As any proper Luddite will tell you, the machines are absolutely coming for our jobs. At times it seems practically inevitable. For the moment, we’re fortunately in that sweet spot where most AI is just smart enough to help us work more efficiently but not quite good enough to do the job better than we can. Recruiters are already taking notice of emerging AI tools like ChatGPT and finding ways to use them to their advantage.

I’ve been watching the rise of publicly-accessible AI tech for a few years now. I’ve experimented with each new toy as it comes along… Replika, Dall-E, Stable Diffusion… and now ChatGPT. I continue to be amazed at just how ‘human-like’, practical, and comprehensive the results can be. The speed at which these technologies are advancing is whiplash-inducing. In fact, I’ve had to revise this very blog post several times while writing it because of changing details and new enhancements. In the words of ‘fellow scholar’ Dr. Károly Zsolnai-Fehér, “What a time to be alive!”

What is a GPT?

PROMPT: "cinematic photograph, a seated humanoid robot holding a paper document in front of its face, wearing a business suit, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, robot eye is scanning the paper with a blue light beam, coffee mug, lens flares, movie still" (Generated with mage.space)
PROMPT: “cinematic photograph, a seated humanoid robot holding a paper document in front of its face, wearing a business suit, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, robot eye is scanning the paper with a blue light beam, coffee mug, lens flares, movie still” (Generated with mage.space)

Generative pre-trained transformers, or “GPTs”, are neural network models that have been trained on vast amounts of data. Over time, a model is constructed that can relate concepts and properties of those concepts to each other. Eventually, the tool can make original inferences based on the knowledge in its model. Neural networks are made to ‘learn’ in the same way that humans do, gleaning new connections from observations and experience.

It’s important to understand that the model doesn’t contain or copy any of the original information that it was trained on – its output isn’t a collage or a rearrangement of the source material. Instead, it stores the complex matrix it has built to explain how the different words, phrases, and combinations of words and phrases in the training data related to each other. In the same way that a human doesn’t need to memorize every individual car they have seen in order to describe a hypothetical new car in great detail, a GPT model doesn’t need to store the articles or websites it examines in order to compose new text based on the concepts they contained.

With great power comes great limitations…

Unlike a search engine, which stores and retrieves information, an AI model generates wholly new content from scratch based on a prompt from the user. This offers incredible possibilities, but it also creates some limitations. For example, the AI cannot provide information about anything that wasn’t relevant to the content it was trained on. ChatGPT, for example, was trained on data collected up to 2021, so it can’t write about anything happening in 2023.

PROMPT: "award-winning photograph, a seated humanoid robot wearing a business suit, the robot is holding an iPhone, the robot is holding a piece of white paper, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, chrome accents, coffee mug, photo by J.J. Abrams" (Generated with mage.space)
PROMPT: “award-winning photograph, a seated humanoid robot wearing a business suit, the robot is holding an iPhone, the robot is holding a piece of white paper, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, chrome accents, coffee mug, photo by J.J. Abrams” (Generated with mage.space)

The current big-name AI tools are also “generalists,” trained on vast but not highly specific troves of text. As more purpose-built models are trained on curated data sets such as resumes, job descriptions, interview questions, trade-specific documents, etc. they will become far more powerful in their application to niche recruitment tasks.

You’ll also want to be wary of false information – after all, the model cannot generally fact-check the original statements if makes. The AI is designed to give humans the output they asked for, and whether or not the output is factually accurate or logically sound is not isn’t part of its instructions (for now, at least).

As with any algorithm, the ‘garbage in, garbage out’ adage holds true. Low-quality prompts will yield low-quality results from the AI. Learning to craft a good prompt can take time and practice. It will also vary depending on the chat tool you’re using and may even change over a brief period. One thing I’ve learned in working on this post is that, as the technology rapidly evolves, what worked last week may not work this week.

Fortunately, dedicated professionals like Irina Shamaeva, Jacco Valkenburg, Jim Stroud, and others in the space are continually pushing on the tech and suggesting new methods and use cases.

ChatGPT: Not the only player in the game

The name making the most headlines in AI right now is ChatGPT, a project of OpenAI, which recently extended its partnership with Microsoft. (Given Microsoft’s ownership of LinkedIn, the effect of Microsoft leveraging ChatGPT in the recruiting and business networking sectors could be huge.) Other new players, like Perplexity (which combines AI chat with search engine citations) and Chatsonic have entered the field, while pre-existing services like our partners at Paiger are beginning to offer GPT-based tools as part of their feature set.

OpenAI

ChatGPT is still learning, both in terms of its AI model and in terms of its business model. Unlike some other AI tools, such as Google’s LaMDA and DeepMind’s forthcoming Sparrow, ChatGPT has been made free during its beta testing phase. It still goes offline often enough to be considered somewhat unreliable for day-to-day reliance, but when it is up and running it can be a powerful time saver for sourcing, recruiting, and hiring professionals. Let’s see how.

