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a blog by Chris Barrow

What are you supposed to do when someone uses ChatGPT to fill in their job application?

My first example yesterday of a job application (by a dental nurse) in which the answers to questions were quite obviously written by ChatGPT.

The basic data - name, address, career history - obviously genuine.

The questions around expectations in the workplace and understanding of the role, blatantly obviously A.I. generated by reference to the content and the prose.

Two questions arise:

  1. What is a prospective Employer supposed to do next?

  2. Where does this lead us?

This isn't just me banging that old drum about "Employment Law being a minefield", but speculation as to what effect technology like A.I. will have on Employer's and employee's rights going forward?

My client asked me for an opinion on what to do next, so, feeling mischievous, I typed into ChatGPT:

"Please write a response to a dental nurse who has cheated on her application by using ChatGPT to answer the questions."

And the answer I received:

"Dear [Dental Nurse's Name],

Thank you for submitting your application for the Dental Nurse position at our practice. We have reviewed your responses and credentials with great interest. However, it has come to our attention that there might have been an unethical utilisation of technology, specifically ChatGPT, to assist you in answering the questions on your application.

We highly value integrity, honesty, and ethical behavior among our team members. Trust and professional ethics are paramount in ensuring a healthy working environment and maintaining the excellent reputation of our practice. Using external help or automated systems, like ChatGPT, to respond to application questions undermines the sincerity and authenticity of the application process.

We understand that applicants might seek various resources for guidance or reference while applying. However, it is imperative that the responses provided are genuine, original, and a true representation of one's knowledge and abilities.

We encourage you to respond to this message and share your perspective on the matter. If you used ChatGPT or similar tools merely as a guide or to gather information, kindly provide clarification regarding the same. If, on the other hand, the answers were directly used from the tool without your personal input or adaptation, we appreciate your honesty in acknowledging this.

If it is the latter, we would like to inform you that employing unfair means in the application process disqualifies your application from further consideration. However, if there has been a misunderstanding, we are open to discussing the matter further and providing a platform for clarification.

We anticipate your cooperation and honesty in resolving this matter. Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely, [Your Full Name] [Your Position]"

ChatGPT then goes on to advise:

"Note: It is crucial to handle such sensitive matters with utmost care, ensuring that you provide a safe space for the applicant to respond and explain their actions while maintaining the integrity of the hiring process. It's also vital to ensure that any communications or actions comply with local laws and regulations concerning hiring practices."

Please may I remind you that all of the above has been generated by ChatGPT and does not represent legal opinion or professional advice on how you might respond to a similar event.

Perhaps if there are any HR people reading this blog, they may want to offer their own comments?

ChatGPT has been an amusing toy to play with in recent months, composing poems in the style of Shakespeare and other flipperies.

However, when it comes to serious interactions such as a job application, it is worrying that, as the technology evolves, it may become much harder to spot when you are choosing relationships with employees, self-employed clinicians, suppliers and others.

I wonder how long it will be before A.I. allows us to cheat on a psychometric profile?

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