Hung Lee, a recruiting industry influencer and the editor of the talent business newsletter Recruiting Brainfood, has some blunt words for recruiters who are reluctant to embrace generative artificial intelligence.
“This is about survival,” Hung says. “Certain recruiters will significantly outperform others based on their acuity with this new set of tools. There is a selfish motive for recruiters to get good at this, which is ultimately job security.”
Generative artificial intelligence — AI that can produce text, images, and other types of content in response to prompts — is expected to disrupt the workplace, and knowledge workers, including recruiters, will be the most impacted. As generative AI programs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s AI chatbot Bard become more pervasive, common recruiting tasks such as writing job descriptions and developing interview questions will increasingly be automated. That could allow employers to reduce their recruiter headcount beyond the recent spate of cutbacks.
“Companies down the road,” Hung says, “could say, ‘maybe we don’t need to have a recruitment team of this size. We could do more with less.’”
AI is a remarkable opportunity for recruiting teams
But while generative artificial intelligence (GAI) poses challenges for recruiters resistant to change, it presents opportunities for those who harness the tools effectively, Hung says. Talent leaders, he adds, who so far have been slow to adapt AI can benefit from engaging with the tools and then integrating them into their talent strategies.
Algorithms cannot fully replace the human touch that’s critical to recruiting. Successful recruiters will use artificial intelligence to automate the mundane aspects of their jobs so that they can focus more attention on tasks like listening to candidates and determining whether they’re the right person for the job. LinkedIn’s recent 2023 Future of Recruiting report highlights that 74% of recruiting professionals and hiring managers hope that GAI will automate repetitive chores so they can prioritize strategic work.
“Automation and AI,” Hung says, “will release the recruiter from a lot of transactional activities and allow them to focus more on the ‘high emotional quotient’ activities, which theoretically is what we should be good at and, in fact, we might enjoy more.”
Hung compares the arrival of generative AI to the early days of the internet. “Imagine if you were a person who decided, ‘The internet is not for me,’” he says. “How long are you going to survive in the world of recruiting if you made that decision? How much more money or more career progress would you make if you were an early adopter of the internet?”
We asked Hung to name some less-than-obvious ways recruiters can make the most of generative AI. Here are four of his top picks.
1. Identifying talent sources
A hiring manager asks you to find candidates for a hard-to-fill role. What companies are the most likely to employ people who fit your criteria? An AI chatbot can yield your answer in a matter of seconds.
“Let’s say you’re recruiting for a software developer that needs skill X,” Hung says. “You can ask ChatGPT to generate a list of competitor organizations that are likely to have employees with experience in this skill or process. Once you have the names of these companies, you can create a search string that you can then plug into LinkedIn or another search engine and generate lists of candidate profiles.”
While recruiters have long relied on Google, or word of mouth, to create source lists, GAI produces quicker and better results, Hung says.
“This type of research is going to be tremendously helped by ChatGPT,” he says. “It’s going to be faster and more comprehensive and high quality. It’s literally going to remove days of work from a recruiter.”
2. Expediting recruitment marketing
Generative AI, Hung says, will empower recruiters to produce marketing materials without the help of marketing experts.
For instance, you might be struggling to craft a compelling description of your company’s employee value proposition (EVP). With a few prompts, an AI tool can write a powerful EVP that sets your organization apart from rival employers. Likewise, GAI can be used to write LinkedIn posts, create job ads, or produce video scripts.
As the technology evolves, recruiters will increasingly be able take over more tasks they have traditionally outsourced to marketing pros. “If you’re producing copy, you’re producing images, you’re producing music or video, any kind of media production that recruiters would often be told to do,” Hung says, “you can use this as your own recruiter marketing function and be able to get stuff done really quickly.”
3. Customizing candidate outreach
When it comes to reaching out to passive candidates, personalization is key. LinkedIn data shows that personalized InMails perform about 15% better than ones sent in bulk.
Recruiters often rely on templates, filling in the “blanks” with personal information they’ve found after conducting research on candidates. The method is time-consuming and leads to InMails that sound canned.
GAI can dramatically speed up the process and yield personal messages that are more engaging and increase the chances a candidate will respond. The better you are at prompting the chatbot, the better the results.
For instance, you can ask ChatGPT to scan a candidate’s Twitter account to draw conclusions about the length or type of messages they prefer, Hung says.
“This is the end of templating,” he says. “ChatGPT can essentially write from scratch an entirely new message that is suitable for your candidate.”
4. Putting multiple recruiting tasks on autopilot
A new iteration of AI called Auto-GPT could soon take care of multiple daily recruiting tasks without recruiters having to lift a finger.
Auto-GPT is an experimental AI tool that uses GPT-4, the newest version of OpenAI’s language model systems, to act on its own. That means you can ask Auto-GPT to perform a task and it will execute the steps without additional human prompts. Think of it as ChatGPT on steroids.
“It can go ahead and basically operate for you as a digital assistant,” Hung says, “and execute on these tasks without your oversight, if you so choose.”
The implications for recruiters are huge, he says. “I could say, ‘I’m recruiting for role X. Can you find me competitive companies that contain individuals that typically have done this? Can you then scrape that data and put it into this spreadsheet? Can you then make sure that the people whose emails I’ve collected are then messaged with this personalized message that uses this technique, and then notify me of responses you receive in the next 48 hours?’”
As a recruiter, you have a choice. You can ignore GAI or you can explore the ways in which these tools can be beneficial to your work.
The first step is to educate yourself. Start experimenting with ChatGPT or other types of generative AI. Read articles and blog posts on the topic and attend seminars. Hung, for instance, has curated a free webinar series that explores such subjects as how AI can improve interview training and candidate experience.
Keep in mind, GAI programs can sometimes give out misleading and inaccurate data so it’s important to double-check the information they provide.
“You have the chance to position yourself for the future,” Hung says. “If you’re reading a blog post on LinkedIn or you’re in a conversation about this topic right now, you’re already in that top 1% of people who have the chance to get good at this. Embrace the moment and go with it. It’s like there’s a wave coming from the sea. You either get out of the way and literally get back on the beach and disappear, or you ride the wave and get on top of it.”
GPT’s reaction to this article:
As an AI language model, I do not have opinions or beliefs. However, the article highlights the potential benefits and challenges of using generative artificial intelligence (GAI) in the recruiting industry. The author suggests that recruiters who embrace GAI tools can benefit from automating mundane tasks and focusing more on high emotional quotient activities, such as listening to candidates and determining whether they’re the right fit for the job. Furthermore, GAI can help recruiters identify talent sources, expedite recruitment marketing, customize candidate outreach, and put multiple recruiting tasks on autopilot. However, the author also notes that GAI programs can sometimes give out misleading and inaccurate data, so it’s important to double-check the information they provide.