ChatGPT and the workplace | Protecting your recruitment process against AI-related issues

Written by Derick Maclean on 9 June 2023

Artificial intelligence and natural language processing have seen remarkable advancements in recent years, with ChatGPT, an AI language model, at the forefront of this progress.

While ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionise various aspects of our lives, it’s crucial to understand and address the potential challenges it presents in the workplace. In this series, we take a closer look at three key issues that ChatGPT presents for employers.

The first of these articles covered concerns around job security. This second instalment considers the impact of AI on the recruitment process and the strategies you can implement to avoid ChatGPT-related mishires.

For advice on preventing employee misuse through proactive policies, read article three

Strategies for minimising AI risks in recruitment

As the use of AI becomes more prevalent, employers must be vigilant in maintaining the integrity of their recruitment processes.

Candidates may attempt to exploit ChatGPT to cheat their way into a role, using it to craft cleverly tailored cover letters, complete interview tasks, or even create an entire portfolio of work with little effort. The worry, of course, is that this might not reflect the candidate’s abilities when in role.

There are several strategies employers can implement to get around this potential problem:


Consider what AI can’t do, and leverage that

One way to safeguard your recruitment process against AI-related issues is to consider the limitations of AI, then leverage this understanding to develop tailored assessments that focus on areas where AI assistance would have less impact. While AI can assist in certain tasks, it may fall short in areas requiring real-world problem-solving, teamwork and ethical decision-making.

By designing assessments that emphasise these human-centric skills, employers can ensure a more accurate evaluation of candidates’ abilities and reduce the potential for manipulation or misrepresentation through AI. This approach helps to maintain the integrity of the recruitment process and ensures that candidates are assessed based on their genuine capabilities rather than AI-generated content.

Tailored assessments can include practical exercises that simulate real-world challenges, group discussions or activities that assess teamwork and collaboration, and ethical scenarios that evaluate candidates’ decision-making skills. By placing emphasis on these areas, employers can gain deeper insights into a candidate’s problem-solving abilities, interpersonal skills and ethical mindset.

Of course, as AI continues to evolve, it is important for employers to stay updated on the capabilities of AI and reassess their assessment methods accordingly.


Utilise AI detection systems

Employers could choose to fight fire with fire by utilising AI-detecting tools to address AI abuse in the recruitment process.

OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, have developed a dedicated tool designed to detect text generated by their chatbot. These AI-detecting tools can distinguish between human-generated and computer-generated text, enabling the identification of instances where candidates may have used AI assistance to craft their application materials, including cover letters or portfolios.

While not entirely foolproof, leveraging these tools can significantly mitigate the risk of AI-related deception.

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Use methods that can’t be manipulated

With the growing popularity of AI tools, it becomes even more crucial for employers to prioritise old-school methods that remove candidates’ ability to rely on AI assistance.

Tried-and-tested approaches such as in-person tasks and face-to-face interviews eliminate the risk of AI interference and enable employers to directly observe candidates’ skills, problem-solving abilities and communication styles in real time.

If you do wish to have candidates complete tasks remotely online, employers can still prevent candidates from using AI by leveraging specialist “containerised environments” for specific assessments or activities. These controlled environments restrict access to web browsers and external resources, forcing candidates to rely solely on their own knowledge and skills without the aid of AI-generated content.

By incorporating these old-school methods, employers have an extra layer of protection against manipulation or misrepresentation, ensuring a more accurate assessment of candidates’ capabilities.


Place more emphasis on the interview stage

It’s easy to be taken in by impressive AI-generated resumes and applications. To avoid hiring mistakes, employers should give more credence to the interview stage and approach CVs with caution. If what’s in the CV is nonsense, a well-structured interview should expose any cracks in the facade.

Competency-based interviews, in particular, are gaining prominence as a reliable method to ensure that employers are obtaining the skillset promised by candidates on their CVs, which may be AI-embellished. These interviews focus on probing candidates about specific situations they have encountered in the past, their actions and decisions in those situations, and the outcomes they achieved.

As well as helping employers to confirm any claims made in the CV, interviews, whether face-to-face or virtual, enable employers to gauge how well candidates can articulate their thoughts and navigate hypothetical scenarios or ethical dilemmas, providing insight into their decision-making processes and ethical judgment.


Maintain human involvement and arm hiring managers

Boiling it down, the strategies above highlight the importance of maintaining human involvement throughout the recruitment process, especially in the final stages.

Human judgment and expertise are your first line of defense against being duped by candidates’ use of AI. Humans can thoroughly evaluate candidates’ claims, identify any inconsistencies and detect any deceit. They effectively act as an AI filter at every stage, increasing your chances of success.

Of course, in this AI-driven age, hiring managers must be vigilant and know what to watch out for. For example, AI-generated content tends to be quite generic, often lacking specificity or examples. An AI-generated CV, for instance, might say that someone is a “great team player” but may not offer any real-life illustrations to support this claim. It is through human interaction that these things can be teased out.

As AI becomes more prevalent, it’s a good idea to provide guidance and training to help hiring managers spot AI-generated content. This will ensure a more reliable, trustworthy selection process and minimise issues later down the line.

What can we do if an employee uses ChatGPT to secure a job?

The above strategies should help to ensure your recruitment process weeds out any candidates who may be using AI to embellish their skills and experience.

However, if it doesn’t, and you later discover that an employee misled you during the interview process, this can provide grounds for dismissal, just as it would if you were to discover a candidate lied on their CV or falsified references.

Fortunately, any disparity in expectation versus reality is likely to come to light in the employee’s probation period or, at the very least, before they reach two years’ service. This would mean that they have no unfair dismissal rights, making terminating their employment quicker and less risky for employers.

Moreover, this sort of conduct is also likely to be regarded as gross misconduct, so there would be no concerns about having to pay notice.

Staying one step ahead

Remember, while these strategies might work right now, it’s crucial for employers to stay updated on the latest advancements in AI and continuously adjust their recruitment methods to account for emerging AI technologies.

This ongoing adaptation will help to ensure your recruitment process remains robust, effectively evaluates candidates’ suitability for the role and guards against AI manipulation, enabling you to build a workforce based on genuine capabilities and qualifications.

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As the world of work evolves, so too do the challenges employers face. From hybrid working to ChatGPT, WorkNest can help you to manage new HR hurdles confidently and compliantly.

Whether you need expert advice on managing AI-related issues in the workplace, end-to-end recruitment support, or a recruitment audit to identify potential flaws in your process and improve hiring success, we have the solutions to help you overcome issues and grow your organisation.

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