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Top 4 GenAI Uses for Sourcing and Recruiting

GenAI prompts should be clear, specific, and descriptive

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Recruiters are using generative artificial intelligence (GenAI)—and specifically ChatGPT, the most prominent GenAI tool at the moment—to create process efficiencies and boost performance by assisting with candidate outreach, job descriptions, recruitment marketing content, and interview questions.

“Unlike searching on Google, working with ChatGPT is more like having your own personal assistant,” said John Tippett, co-founder and vice president of product at SeekOut, a talent intelligence platform based in Seattle. SeekOut debuted its own GenAI tool for recruiters, SeekOut Assist, which can be used to surface qualified candidates from job descriptions and personalize outreach to candidates.

ChatGPT can understand complex directives and improves its responses based on feedback. Those directives and feedback are delivered in the form of prompts, which are the bridge between the user and the AI. The ability to ask the right question and then refine follow-up questions is the key skill required to work with GenAI. Best practices for crafting prompts include being clear, specific, and descriptive.

Tippett broke prompt-writing down into three basic elements:

  • Core directives, or the main thing you want ChatGPT to provide you with. An example would be “Write an email.”
  • Descriptors or additional details added to the directive. Examples include “in 100 words” or “in two paragraphs.”
  • Tone of voice. Examples include “for an executive audience” or “friendly” or “in the style of Jane Austen.”

Providing an objective and context is especially important for writing good prompts and avoiding generic answers, said Neelie Verlinden, a digital HR expert at the Academy to Innovate HR, based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

But she cautioned recruiters to be careful when using GenAI. Specifically, sourcers and recruiters should never enter candidate data into ChatGPT, take results at face value, or make screening or hiring selections based on those results.   

“These tools should be used to screen people in, not screen people out,” said Brian Fink, talent acquisition partner at McAfee and a recruiting industry thought leader. “Using these tools saves me a ton of time, but human input is important. It allows us to do more and slow down at the same time. When you give me more time to do my job, I can have better conversations with candidates.”

Here are four ways sourcers and recruiters can utilize GenAI tools such as ChatGPT to be better at their jobs.

Conducting Candidate Research

It’s crucial to have a basic understanding of the jobs you’re sourcing candidates for before engaging with them. AI tools can make researching roles and industries easier than before.

“It’s powerful,” Fink said. “Let’s say I don’t know all the ins and outs of the cybersecurity industry. Who are McAfee’s major competitors? I asked ChatGPT and it provided me a list in seconds. I can then begin my research there. Or if you are looking for account managers in Austin, Texas, ask ChatGPT for a list of synonym titles for ‘account manager’ and a list of communities around Austin and then build a Boolean string around that.”

Verlinden provided an example of a prompt for this purpose: “Generate a list of alternative job titles or roles related to a social media manager. These should be titles that might be used by professionals with skills in social media strategy, content creation, audience engagement, and analytics, which are typically required for a social media manager role.”

Trish Wyderka, a lead researcher and sourcer for Fidelis Companies in Plano, Texas, said she uses GenAI to help with understanding acronyms and industry terms as she searches through resumes for engineers in the biopharma industry.

“I have some prebuilt prompts and some I type on a whim,” she said. “If I get a request that includes a type of cancer in acronym form, I can find related terms. I can then save the searches for the future or combine them in a text string and input them into my ATS [applicant tracking system] or LinkedIn Recruiter to source talent.”

Tippett added that you can insert the role’s job description directly into ChatGPT to generate more accurate results.

Fink said GenAI tools can also be used to summarize and distill information.

“If I’m recruiting someone who has published dissertations, do I have time to read them? Do I even understand it? No, I don’t,” he said. “So, I use ChatGPT to summarize the paper and give me the three main points. Then, I reach out to the candidate with that bulleted list and let them know we’re looking for someone with related skills or interests.” 

Refining Job Descriptions

GenAI can be used to rewrite clearer job descriptions and more appealing job postings.

Tippett gave the following example: “I will provide you with a job description, and I’d like you to rewrite it to be more [exciting] or [inclusive] to [engineers] or [introverts].”

He added that “you can ask ChatGPT to edit copy based on a variety of factors, such as ‘be more persuasive,’ ‘add urgency,’ ‘use inclusive language,’ et cetera.”

Verlinden provided an example of a prompt for a job ad: “Compose a compelling job advertisement for a senior web developer position at a fast-growing e-commerce startup. The ad should include an enticing headline, an overview of the role, key responsibilities, necessary skills and qualifications, and the perks of working at our company. Use language that is inclusive and appealing to a diverse audience.”

She suggested that users edit and customize what ChatGPT produces, inserting brand voice, checking for errors, and adding SEO-friendly keywords to improve visibility online.

Composing Candidate Outreach

ChatGPT can be a valuable content creation tool, as well, providing recruiters with a solid first draft for outreach emails to candidates. LinkedIn’s AI-assisted messages feature, which was rolled out in 2023, is seeing a 40 percent higher acceptance rate compared to traditional InMails and are accepted over 10 percent faster by job seekers, according to the company.

“If I find a candidate on Reddit and he’s in a group about ‘dad jokes’ and another group about the open-source system Kubernetes, I’ll ask ChatGPT for a good dad joke to tell someone who is interested in AI Kubernetes,” Fink said “Or, because there are so many female developers who refer to themselves as Khaleesi on LinkedIn, I’ll ask for a ‘Game of Thrones’ joke using ChatGPT. If you can personalize the outreach or get candidates to laugh while you hook them, they will generally show more interest in the job.” 

Verlinden gave the following example: “Craft a personalized candidate outreach email for a potential candidate who is currently a senior graphic designer at a well-known digital marketing agency. The purpose of this email is to invite him to consider an open role for an art director at our innovative advertising firm. Highlight our creative environment, professional growth opportunities, and competitive benefits package. The tone should be professional, yet friendly.”

Tippett added that recruiters could then ask ChatGPT to turn that outreach message into a 20-word LinkedIn connection request.

Similarly, you can also use ChatGPT to author empathetic rejection emails, Tippett said. “Crafting a thoughtful and empathetic rejection email is crucial to delivering a strong candidate experience,” he said. “We recommend that you tweak and update the text you get from ChatGPT to include personalized details that recognize the human behind the resume.”

Verlinden agreed, saying that if candidates become aware of the fact that they’ve received an AI-generated outreach email, it may be a turnoff.

“The way to go about this probably lies somewhere in the middle,” she said. “You can use ChatGPT as a starting point, but it is indispensable to add a personal touch to it.”

Crafting Interview Questions

Tools such as ChatGPT can help reduce the time spent researching and writing role-specific interview questions to assess a candidate’s knowledge.

Before recruiters begin generating interview questions, however, they will need to input into ChatGPT details about the position and the qualities that would make someone a great candidate.

Fink said he inputs the job description and the candidate’s resume and then asks what questions should be asked of that candidate. “This has worked really well,” he said.  

Verlinden provided an example of a prompt for this purpose: “Create a list of five technical interview questions for a digital marketing specialist position. The questions should focus on the candidate’s proficiency in SEO/SEM [search engine optimization/search engine marketing], email marketing, social media marketing, and their familiarity with marketing analytics tools.”


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