI is changing their recruitment processes.

Not least of all because ChatGPT is used more extensively by underrepresented groups trying to level up. So banning or penalising usage long-term risks creating a hiring process that is not equitable.

Plus, a ban risks harming the employer brand. Only 13% of candidates see using GenAI in the application process as cheating. And a third wouldn’t want to work for an employer banning its use.

Managing candidate use of AI

Last week, 350 disruptive talent aquisition leaders joined Robert Newry, Claudia Nuttgens, Dan Doherty and Hung Lee to discuss how to manage candidate use of GenAI.

The conclusion from the group was pretty clear. If we want:

● Candidates to embrace GenAI when they’re in role to 10-times their productivity

● To level the application playing field for neurodiverse candidates and those from less privileged backgrounds

● To position ourselves as progressive, innovative employers who candidates want to work for Then we have to embrace candidates’ use of GenAI. But we also have to guide it.

We have to help candidates realise that a copy and paste answer from ChatGPT won’t cut it at work. And it definitely won’t cut it in the application process.

And we have to ask ourselves, if ChatGPT can write a better application than the average candidate, shouldn’t we be assessing them for something else instead?

Innovative employers are already getting ahead of the curve here. The big question is, how long will it be before everyone else follows?

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