ChatGPT and job boards: maybe this is a good thing?

Chatgpt and job boardsYou knew that at some point I would weigh in on Chat­G­PT and job boards, did­n’t you? I mean, the top­ic is just too juicy! As you can prob­a­bly guess, I’m ‘AI-skep­ti­cal’ and have been for a while; it seems like the that was always ‘on the hori­zon‘. all, it’s not as though the recruit­ing indus­try has­n’t dab­bled already in AI-like chat­bots – see Para­dox’s Olivia, for exam­ple. But what seems to set Chat­G­PT apart from its pre­de­ces­sors is the size of the dataset it oper­ates from, and the speed it cre­ates its sim­u­la­tions of human respons­es.

First things first: don’t for­get that Chat­G­PT – like all chat­bots – is stu­pid. It does­n’t under­stand what a dog is, or a job seek­er, or a bass gui­tar. How­ev­er, it has lots of data that puts those in con­text – which gives it the abil­i­ty to sim­u­late that it in fact ‘under­stands’ what you mean when you ask it, ‘what is a dog?’ or even ‘can you describe a good dog?’.  As Josh Bersin point­ed out in a recent arti­cle, the val­ue of type of tech­nol­o­gy is by bring­ing it to bear on a spe­cif­ic, high­ly focused tar­get – for exam­ple, hir­ing. Instead of bur­den­ing a fic­tion­al ‘Hir­ingChat’ with infor­ma­tion about the birth­date of Prince Charles or the uses of a Num­ber 5 jack plane, you can cre­ate a deep dataset that cov­er­ing every aspect of hir­ing, using the knowl­edge of as many peo­ple, stud­ies, and oth­er sources of data as you wish.

There’s just one catch, how­ev­er: even with all of that data and pro­cess­ing pow­er, your Hir­ingChat will only do a pret­ty good job. Why? Because – repeat after me – the chat­bot is stu­pid. So if Hir­ingChat asks the can­di­date in an inter­view to describe a chal­leng­ing work sit­u­a­tion and how they resolved it, the can­di­date’s response won’t mean any­thing to the chat­bot. Instead, it will be map­ping the con­tent against its dataset and essen­tial­ly ‘grad­ing’ it (in an admit­ted­ly very sophis­ti­cat­ed fash­ion) as good or bad, accept­able or not accept­able. It would obvi­ous­ly reject respons­es such as ‘I killed my cowork­er’ as inap­pro­pri­ate – but it might strug­gle with respons­es such as ‘I told my super­vi­sor what Jeff said dur­ing a late night din­ner I had with him’.  Is tat­tling on a cowork­er good or bad? Hmm. So I can imag­ine our fic­tion­al Hir­ingChat as an over per­haps 50% of the hir­ing man­agers or HR gen­er­al­ists out there (remem­ber the last excru­ci­at­ing inter­view you sat through with a bored inter­view­er?)  – but that still means that the oth­er half will do a bet­ter job than the soft­ware does.

So where do Chat­G­PT and job boards fit in? I can see one clear win (although it includes a very big ‘if’). Think for a moment about how bad­ly writ­ten job ads are. I mean, real­ly! Between legalese and ‘rock stars’, the job ad is almost always some­thing that can be improved. That’s where Chat­G­PT and job boards can actu­al­ly do some­thing pos­i­tive – if employ­ers will let them, that is. Just imag­ine: every job ad that an employ­er sub­mits is run through a ‘JobAdIm­prover’, which has been opti­mized by expo­sure to thou­sands of expert­ly writ­ten job ads (or per­haps just exposed to the col­lect­ed of Kat­ri­na Kibben!). The rewrit­ten job ads appear on the oth­er side of the process, cre­at­ing more and bet­ter response for the employ­er – and the job board man­ages to make both employ­ers and job seek­ers hap­py. Seems like a pipe dream, eh?

There is an ‘if’, though: the employ­er has to be will­ing to par­tic­i­pate. I sus­pect many will – they under­stand that their job ad writ­ing skills are weak at best. But some – and these might be the largest ones, too – will reject any rewrit­ing. What would hap­pen then? Well…the rewrit­ten job ads would bet­ter than the untouched job ads. Some employ­ers would be hap­py, and some would not. I guess that’s actu­al­ly not too dif­fer­ent from the ways thing are now!

So per­haps Chat­G­PT and job boards can live togeth­er, and even pros­per. Remem­ber – the above is just one ‘use case’. There could be oth­ers (auto­mat­ed can­di­date screen­ing, for exam­ple). But nev­er for­get – you can call it ‘arti­fi­cial ’, but it’s still stu­pid in many regards. If you keep that in mind, you won’t be sur­prised – at least, not in a bad way!

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