Student use of generative AI will undermine traditional recruitment

Oct 4, 2023 | Home Featured, Research, Selection & assessment

New research reveals that candidates’ use of generative AI will completely undermine traditional early career recruitment processes, explains Arctic Shores.

Arctic Shores has recently unveiled a ground-breaking research report, revealing that seven in 10 graduate candidates will use ChatGPT while completing a job application or assessment in the next 12 months and 17% are already using it.

This means that the adoption of generative AI is already embedded among today’s early careers population.

Arctic Shores and research agency Opinium surveyed 2,000 students and adults in the first two years of their careers to determine attitudes towards the use of generative AI in the job application process.

The survey also revealed that 72% of students and candidates are using some form of generative AI on a regular basis. This number has increased exponentially in just four months (Cibyl reported that 51% of students were using ChatGPT in May 2023).

The implications of this rise for employers and talent acquisition leaders are profound.

Should employers embrace generative AI in recruitment or ban it?

The survey suggests that employers will likely lose out on attracting new talent and candidates if they ban it, as a third of students would not want to work for an employer who told them they couldn’t use generative AI in the application process.

And a significant 38% of candidates would think that the employer wasn’t very progressive.

The impact of this rapid adoption of Generative AI by the graduate population goes beyond writing CVs and cover letters.

With two-thirds of employers using some form of pre-employment testing, Arctic Shores – in partnership with UCL postgraduate student researchers – also conducted a comprehensive study on the ability of ChatGPT to complete traditional psychometric assessments commonly used by graduate employers.

What else do talent leaders need to know?

The research revealed that:
● ChatGPT-4 outperforms 98.8% of human candidates in verbal reasoning tests –– a commonly used cognitive test, especially in the legal sector.
● It can also complete situational judgement tests to a level that would place it in the top 70 percentile of candidates – the typical cut-off point used to progress candidates to the next stage in the recruitment process.
● Both the free version (ChatGPT-3.5) and the paid-for version (ChatGPT-4) can complete a question-based personality assessment and suggest high-matching answers tailored to the specific role, based on a job description.
● While both free and paid versions of ChatGPT outperform the average candidate, ChatGPT-4 (paid) performs significantly better and more consistently in cognitive-heavy assessments (many SJTs and all language based aptitude tests).
● Neither version was able to complete the Arctic Shores interactive, task-based personality or aptitude assessments.

Impact on traditional recruitment

The rapid adoption of Generative AI by the student and graduate population combined with its proven capabilities –– and the pace at which Generative AI is advancing –– will have a major impact on traditional recruitment processes.

“Generative AI is not a nice-to-have amongst students and graduates, it’s like a calculator in a maths exam – an essential part of their approach to applying for jobs and their future careers,” said Robert Newry, co-founder and CEO of Arctic Shores.

“Companies and talent acquisition leaders need to factor in that generative AI can not only write CVs and cover letters but can also complete many traditional assessment types, including question-based aptitude, personality, and situational judgement tests.

“Our research with UCL illustrates just how easily the technology can outperform human candidates in certain tests. It also illustrates that any student could use ChatGPT to do this even without specialist training.

“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 Chat-GPT-proof assessments if they want to see a candidate’s true ability.”

Use among students

ChatGPT usage among the student and graduate population is here to stay. And students expect to be able to use it at work and in the selection process.

In fact, students are already using generative AI for an average of an hour and 14 minutes a week, and that rises to an hour and 24 minutes for neurodiverse candidates –– whose usage is more likely to include advanced generative AI tools like Midjourney and Wolfram Alpha.

In addition, when breaking down the demographics, black and mixed-heritage students are more likely to use ChatGPT to help with job applications than other ethnic groups (both 23%).

Newry added: “TA 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.

“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. Failing to work through these issues and simply ignoring generative AI’s use in the application process could completely undermine your process.”.

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What recruiters need to know about ChatGPT for assessment and selection

What is the impact of ChatGPT on early careers recruitment?

Can we counter the assessment cheating power of ChatGPT?

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