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What are the ethics of using AI in job applications?

14 replies

RoboBop · 24/01/2024 12:49

Let me start by saying I am NOT going to do this as I am confident in my ability to do this task well without AI and would be too paranoid about the employer having tools to check whether you've used AI.

But as part of a recruitment process I've been invited to take a 3-hour online assessment that involves researching something and putting together a presentation.

It feels like we're in a bit of a twilight zone atm with AI: it can actually do a damn good job with a lot of things and save masses amount of time (obviously with a human honing it), yet its still somehow considered a bit of a "dirty word".

I guess universities must already be dealing with this with student assessments. Ultimately if AI is a good tool, then why would it be considered bad to show you can use it appropriately? Also, aren't employers already using AI themselves in processing applications? What do you reckon? Part of me thinks it's "cheating", but then part of me also thinks isn't it kind of like forcing people to write by hand when we now have word processors?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

13 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
VeryUninspired · 24/01/2024 12:50

I think AI is fine to use for this purpose, eg give you an outline of a presentation, but remember it can be wrong, so if you want to use it make sure you’re qualified to check it!

joelmillersbackpack · 24/01/2024 12:52

I also think this is fine as long as you have a knowledge to check it over and amend before submission. It can be wrong and the language can also sound quite robotic which gives away the game straight away.

FucksSakeSusan · 24/01/2024 12:53

AI is brilliant for giving you a starting point. I hate staring at a blank page. Just make sure you fact check everything and edit it to be in your own voice. So I'd say YABU to just generate it with AI but YANBU to use AI to help you with making it.

OchonAgusOchonOh · 24/01/2024 13:02

It depends on the task and the level of detail required. Generative AI tends to be quite superficial and vague, and is frequently wrong. It also makes references up.

I would say if it's a topic you're familiar with so can recognise incorrect information and are planning on using it as a starting point to guide proper research, fire ahead.

If it's a topic you're not familiar with, I would be more cautious. You can still use it as a starting point but you will need to confirm accuracy etc.

I'm an academic and have been dealing with a lot of generative AI recently. The cases I'm dealing with are obviously AI. The symptoms are writing style, relevance, vagueness etc. Of course there are presumably loads of students using it intelligently and tbh, I can't get terribly excited by that.

Trivium4all · 24/01/2024 13:03

What I tell my students is that sure, AI can maybe save time, but only if you know how to do the thing in the first place, so that you are then competent to edit it. Unfortunately, that means practising how to do the thing yourself first, many times. One can't put things "into one's own words" before having developed a personal style. I'm also seeing more and more university students revert to using paper and pen, as they feel the haptic sense of writing with traditional materials, as well as their image of where and how things are located on the page, influence their memory.

The problem to me is not so much ethical, as that I think it's ultimately to the disadvantage especially of the inexperienced user, in the long term.

Ifailed · 24/01/2024 13:04

I remember working on some pretty basic s/w for a recruitment agency in the early 80s, it basically searched for keywords in applicants CVs. The owners of the Agency was very pleased and claimed in was over 90% for his purposes.

Speraides · 24/01/2024 13:05

What they don’t know doesn’t hurt them. In fact you’re probably at a disadvantage if you don’t use it, because others certainly will.

commonground · 24/01/2024 13:10

Our uni is taking a pragmatic approach - actually gives students information on how to use AI successfully and appropriately. So it is not always a no-go. However, as pp say, it's great for planning but not so good at the detail. This is especially true of the 3.5 version (which also makes up references which sound plausible but are total fiction).

So using it as scaffolding can be perfectly fine I think, as long as you flesh it out with your own research.

lieselotte · 24/01/2024 13:18

The main thing is to check output.

But ethics - meh. The company will use AI tools as part of its recruitment processes. It works both ways.

Haydenn · 24/01/2024 13:41

Your prompts need to be good and non biased, and you need to know enough to fact check what it spits out. But I would absolutely use it. It’s just a tool- you wouldn’t think using PowerPoint to create the presentation or googling answers or content was cheating.

as part of my job we are expected to use AI to free up time for other tasks- I would just see it as showing off my skills

equinoxprocess · 24/01/2024 13:43

then why would it be considered bad to show you can use it appropriately?

That's not what they're asking you to do and you know it. And by the sounds of your post you have no intention of presenting it as "look what AI" did for me, which is deception.

senua · 24/01/2024 13:50

This is especially true of the 3.5 version (which also makes up references which sound plausible but are total fiction).
I heard it described the other day as "hallucinogenic".

Wow! It's actually the third definition of the word on wiktionary: "a confident but incorrect response given by an artificial intelligence." Does that prove how commonplace it is!?Shock

BlackForestCake · 24/01/2024 14:19

It's no different from using Google to translate something from a language you don't understand. It's a tool that takes away some of the tedious and repetitive work.

Just never send it off without checking and rewriting where needed.

I wouldn't state that I'd used AI to generate an outline, any more than I'd state that I'd copied and pasted my answers from a previous job application.

That all gives me more time to concentrate on the important stuff.

HeadNorth · 24/01/2024 15:08

It can be a useful tool if you understand its limitations. Universities have not banned its use as it would be like trying to ban paper when that first came in. The focus is on students being digitally savvy and understanding its appropriate application and limitations. The information it provides is not accurate so everything has to be fact checked, but it can provide a starting point.

One of children works in tech and she would always use AI for the first draft of a cover letter - that is just automatic to her, no big issue, not moral concerns, it is what you do. Then you refine and hone. It is a freely available tool, so why make your life harder?

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