Streamlining Recruitment Tasks with AI

1. Drafting Emails

One of the things chat AI systems excel at is quickly writing original content. You can save loads of time drafting email follow-ups, cover letters, and other business correspondence by asking the AI to start it for you.

PROMPT: "cinematic photograph, rear view, the back of a seated humanoid robot wearing a business suit, typing on a laptop, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, lens flares, movie still aesthetic"  (Generated with mage.space)
PROMPT: “cinematic photograph, rear view, the back of a seated humanoid robot wearing a business suit, typing on a laptop, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, lens flares, movie still aesthetic” (Generated with mage.space)

For example, you might give a prompt such as “compose an email that would be perfect for a wind farm mechanic, asking them about their interest in work opportunities in Texas, using a polite tone.” With a brief overview of the job and key points like the position name, requirements, and one or two interesting facts about the company, AI can draft a very professional sounding email in seconds.

You can also use it in a similar way for marketing a candidate. You might copy/paste the professional experience section of a resume into the chat and ask the AI to compose an email describing why, based on this experience, the candidate would be suitable for the role.

As always, it’s important to think of the AI as a well-informed but very inexperienced young assistant. It can be prone to uninspired and rote sounding content creation. Treat these emails as drafts for you, the experienced human recruitment professional, to refine and build upon.

2. Suggesting Searches

With its vast understanding of word and concept relationships, ChatGPT may be able to come up with strings for candidate sourcing that you hadn’t considered. You might try asking the bot to “Create a boolean search string that finds LinkedIn profiles of US-based wind farm engineers. The search should focus on senior level hiring prospects. The search should include various ways these engineers might describe their work or title, and include Spanish alternatives.”

In my experiments with ChatGPT, the output of this prompt was:

(“wind farm engineer” OR “wind turbine engineer” OR “wind energy engineer” OR “ingeniero de parques eólicos” OR “ingeniero de turbinas eólicas” OR “ingeniero de energía eólica”) AND (“senior” OR “lead” OR “principal” OR “nivel senior” OR “líder” OR “principal”) AND (“United States” OR “USA” OR “US” OR “Estados Unidos”) AND (title:(senior OR lead OR principal OR nivel senior OR líder OR principal) AND location:(United States OR USA OR US OR Estados Unidos))

Again, it’s important to double-check the bot’s work. Do you know if the Spanish phrases it selected are appropriate to the type of candidate you’re after? Did it put the parentheses and colons in the right places? If not, you could end up sourcing the wrong people.

3. Composing Interview Questions

The chatbot’s wide ranging training data means it can often help craft role-specific questions for candidates. ChatGPT is quite adept at answering a prompt like this:

“give me a list of interview questions for a wind farm engineer with three years of experience who is being considered for a management position”

PROMPT: "wide cinematic photo, standing female humanoid talking to a human business man, office meeting room, lens flares, sorayama robot, cinematic movie aesthetic, bokeh" (Generated with mage.space)
PROMPT: “wide cinematic photo, standing female humanoid talking to a human business man, office meeting room, lens flares, sorayama robot, cinematic movie aesthetic, bokeh” (Generated with mage.space)

The resulting answers are liable to be somewhat generic… “How do you ensure safety and compliance in your work?” If you just need the basics, this can save you a lot of time.

To go a bit deeper, you may want to try providing the AI with the details from the specific job description, then prompt with something like:

“given this list of responsibilities for a wind turbine engineer job, please craft five job-specific interview questions to help assess a candidate’s fit for the role”.

Following on that, you might then ask it to provide general ideas of what a good answer to each question may look like.

4. Drafting a Candidate Summaries

While PCRecruiter’s Candidate Presentations feature makes it easy to send resumes and information to clients and to receive and store their feedback, you might try using an AI chatbot to shortcut the composition of a candidate summary. Asking the AI to condense the resume into an introductory brief, saves both your time and your client’s.

Generating a usable summary is as simple as pasting the candidate’s resume text into the chat, along with a prompt like:

“summarize the following resume in two paragraphs, using a professional tone, and suggesting why this may be a good job candidate for an engineering management role.”

5. Simplifying and Rewriting Job Descriptions

In addition to writing completely original content, AI can be useful in rewriting content that already exists. This can be valuable for internal and external uses.

If you’re a recruiter just starting out, or one moving into a new and unfamiliar market, you may try pasting the client’s complex technical description into ChatGPT and prompting it with “rewrite this job description to make it suitable for a high school level reader.” Having the description without the technical jargon may make it easier to discuss with colleagues.

