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Are Job Seekers Cheating When They Use ChatGPT to Craft Resumes and Cover Letters?


A woman is typing on a laptop with the word gpt on it.


​There is a growing concern among hiring and recruiting professionals that job candidates are using the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT to game the interview process by having it write cover letters and help practice answering complex questions.

Should HR leaders be concerned that ChatGPT could intensify candidate fraud? 

Glider AI, a talent quality platform that conducted a comprehensive study on candidate fraud, says no. In fact, it believes ChatGPT will be a positive tool for evaluating candidates' job skills. 

"Not embracing tools like ChatGPT is to ignore progress and innovation. The application and growing use cases for ChatGPT are profound, especially given its infancy," said Satish Kumar, Glider AI CEO. "There is a careful balance between understanding a candidate's resourcefulness in using ChatGPT and mitigating overreliance."

Out of more than 1,000 current and recent job seekers who responded to a recent ResumeBuilder.com survey, 46 percent reported using ChatGPT to write resumes or cover letters or both. Of those candidates, about 70 percent received a higher response rate from employers and 59 percent were hired. Only 11 percent failed to obtain a job when the interviewer discovered they had used ChatGPT. According to the survey, senior-level executives currently use ChatGPT less frequently than entry- and midlevel job seekers.

"ChatGPT could become a proficiency and skill set that a candidate emphasizes on their resume, no different than Excel, PowerPoint and Photoshop," said Andrew Higashi, CEO and co-founder of ChangeEngine, a San Francisco-based future-of-work company. "Learning how to use the latest technology has always been an advantage for new hires. I could see ChatGPT continuing to evolve over the years, and its users will need to keep up with the latest nuances."

Spotting Exaggerated Experience and Skills

In many ways, inflating experience and skills with ChatGPT-produced resumes and cover letters is no different than hiring a resume-writing service. 

"Hiring managers already know that the resumes they are reviewing may very well have not been written by the person presenting it," said Stacie Haller, chief career advisor at ResumeBuilder.com. Based in Seattle, ResumeBuilder.com helps job seekers build a strong resume.

"Resume writers, job coaches and online tools exist for this, and this new technology is only today's version," she added. "Screening is the same as it always has been, whether [the resume is] written by ChatGPT or a resume service. It comes down to the interview process."

Though ChatGPT is advanced technology, low-tech interviewing strategies remain effective at figuring out what is accurate, exaggerated or fabricated on a person's resume. Watching the candidate's body language, asking references about an individual's soft skills, and incorporating skills testing and real-time critical thinking exercises into the interview are more important than ever.

"For example, software engineers should whiteboard and code together before making hiring decisions. Sales representatives should run mock presentations to showcase their industry knowledge and passion for the product," Higashi said.

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Bonus Points for Using ChatGPT

Candidates who use ChatGPT may actually have an advantage in the hiring process beyond receiving help creating a standout resume and cover letter. Using the tool may demonstrate their resourcefulness and adaptability—two traits that can support an organization in achieving its goals and adjusting to changing business scenarios.

"If a candidate can leverage ChatGPT to more quickly source information—whether it's for responses during a phone interview or to more creatively build their resume—that could signal this person is tech-savvy and could end up being a great hire," said Allyn Bailey, a former HR recruitment executive at Intel and current executive director of hiring success at SmartRecruiters, headquartered in San Francisco.

Opportunities for HR to Use ChatGPT in the Hiring Process

Job seekers are not the only group to benefit. Bailey noted that interviewers and hiring managers "might even use ChatGPT to dig deeper into any candidate or come up with follow-up interview questions."

SmartRecruiters is experimenting with using ChatGPT to enhance its hiring process. Bailey thinks the tool can play a significant role in sourcing candidates and speeding up the sourcing process by homing in on specific candidates, writing personalized candidate messaging and crafting compelling job descriptions and postings. 

"The point about knowing how to use it is important. In the end, it's a computer: it will only produce quality results if you feed it quality information and prompts," Bailey said. "You can even use it to remove bias from content if you use it right."

Katie Navarra is a freelance writer based in New York state.

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