Once upon a time, it was the neighbour or sister-in-law who checked – or even wrote – a candidate’s CV and motivation letter. Nowadays, applicants know that such help can also be found online, and they use AI en masse when applying for jobs. The trend is shifting towards not just composing motivation letters that are precisely aligned with the job position, company, and the expectations of the recruiter or hiring manager, but also in customizing one’s CV to fit the specific role perfectly in a specific ATS.
This practice is increasingly being adopted, with many applicants now utilizing these techniques.
By 2024, it is expected that the use of AI in job applications will become so widespread that it will be more unusual to find someone who isn’t using AI to enhance their job application.
We should especially embrace and give priority to someone who is good at prompt engineering .
Where perfect CVs and motivation letters used to be the exception rather than the rule, this will soon be the exact opposite. A candidate who does not use AI is therefore the exception. In fact, I can imagine that in most white collar professions the use of AI in an application process is more of a requirement and a skill, rather than being seen as ‘cheating’ any longer. After all, being able to work with AI ( prompt engineering ) is a skill that now makes people more valuable on the labor market, so we should especially embrace and give priority to someone who does that.
What is the current Value of a CV in today’s job market?
The critical question now arises: With the rise of AI, do CVs and motivation letters still hold predictive power and value? What could be the alternatives? Could we see a shift towards greater emphasis on networks, references, and work portfolios as primary evaluation tools? Why then do we continue to focus on CVs? And is this the extent of the change, or is there more to expect in the evolving job market?
The long-standing debate on the relevance of motivation letters has been largely settled
AI’s influence has reshaped how we view these letters. While candidates can claim they haven’t used AI in their applications, tools like Copyleaks, GPTZero, and Writer can verify the authenticity of their claim. Furthermore, new technologies have been developed to modify AI-generated content into original text, making it hard to distinguish if AI was used. Additionally, AI-driven platforms like SkillGPT are emerging, which efficiently match employers with potential employees, signalling a significant shift in how recruitment and job applications are conducted in the AI era.
The game shifts
It’s time to reconsider the relevance of motivation letters in the hiring process. Similarly, the traditional CV, primarily a chronological account of a candidate’s life and career, is losing its reliability and predictive value for effective candidate matching. As a result, recruiters and automated systems are now compelled to verify the accuracy and authenticity of CVs more rigorously. This involves employing reference checks and validation tools like Validata and Datachecker, or conducting broader social media vetting through platforms such as Fama.
The candidate has more degrees of freedom (such as: no GDPR) – and thus an advantage over the recruiter.
The value and dependence on good craftsmanship, good interviews and good assessments therefore only increases. However, candidates are not sitting idle here either… AI makes it possible to ask the right questions to recruiters, but also to give real-time suggestions to candidates when it comes to the right answers. In the same way, recruiters quickly become better interviewers with tools like In2Dialog and MetaView . The game is shifting, and the candidate has an advantage over the employer and recruiter with more degrees of freedom (such as: no GDPR).
Flood of fake applicants
There’s a notable issue in the recruitment world: the rise of fake job applicants. A growing problem in hiring is the ghosting or unresponsiveness of candidates, often blamed on Generation Z or the current tight labor market, or even ‘rage applying‘ – where individuals apply to numerous jobs impulsively. However, it’s possible that many of these applicants don’t actually exist. Employers globally are facing a barrage of applications from candidates with seemingly flawless profiles and CVs that turn out to be fake. This is likely to be linked to the CpA business model used by many job boards.
Sending fake job applications quickly yields several dollars per hour.
CpA, or “cost per application,” is a term used in employment advertising. It means that as an employer, you pay a fee for each job application or CV (resume) you receive from job seekers. When you create a recruitment campaign on large job boards or media platforms, they often give you an estimate of how many applications you can expect to receive. It’s crucial for these job boards to meet those expected numbers while maintaining the quality of the applications.
To achieve this, job boards employ various strategies. They not only invest in buying website traffic and clicks through Google but also increasingly acquire applications from intermediaries or aggregators. These intermediaries, in turn, may buy applications from other intermediaries, creating a chain of purchases.
In simple terms, job boards need to meet their application targets, and they do so by not only attracting applicants directly but also by purchasing applications through middlemen to ensure they have enough to fulfill their commitments.
The dark side of the CpA model
Imagine a scenario where the origin of job applications becomes unclear. Suddenly, you discover that many of these applications are from individuals in Asia who, with the help of AI, send out hundreds to thousands of fake profiles to job listings worldwide. For each application, they earn a few cents .
This situation is not far-fetched. There are entire buildings where people, sometimes under coercive conditions, spend their days submitting these applications. They apply to jobs from countries like Nigeria, Myanmar, or Cambodia.
This activity can generate several dollars per hour. When you consider this operation running 12 hours a day, six days a week, with thousands of people involved, the revenue can reach staggering amounts – approximately 2 million euros per week or 100 million per year! This isn’t fiction; it’s a real issue, akin to modern cyber slavery, revealing a darker aspect of the CpA model in the global job market.
Who dares to complain?
Job boards can fairly easily use a ‘line of defense’ to protect their customers from these types of fake applicants, for example by implementing a system of two-way authentication . But that is not good for the CpA business model. Because in the end they also make (good) money from these fake job applications. Better to have a few fake applications than no applications at all. And the first employer who dares to complain about this still has to report.
Better fake applications than no applications at all. And the first employer to complain about this still has to report.
With the speed at which AI is changing the playing field, the pressure in the system and scamming will continue to increase… Perhaps this is a great task for the ILO (International Labour Organisation) Recruiters United or the Recruiter Code to entice large job boards and social networks to start working on this. And we all know which parties I mean, since you also receive those CVs through them…
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