PROMPT: "cinematic photograph, a seated humanoid robot holding a paper document, wearing a business suit, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, robot eye is scanning the paper with a blue light beam, coffee mug, lens flares, movie still" (Generated with mage.space)
PROMPT: “cinematic photograph, a seated humanoid robot holding a paper document, wearing a business suit, sitting at a desk in casual office setting, robot eye is scanning the paper with a blue light beam, coffee mug, lens flares, movie still” (Generated with mage.space)

You may also find it helpful to give the AI your client’s job description and then ask it to create multiple variations of it for job advertisements and recruitment emails. You can then choose the most suitable version or put multiple versions into use and test which is the most effective. 

For confidential searches, using the description provided by the client can not only reveal their identity, but can also pose issues for search engines detecting it as duplicate content. Rather than spending valuable time custom-writing your own descriptions, paste the client’s version into the AI and prompt it to “write a new version of the following job description that does not reveal the name or location of the employer, adding in alternate phrases where possible.”

Concluding in ChatGPT’s own words…

Rather than writing my own concluding statement here, I thought it would be more appropriate to ask ChatGPT to write one for me.

PROMPT: Compose a first-person conclusion for a blog post entitled “5 ways ChatGPT can enhance your recruiting workflow”, using a conversational but professional tone. Describe in a sentence or two why using ChatGPT and similar tools is a smart idea for recruiters, and express excitement at the future of artificial intelligence in the recruitment space.

“In conclusion, using ChatGPT to enhance your recruiting workflow can bring a multitude of benefits to the recruitment process. From automating repetitive tasks to generating personalized communication, ChatGPT can save recruiters time and help them focus on higher-level tasks like building relationships with candidates and hiring managers. 

The future of artificial intelligence in the recruitment space is very exciting and I believe that utilizing ChatGPT is a smart idea for recruiters. It allows them to be more efficient and effective in their recruitment efforts, ultimately leading to better hires and a more successful business. I can’t wait to see what advancements will come in the future and how they will continue to transform the recruiting landscape.”

Not too shabby for a machine…


Andrew Rothman has been with PCRecruiter for 25 years, managing a variety of projects, including web and media design, video production, and vendor partnerships. He has a background in music, multimedia, and theater.

The last couple of years have seen sweeping changes in the job market. Call it the Great Resignation, the Great Change-Up, the Great Reshuffle – or the great something else – thousands of people have chosen to change career paths.

Dave Nerz - President of NPAworldwide
Dave Nerz – President of NPAworldwide

What’s not so great for recruiters right now is that previously passive candidates – people not actively seeking new roles – are now super-passive. That’s because they’ve found a role that they’re comfortable with and there’s risk associated with making a change. 

Finding the right talent is tougher than ever before. Sometimes clients need to know the reality, especially when there’s a limited pool of candidates for an open role. So how can recruiters keep it real and push back on clients for a win-win outcome? 

PCRecruiter got some thoughts on the matter from Dave Nerz, President of NPAworldwide, a global network of 550 specialist and generalist recruiters in multiple sectors operating in 42 countries. (We also spoke with Dave about Working From Home for another blog post last year.)

The Great Challenge

The opportunities to recruit someone who’s chosen to move outside the city to work remotely are reduced. The pool of talent is getting smaller.

Dave Nerz, President, NPAworldwide

A few years ago, sourcing and attracting the best and brightest passive talent was a struggle. As it stands, the job of a recruiter is even tougher. 

The pandemic made tens of thousands of workers reevaluate their choices. For many different reasons – be it the chance to work from home, a change of lifestyle, or cost-cutting by no longer commuting – many people settled into new ways of living and working.

This increased satisfaction has decreased the size of the available talent pool. People are more risk-averse. Extracting passive talent from roles in which they’re now highly comfortable requires employers to up their offering. Recruiters need more resources – improved leverage – to attract the best talent and make the right hires. 

To get it, recruiters sometimes have to push back on clients. 

A Reality Check

The hiring managers and leadership of some mid-sized companies are not always in tune with what the current job market is all about.

Dave Nerz, President, NPAworldwide

Companies with in-house recruiters will have some awareness of the current employment market. Those relying on agencies tend to be less informed. Until it comes to the numbers. When recruiters surface ten prospective candidates for a role that in the past might have had a hundred, questions get asked. It’s a reality check. At this point, recruiters have to turn around and start educating employers. Their role becomes increasingly consultative. 

The reality is that it’s taking recruiters longer to find the right talent, and there’s less of it to go around. They might find a dead-on hit, and extract them from their current position, only to be told by the hiring manager that they’d like to see a couple more candidates as well. In an ideal world, it would be great to have a group of potential applicants. In reality, time is of the essence. If employers don’t seize the talent when it’s available – someone else will. If recruiters focus on sourcing additional candidates, they stand to lose the one or two that they’ve already found.  

