HR might not be able to detect a résumé written by ChatGPT. That could be a problem

February 1, 2023, 1:07 PM UTC
Chatbot illustration
ChatGPT can assist applicants in writing résumés and cover letters.
Getty Images

Good morning!

Today, we’re continuing the conversation about ChatGPT’s impact on HR. Last week, Fortune’s Paolo Confino dove into how the technology could take over some of the most menial HR tasks, like writing job descriptions or running compensation audits. How job candidates might use the tool, and the employer impact, provides another interesting viewpoint.

The most obvious use case for applicants is executing odious tasks like résumé writing. So I took it upon myself to experiment with that.

The bottom line is that while employers almost certainly won’t encourage or want candidates to use ChatGPT to create a résumé, applicants likely will due to the sheer ease and access of the platform. It took me less than five minutes to answer a few automated prompts from the chatbot, which then spit out a sample résumé. Here’s how it works.

Once a person signs up for a free ChatGPT account via the OpenAI site, they can ask any question their heart desires. I tapped out a simple query: “Can you write my job résumé?” The response was instantaneous. The chatbot agreed that it could help me, but much like a stern tutor, it made it clear that it would not do all the work for me.

After I agreed with the recommendations, the chatbot asked me to provide some basic information such as work experience, education, skills, and other relevant details I would like to include on my résumé. “Please provide me with that information, and I’ll do my best to help you create a strong and effective résumé,” responded my new bot friend. I responded with seven basic lines about myself:

B.A. in English and Journalism from Wake Forest University 

M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University

Reporter at the Wall Street Journal 

Reporter at Protocol

Senior Writer at Fortune

Pulitzer Prize Finalist

Charlotte, N.C.

Seconds later, I received a fully drafted résumé. The A.I. intuited my skill set and years of work based on my listed experience. But what surprised me most was that the technology took several creative liberties, embellishing and padding my résumé to provide examples of what else I could add to my curriculum vitae. After all, the résumé it produced is only supposed to be a sample, providing suggestions for language and structure based on the information I input. Now, let me answer the question you all want to know: How well-written is the résumé? It would be difficult for most HR leaders to know an A.I. chatbot authored it and even harder to prove.

Though some have criticized the technology for providing stilted or robotic-sounding language, it was almost imperceptible that a robot had written my résumé. What that means for HR leaders is they’ll have to scrutinize provided résumés as the technology becomes more widespread. Or, they’ll have to place less emphasis on the résumé to determine an applicant’s potential to succeed in a given role.

In a matter of minutes, I had a shiny new résumé that displayed my journalistic chops while falsely stating that I had been named among Forbes 30 Under 30 in Journalism in 2020. It also stated I was the winner of the George Polk Award for Business Reporting in 2018, and according to ChatGPT, I’m fluent in Spanish. While I found the results to be both awe-inspiring and slightly comedic, for employers, there’s a more sober takeaway.

ChatGPT might help reduce the time it takes applicants to apply for jobs in the future, but HR professionals will need to spend more time reviewing and vetting résumés as technology grows more advanced.

ChatGPT resume

Amber Burton

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This is the web version of CHRO Daily, a newsletter focusing on helping HR executives navigate the needs of the workplace. Today’s edition was curated by Paolo Confino. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

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