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Equipping hiring managers to spot GenAI job candidates

The use of generative AI in crafting resumes and cover letters poses challenges to hiring managers, as it could exaggerate qualifications and influence interview responses.

Generative AI's ability to craft resumes and cover letters precisely tailored to job advertisements presents a new challenge for hiring managers and recruiters. The easy-to-access AI can exaggerate a candidate's qualifications and assist in answering assessment questions, raising concerns about its increasing influence in the hiring process.

A looming worry is that generative AI could soon enable real-time responses during interviews. Like a politician using a teleprompter, candidates might use AI to deliver answers to questions during virtual interviews, complicating the evaluation of their genuine skills.

Usually, clever technological hacks spark equally sophisticated countermeasures. But in this case, the best defense against job applicants who use generative AI to game a hiring system might be the human brain.

We have retrained our interviewers to dig deeper.
Eric LundHead of global recruitment, Kaseya

Eric Lund, head of global recruitment at Kaseya, an IT and security management company based in Miami, acknowledged the impact of generative AI on hiring. Kaseya has adapted its candidate vetting process, training recruiters and hiring managers to be more probative.

"We have retrained our interviewers to dig deeper," Lund said, noting that this approach increases the interview duration from two to three hours to potentially three to four hours.

When candidates submit written responses detailing their approach to solving a specific problem or demonstrating technical skills, it prompts hiring managers to look into their methods and reasoning.

"The hows and the whys become much more important," he said.

Despite the challenges, generative AI also aids Kaseya's recruiters by streamlining their outreach to potential candidates. The technology enables the creation of personalized messages for passive candidates by analyzing their profiles and tailoring communications based on their suitability for specific roles.

Adapting new techniques required

Jamie Kohn, senior research director in the HR practice at Gartner, compared using AI for resumes to hiring a resume coach, and so understands the potential benefit to candidates. However, she warned that it might obscure a hiring company's ability to gauge a candidate's true capabilities. She said adapting interview techniques to discern authentic from AI-generated responses is becoming crucial.

A Gartner survey of 3,500 job seekers pointed to widespread adoption of generative AI: 50% of respondents reported using the tool for cover letters and resumes, 45% said they use it for writing samples, and about 40% use it to help answer assessment questions. Kohn believes the key to overcoming AI's influence is to have candidates articulate their thought processes.

Emily Campion, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business, said the content of generative AI models can be generic.

"What it does, really, is provide a starting point," she said.

Creating an application "that accurately and concisely communicates a candidate's skills takes time," Campion said, regardless of whether a candidate uses AI tools, consults an expert or does it independently.

Likewise, the bottom line for an organization's candidate selection process, whether it uses AI or not, is "to monitor the system and ensure their methods of assessment continue to predict job performance," Campion said.

Patrick Thibodeau covers HCM and ERP technologies for TechTarget Editorial. He's worked for more than two decades as an enterprise IT reporter.

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