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Is AI making applying for a job worse than online dating?

Posted June 14, 2024

There is a worrying trend beginning to come into the world of recruitment and that is the proliferation of AI bots doing the filtering. I get it, there is a need for more automation, more sifting, more ability to filter to get to the best candidate. But if you take the human element out of a recruitment process you risk alienating the lifeblood of your business, the thing that makes your organisation tick, and probably a subset of your potential customer base – your people!

The rise and risks of Automation in the interview process

But worse still….the AI bot that is dehumanising the selection process is being counter punched by the AI generated cover letter and CV. These can be cleverly structured in 10 minutes by a large language model on behalf of a candidate who is gaming the application of AI at the other end of the process.

This can even roll over into online interviews. Some interviewers in a quest to reduce time and thinking could look to ask AI to generate a series of interview questions for the job role they are hiring for, only then to also be met by responses that are being real-time generated by AI by the candidate at the other end of the call to deliver the best possible response.

A worrying future of AI in recruitment processes?

Research conducted by Bright Minds indicated that 38% of applicants are now using AI to enhance their applications. Let’s face it – that number is only going to increase as AI becomes more ubiquitous and available.

And whilst my framing may be slightly glib, how far away are we from regular instances where AI assessment bots are assessing AI generated applications as a matter of course. Where does this end?

As I referenced in my previous post the recruitment word has changed. The expectation of feedback on a CV has gone, in fact CV feedback that is richer than an acknowledgement is an absolute rarity. More worrying, increasingly interview feedback is disappearing unless you are successful. And whilst AI can definitely reduce the admin burden on both sides of the process, it should be used to free up more time to be spent on human interaction – not less. And I fear that we are into a worrying cycle of less human interaction.

Breaking the AI cycle

The ultimate impact is that the candidate keeps swiping (much like one might when using popular dating apps, only to apply for jobs); and then more successful interviews end in rejection because something better came along for them.

Meanwhile the client keeps swiping too – letting AI assess more and more candidates. This results in more candidates being ghosted, and so the loop becomes a spiral, and the spiral becomes habit and things just simply get worse – until someone breaks that cycle. I believe we need to re-insert high quality human interaction into critical stages in the recruitment process.

I would say this though, wouldn’t I?! In a specialist, talent scarce, sector where human interaction is critical – many stones must be turned over to find the right person for the roles that we engage on. Yet at the same time we are increasingly being asked to comply with processes that have elements of what I have discussed above – because organisations think this works for volume hires – but for me it’s a slippery slope.

There is no substitute for high quality conversations, the building of relationships irrespective of outcome, and professional engagement at every stage of the process.

At Sanderson Government and Defence, we value building long-term relationships and owning the problem through to completion. We know from over 20 years in the talent solution business that this approach builds better teams and makes for a more resilient and cohesive workforce.

If you’d like to chat more about your recruitment needs and the bespoke solutions we could provide you in your recruitment processes, please do get in touch.