Navigating the Ethics of Generative AI When Job Hunting
As AI technology continues to advance, it's becoming more common for job seekers to turn to AI tools, such as ChatGPT, to help them write their resumes and cover letters. These tools use natural language processing to take input prompts or text from a user and then create new documents to meet the request. For example, you might provide a list of your job history, education, and achievements and get back a resume. Or you might provide a job description and your resume and get back a customized cover letter that ties your background to the posting.In addition to using AI for written materials, some job candidates are also using AI-powered code creation tools during the interview process to impress potential employers with their technical skills. While these tools can be useful resources, it's important to consider the ethical implications of utilizing AI for job hunting. In this blog post, we'll explore the pros of using AI in the job search process and discuss ways to do so ethically.
ChatGPT has exploded in popularity with many people suggesting that job seekers can use the tool to generate resumes as a helpful way to get started on a draft or to generate ideas for what to include and where to include it. However, it's important to thoroughly review the final product before sending it off to potential employers.While ChatGPT can provide suggestions and help with wording, it's not a replacement for your own editing and review. Think of it as another friend who is helping you review your resume. The input can be helpful, but it's still up to you to make sure it accurately reflects your experiences and skills. Pay attention to finding the typos and grammatical errors that a text generator might churn out, as these are off-putting to hiring managers. In the end, it's important to feel confident in the final version of your resume, and that means taking the time to carefully review and edit it yourself. Don’t just rely on the algorithm.
Although cover letters are not required by every organization, they are still widely reviewed alongside resumes when making decisions about who to interview. In theory, using ChatGPT to generate a cover letter for you that matches each job description that you are applying for sounds like a great idea. However, it's important to consider the ethical implications of relying on AI to craft a document that is typically seen as a personally created message.While resume writing services have been around for years and are more widely accepted, cover letters are still expected to be more personal and show the applicant's passion and fit for the specific role. In addition, an AI-generated cover letter may not be able to capture these elements, so it's important to carefully review and customize the final product before sending it off. In the end, it's important to feel confident in the final version of your cover letter and be able to stand behind it as a representation of your qualifications and fit for the role. It is unlikely that the raw output from today’s generative AI tools will meet that requirement without review and edits, even if you decide it would be ethical.
Using AI tools for code creation during the job interview process can be a helpful way to demonstrate your technical skills and impress potential employers. However, it’s important to consider the rules and expectations around using AI in this context. If you are asked to present code that you were responsible for creating and deploying, it may be acceptable to present code that was generated or assisted by AI if you genuinely did use an AI tool to help generate the code you deployed. However, if you are asked to code something yourself on the spot, it's important to proactively clarify the rules around using AI or other resources. Is the focus on creating code that works via any means, or is the emphasis on showing how you can personally execute the coding process?It's also worth considering the similarities with BI tools, which have been generating SQL code based on point and click input for years without controversy. Nobody would say that you didn’t create the report even though you didn’t necessarily generate the SQL itself. Ultimately, it's important to remember that you will still need to be able to validate and debug AI generated code yourself, so it’s crucial to have a strong understanding of coding. Use generative AI tools as a productivity enhancer, not as a way to avoid needing coding skills, and be transparent about your use of them.
Using AI tools during the job search process, such as for resume and cover letter writing or code generation, can be a helpful way to save time and improve the quality of your application materials. However, it's important to use these tools responsibly and be intentional about the rules and purpose of their use. Also, when using AI to assist with written materials, make sure to review the final product carefully to ensure that it accurately reflects your experiences and skills. For code generation, be proactive about clarifying the rules and expectations around using AI or other resources. Remember that you are still putting your name on the final product, so it's important to own it and feel confident in the work you are presenting. It is also important to have confidence that you generated the content in an ethical manner.This post was developed with input from Bill Franks, internationally recognized thought leader, speaker, and author focused on data science & analytics.