It’s About Time

If they’re that good, they’ll be gone.

Dave Nerz, President, NPAworldwide

Competition for the best candidates in a shrinking talent pool means recruiters need to work smarter to get up to speed. Gone are the days of meetings over coffee or lunch. To extract the right candidates from their current roles and bring them in takes money, resources, and time. What used to be a window of three months to make the hire, is now more like three weeks. 

A man on the phone. Photo by 
Andrea Piacquadio

Employers also have to fiercely compete on their offers. Whether that’s a bigger signing bonus, more time off, the option to work from home, or something else – it all has to be negotiated within a limited timeframe. This is where speed is of the essence. It’s also when recruiters need to push back on clients to ensure they’re educated about the reality.

Some companies who reflect on the hiring process realize they need to take a more consultative approach to recruiting, knowing it will get them better long-term results. Others look at the problem and blame recruiters. To try to solve the issue, these companies hire multiple contingent recruiters to simultaneously source talent for a single role. 

The trouble is, there’s only a limited talent pool. So having multiple recruiters set against each other in a race to find the best candidates doesn’t necessarily yield more prospects. All it does is make recruiters consider the value of their own time – and how it might be more productively spent working exclusively for other clients.  

The Power Of Pushback

Pushing back on clients can pull some recruiters out of their comfort zone. But the benefits are clear. Being totally transparent and giving employers who get it a true picture of the job market means recruiters get the resources they need to get the job done, and make the right hires. In situations where recruiters get blamed for the lack of available talent, employers end up getting second-rate candidates – or worse – no candidates at all. 

Catching the best candidates before they opt to go elsewhere requires close collaboration and fast-thinking. The right ATS and CRM can also help to speed up the hiring process. That doesn’t mean cutting corners. It means streamlining workflows – even automating some aspects of it – so that recruiters can get the job done faster and more efficiently.  

PCRecruiter is an all-in-one ATS and CRM which saves recruiters time, so they can make the right hires faster. Discover our tech.

In the G2 Winter 2023 rankings, PCRecruiter appeared in seventeen new reports, achieving twelve new ranking badges and Top 10 slots in twenty-five different reports.

G2, the world’s largest and most trusted software marketplace, releases quarterly reports for a variety of software categories. Their rankings and awards are based entirely on independent reviews submitted by real users. PCRecruiter is ranked in the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), Candidate Relationship Management, Staffing, and Recruitment Marketing categories. PCRecruiter has appeared as a Top 10 recruiting software in the past, and the Winter 2023 reports continue the trend and then some!

PCRecruiter hits #1 in Recruitment Marketing Software Ranking

G2 Winter 2023 Badges - PCRecruiter is a Top 10 Recruiting Software Option

G2 considers a “Small Business” to be any company with 50 or fewer employees. According to IBISWorld, this encompasses most recruiting agencies, making G2’s “Small Business” grouping the most important one for PCRecruiter. Here’s how we fared in the 2023 Winter Report based on independent PCRecruiter reviews:

Recruitment Marketing – High Performer

  • Best ‘Usability’ (Ranked #1)
  • Best ‘Meets Requirements’ (Ranked #1)
  • Highest User Adoption
  • Top 5 in Customer Relationship
  • Top 10 in Implementation

Applicant Tracking Systems – Leader

  • Top 5 in Results Index
  • Top 5 in Customer Relationship
  • Top 10 in Usability

Staffing – High Performer

  • Top 10 in Usability
  • Top 10 in Results Index
  • Top 10 in Customer Relationship

Candidate Relationship Management – Leader

  • Top 5 in Customer Relationship
  • Top 5 in Results Index
  • Top 10 in Usability
  • Top 10 in Implementation

Top 10 Recruiting Software in Overall Rankings

When looking at the rankings for businesses of all sizes, PCRecruiter also appeared in several Top 10 ranks, including the results Indexes for Applicant Tracking Systems and Staffing software, and the Customer Relationship Indexes for Applicant Tracking Systems, Candidate Relationship Management, and Staffing software.

We are always particularly happy to see PCRecruiter reaching the top of the list for Customer Relationship, as we pride ourselves on how easy our customers say we are to do business with!

If you’re a PCRecruiter user, we would love to have your thoughts included in G2’s Spring 2023 rankings, particularly in light of new features like Sequencing and the many other exciting updates we’ve got planned for the new year. We invite you to submit your own review here.

About G2

G2 is the world’s largest and most trusted software marketplace. More than 60 million people annually — including employees at all of the FORTUNE 500 — use G2 to make smarter software decisions based on authentic peer reviews. Thousands of software and services companies of all sizes partner with G2 to build their reputation, manage their software spend, and grow their business – including Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoom, and Adobe. To learn more about where you go for software, visit www.g2.com and follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.