Author: Edward F Barry
ChatGPT, the popular artificial-intelligence (AI) from developer OpenAI, could be a game-changer for recruiting in today's tight labor market.
ChatGPT, which can produce content such as text and images, has set adoption speed records. Swiss bank UBS estimates that within just two months of launch in November 2022, ChatGPT had amassed 100 million monthly active users. Compare that to TikTok, which took about nine months to garner 100 million users, and Instagram, which took 30 months.1
ChatGPT offers great potential for recruiting
While the technology isn't yet mainstream, a subset of HR professionals is using ChatGPT. This group will grow quickly as more people discover ways to use the tool — and ChatGPT learns more about recruiting. In March 2023, OpenAI released Chat GPT-4. This version will be available as an Application Programming Interface (API) for developers to build applications and services, opening the door for further use in HR beyond recruiting.
A quick Internet search of "ChatGPT for recruiting" returned more than 14.5 million results. Many online sources provide examples of ways the app might enhance organizational recruiting. Examples include writing job descriptions and job posts, creating interviewing guides, responding to applicant inquiries, using neutral language and more.
According to OpenAI, the primary advancements of GPT-4 include creativity, visual input and the ability to process larger amounts of content.2 Benefits include:
- Creativity. GPT-4 excels at creating and collaborating with users on creative projects, including learning a user's writing style.
- Visual input. GPT-4 can receive images as a basis for interaction.
- Longer content. GPT-4 can process up to 25,000 words of text. This processing includes providing GPT-4 a web link and asking it to interact with the text from that page to create new content.
While evolving, ChatGPT still poses risks of social bias in recruitment
Of the GPT-4 advancements, the ability to process larger amounts of text, including via a link to a website, presents the most immediate opportunities and risks in HR.
OpenAI reports that GPT-4 is significantly safer than the previous generation of the application. GPT-4 reportedly can produce 40% more factual responses and is 82% less likely to "respond to requests for disallowed content." However, OpenAI cautions that the latest model still poses problems with social bias.2
Using the latest version of ChatGPT for recruiting might include linking to a candidate's Facebook page to analyze their social profile. While this capability may differ little from undertaking the same exercise manually, the fact that the technology may not recognize social biases means it has the potential to draw inaccurate conclusions based on content. Also, ChatGPT would need human direction for analysis — potentially driving focus and outcomes. A more beneficial use of the ability to link to online information might include an analysis of an employee's benefits selections and usage records.
Over-reliance on AI technology for recruiting can bring legal risk
Gallagher's Human Resources Technology Consulting practice applauds organizations that engage with any technology that adds value and improves HR outcomes. We're watching closely to see where ChatGPT takes the industry. At the same time, we're concerned about the uninformed use of ChatGPT in the mainstream. Users risk running afoul of recent artificial intelligence (AI) laws enacted in several US states in 2022 and currently under consideration in more states.3
Using AI to recruit employees and analyze resumes is a further grey area. US Department of Labor directives prohibit screening tools that can create a disparate impact, such as discriminatory outcomes.4 Some observers view technology that helps organizations find "successful candidates" as code for a screening process that may erode diversity or runs counter to organizational values and goals.
In addition to potentially violating labor laws, organizations risk overlooking vital talent by taking the human element out of the recruitment process. Most employers can recall when a face-to-face engagement with an applicant revealed insights that led to a great hire. Hiring managers easily miss such discoveries when they over-rely on technology for shortcuts and automation.
Focus on the organization's unique employee value proposition
At Gallagher, we encourage employers interested in using ChatGPT for recruitment to start small and experiment. If the company's job descriptions sound rote and echo every other posting for similar positions, ChatGPT may provide a great alternative. HR teams will find the real advantage, however, when they use this technology to highlight the organization's unique value proposition to candidates. We recommend that HR teams maintain their recruiting protocols, but discuss any additional procedures and technology education with legal counsel.
There's no doubt that ChatGPT can streamline and enhance some recruiting processes. However, this technology cannot replace the judgment and experience of an HR professional. Despite the rise of emerging technologies to support recruitment and selection efforts, the volume of human-led searches that Gallagher's recruitment consulting team conducts also is on the rise.
As with any cutting-edge technology, at Gallagher we advise HR leaders to consider the possibilities and assess the risk of early and ongoing use. Already ChatGPT users face risks associated with privacy and copyright use. That said, ChatGPT will evolve and improve. However, artificial intelligence cannot think for itself. HR teams must follow the evolution of this technology and others, and when ready to experiment, do so in a controlled and informed manner.
Gallagher's Human Resources Technology Consulting practice can work with you to optimize HR technology so your organization operates more efficiently. Let us help your team face the future with confidence.