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July 10, 2023

Will ChatGPT Replace Recruiters?

To cut immediately to the answer, no – ChatGPT will not replace recruiters. This is a question we’ve been hearing over the last month or two as ChatGPT and generative AI have been all the rage in conversations within nearly every industry. 

I actually turned to ChatGPT with this question and asked, “Will ChatGPT replace recruiters?” The AI system was remarkably self-aware and called out some of the key reasons why it can’t and won’t replace recruiters. I’ll use some of the categories ChatGPT called out, but I’ll share my own thoughts on each.

  1. ChatGPT can’t build rapport or understand emotional intelligence like a human.
  2. ChatGPT is flawed when it comes to bias and ensuring equity.
  3. ChatGPT lacks contextual knowledge and judgment capabilities needed to navigate complex hiring scenarios.

ChatGPT can’t build rapport or understand emotional intelligence like a human.

Any experienced recruiter knows that so much of the job of an effective recruiter is developing relationships – relationships not only with candidates, but also hiring managers. 

Recruiters need to lead with empathy and understanding from the moment an intake meeting takes place until a new hire is in-seat and onboarded. They also need to guide hiring managers with confidence and precision (and data…more on that here)! Of course, a recruiter’s emotional intelligence is critical to candidate experience as well.

ChatGPT shared that “empathy, active listening, and establishing genuine connections” – skills that are central to a recruiter’s role – are aspects of recruitment that it cannot fully replicate.

There is a good bit of nuance here, though, and while ChatGPT’s own response mentioned this as a shortcoming, ChatGPT can approximate human-like conversation and exhibit behaviors that indicate emotional intelligence, especially when overtly prompted. Indeed, studies now show that ChatGPT and similar models can exhibit better bedside manner than actual doctors

However, at the end of the day, AI is not a person. People – especially candidates – want to connect with people. They want to know that someone on the other end is evaluating their resume and their candidacy.

ChatGPT is flawed when it comes to bias and ensuring equity.

ChatGPT learns from information that is available across the internet. That information is infused with bias. You can’t fully trust ChatGPT to generate a list of unbiased interview questions or a job description that prioritizes equity, for example. 

We know that humans are biased too, but Talent Acquisition teams across the country are taking active steps to minimize bias in their recruitment processes every single day.

There is nuance here as well, though. While ChatGPT can’t fully be trusted to act in unbiased ways, the folks programming the model are certainly concerned by this and thinking about it. Our guidance here is simply that there should be heightened scrutiny whenever AI is used as part of a hiring system to ensure that biases are detected and mitigated.

ChatGPT lacks contextual knowledge and judgment capabilities needed to navigate complex hiring scenarios.

The work of a recruiter is hard. It’s hard because it’s complex, unpredictable, and requires agility and nuance. Recruiters are gathering and acting upon their organization’s historical recruiting data, learning new sourcing platforms, talking to candidates, interfacing with hiring managers, dealing with sensitive information, and more.

The work of a recruiter is far too nuanced and complex for ChatGPT to act as a one-to-one replacement.  

A note on sensitive information: Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and other sensitive data should not be shared on open, public GPT models. Many data sets are being used for research purposes so the data you put in is teaching the system and could appear in ChatGPT’s responses down the line.


Final thoughts (for now) on the role of ChatGPT in recruitment.

ChatGPT’s response didn’t mention this but I want to call attention to fraud detection, as well. Even among tools that claim to detect fraud, false positives (detecting fraud where none exists), will continue to show up. As models improve, error detection via AI will become increasingly challenging. A strong way to ensure that fraud is detected and to overcome unethical resume hacking is by asking questions, asking for details, asking for demonstration of skills. Human-to-human connection can serve as a needed safeguard. As candidates’ use of AI increases, the importance of things like cover letters will likely continue to decline, and I suspect that face-to-face interviews will become far more important.

So, ChatGPT – and AI in recruitment more broadly – is not going to replace recruiters. However, with the necessary oversight, it can propel them forward in interesting ways and save them time so they can focus on the most nuanced, strategic, and complex components of their work. Learn about how recruiters can leverage ChatGPT in their work.


Watch this 1-min clip on how to think about ChatGPT.

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