Will Employers Be Duped by Job Applicants Using AI?

Will Employers Be Duped by Job Applicants Using AI?

In the “What’s Next?” Department, global market research company Forrester Research predicts that at least one high-profile company will hire a nonexistent job candidate next year.

Such a prediction for artificial intelligence us by job applicants could cause plenty of nausea, heartburn, and indigestion among HR professionals. "Use of bots and generative AI by candidates will require recruiters to employ retaliatory, protective AI in response," Forrester cautions in its new report.

AI Software Can “Hallucinate”

J.P. Gownder, vice president and principal future-of-work analyst at Forrester, described two AI scenarios in a recent article for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) that might make an employer bring on a nonexistent employee. Gownder explained that the generative AI software that’s used by most recruiters is capable of "hallucinating" or presenting false or misleading information because of a lack of accurate data.

"Imagine if a recruiter queries the system to ask which candidate fulfills parameter X best and the system makes up a candidate altogether, and they have few safeguards in place. They extend an offer, but there's nobody to extend it to," Gownder said.

In the same article, Boston Consulting Group explained that HR professionals are increasingly adopting generative AI, which the firm said "can create content from disparate sources and quickly summarize multiple data sets." Consulting giant McKinsey & Co. said that recruiting, performance management, and chatbot-enabled professional growth are a few of the areas where human resources staff are implementing generative AI into their workflow.

The Use of Generative AI Software by Job Applicants

The Forrester report said generative AI can permit a job applicant to send thousands of queries automatically. In this case, generative AI also can "hallucinate," Gownder explained. AI can create a "nearly unrecognizable" application compared with a submission from a candidate who didn't use generative AI. The candidate who employed AI doesn’t know that their resume was so mismatched, Gownder noted. As a result, he’s hired under false pretenses.

HR consultant Theresa Fesinstine, whose specialties include AI, said the Forrester prediction raises issues on the possible negatives of AI in the hiring process.

"There's room for a contrarian view that is more optimistic about AI's role in talent management and recruiting," she added.

When thoughtfully and rigorously developed, AI holds the potential to enhance the recruiting process rather than disrupt it, she contends. AI can automate routine tasks, offer deeper insights into candidates' capabilities and promote the erasure of "unconscious biases," she went on to add.

One AI Application Example: LazyApply

One AI application that fills in all the blanks automatically for jobseekers is LazyApply. This app lets an applicant quickly and easily complete multiple job applications and send them to employers in just a few clicks. LazyApply says it “simplifies the job search process for job seekers and employers alike.”

LazyApply offers a job application bot for several job boards such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter in a single dashboard. This helps applicants stay organized, allowing the bot to keep track of all the different applications the applicant has sent. The app promotes the benefit of saving time. Rather than manually searching and applying for jobs, a jobseeker can use the bot to quickly identify job postings that are a good fit and apply to them automatically. LazyApply has additional bots to search job postings and filter out those that fail to meet a jobseeker’s qualifications—again, saving time.

An applicant can select the skills for which he or she wants positions, as well as the location of the job and the total number of jobs to apply for in a single session. An applicant can filter jobs based on their location, salary, date of the job posting, experience level, industry, job title, and remote/onsite. As a result,, an applicant using AI can apply for thousands of jobs with a single click on LinkedIn. LazyApply says, “It is the best bot to apply for jobs available out there.”

What Can Employers Do to Avoid Being Fooled by AI?

Fesinstine provided a number of recommendations to avoid the hiring mistakes like the one predicted by Forrester:

  1. Bolster candidate verification practices by conducting video interviews to help validate that a human candidate actually exists.
  2. Balance AI with human involvement. “AI can handle initial screening and data analysis," she said, "while humans can take charge of interactions and judgment calls that require emotional intelligence and intuition.”
  3. Conduct AI training for recruiters and hiring managers on AI capabilities and limitations to help foster more effective use of the technology.
  4. Reduce "mischief" triggered by AI by investing in AI that’s designed and audited for ethical practices and making certain that algorithms are transparent and free from biases.
  5. Monitor revisions of legal and ethical guidelines for AI in recruitment to help ensure responsible use of AI technology.

Bottom Line

Experts say that by concentrating on the symbiotic relationship between AI tools and human judgment, employers can leverage AI's strengths while also guarding against its weaknesses.

This preventive approach will focus on AI and the culture surrounding its use to foster a climate of continuous learning, ethical usage, and vigilance that can turn AI into an asset instead of a liability in human resources talent management and recruiting.

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