Will ChatGPT replace us as marketers and recruiters? Can it write better ads, blog posts and job descriptions? Are these the first early winds of a zombie apocalypse?
As a marketer, recruiter and marketing recruiter, I set out to answer these questions. Well, not the zombie one but these:
- Can GPT produce reliable results for everyday recruiting tasks?
- Will it ultimately put us out of business?
So we took in out for a test drive on 3 basic tasks we do all the time:
- Boolean Search Strings
- Blog Posts
Mind you, we’re only playing around on the free version, and just getting started. More ambitious lists have been written about how to use ChatGPT for talent acquisition, referenced at the bottom of this post.
If you were told to hunt a sasquatch, you wouldn’t run out into the snow and start hollering for one. That wouldn’t be the most fruitful approach. Instead, you’d ask for a picture and other details, start with some hypotheses about where they live and hang out, read about their daily activities, e.g. My sasquatch is white and lives in Wyoming. Is yours?
This research phase can be labor intensive, (though less if you hunt sasquatch all the time), so we gave it to GPT. For example, one of our recent searches involved finding a media relations specialist for a PR firm with clients in home design & decor.
We asked GPT: What are some public relations firms in New York city that handle art or interior design or design or home furnishings business?
And, in 3 seconds, GPT responded:
- KCD Worldwide: A full-service public relations and communications agency that specializes in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle clients.
- HL Group: A public relations, marketing, and communications agency that specializes in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle clients.
- Saffron Brand Consultants: A brand strategy, design and communications agency that specializes in home, luxury and design.
- Coyne PR: A full-service public relations agency that specializes in home, design and lifestyle clients.
- The Door: A full-service public relations agency that specializes in luxury and design clients.
- LFB Media Group: A full-service public relations agency that specializes in luxury and design clients.
- LaForce + Stevens: A full-service public relations agency that specializes in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle clients.
- Kravet PR: A full-service public relations agency that specializes in home, design and lifestyle clients.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and it’s always good to do your own research as well.
Some of these firms were on our list too, but others were dead ends (based in Madrid, acquired, etc.), and many other obvious choices were missing. We’ve tried this with several other searches, each time getting more specific with our question, e.g. What are the largest subscription-based companies located in NYC? In general, results were a bit more focused than Google, but not as qualified as building the lists ourselves. NTL, a good jumping off point especially if your research team is starting from scratch.
Writing Boolean Search Strings
Just as a librarian can locate an arcane nonfiction book with only a few keywords, a seasoned recruiter knows how to coax the best results from LinkedIn.
Let’s see if GPT is up for the challenge. We’re looking for a sales exec adept at selling ecommerce solutions that has also partnered with Salesforce on co-selling opportunities.
First we asked GPT for a list top implementation partners for Salesforce Commerce:
As of my knowledge cutoff date (2021-09), Salesforce’s top implementation partners for ecommerce were Accenture, Deloitte, Capgemini, and Wipro. However, it’s important to note that this information may have changed since then.
Then, we asked it to write a search string to include those companies.
(“sales account executive” OR “account executive” OR “account manager”) AND (salesforce OR “salesforce.com”) AND (ecommerce OR “e-commerce” OR “online retail” OR “digital retail”) AND (Accenture OR Deloitte OR Capgemini OR Wipro)
Left as is, this is not useful. LinkedIn will return 4K+ results. Add location, other titles for sales and words for commerce. Blow out the list of target companies. Refine the Salesforce connection. The trick is to train GPT to think like a recruiter. For example, Can you show it a bunch of qualified profiles and have it run a lookalike search with better results than LinkedIn’s lookalike search? Lift key phrases from the top profiles and embed them in the search string?
Call me old-fashioned or masochistic, but I still write our blog posts. Maybe the better word is control freak. But it’s a form of branding so it’s important to get right.
I asked GPT to write a short article about top trends in recruiting and hiring, and like a dutiful student it replied:
The top trends in hiring and recruiting include the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the growing importance of employer branding, the shift towards remote and flexible working, and the use of social media and other digital platforms for recruiting.
AI and machine learning are being used to automate and streamline the recruitment process, from resume screening to interview scheduling. This helps to save time and resources for both the employer and the candidate.
Employer branding has become increasingly important as job seekers are more likely to apply to companies that have a strong reputation and positive employer brand. This means that companies are investing more in building and promoting their brand to attract top talent.
The shift towards remote and flexible working has accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is expected that many companies will continue to offer these options even after the pandemic subsides. This allows companies to attract talent from a wider pool and also makes it easier to retain employees.
Finally, social media and other digital platforms are becoming increasingly popular for recruiting, as they allow employers to reach a wider audience and also to target specific groups of candidates. This can include using social media to promote job openings, as well as using platforms like LinkedIn to search for and connect with potential candidates.
Now, is there anything wrong with this? Factually it’s on target, even if it reads like a Wikipedia entry.
Still, I cringe at a world filled with writing like this. Like information overload by rice cake. You’re ingesting food, but it tastes like nothing. It’s pleasant, but upon examination, devoid of substance.
Half the joy of reading is the personality of the author, all that is indulgent or delicious about their tone and word choice. GPT can be friendly, ebullient, even cheeky sometimes, but I won’t be giving it writing assignments any time soon. If I were a college student that needed to write about female archetypes in Hedda Gabler, I might ask GPT what it thought, as many college students do.
GPT isn’t bad for fluffing up job descriptions to make them more compelling to jobseekers and less like recipes. It made my outreach emails much too long and same sounding, e.g. I reviewed your profile and must say I’m very impressed with your credentials. Barf. I would not use GPT for employer branding. I asked it to give me 5 benefits about working for Company X, hoping it would pull from current news, growth details, etc. But it gave me some very generic bullets about benefits and culture that could be true of any company.
GPT can’t replace recruiters, marketers or writers, any more than Alexa can clean my house. But it’s certainly worth experimenting with repetitive or mundane tasks to free up our time for more complex stuff… and interactions with other humans!
It’s a good tool to teach management, as well as how to structure your questions and thoughts. After all, garbage in, garbage out. GPT helped me think through everyday tasks and figure out what can be outsourced, plus the level of input required to get the best results. As managers, it always works out better if we set some parameters up front.
For those interested in going down the GPT rabbit hole, here’s a free download that will blow your mind. And make you believe in zombies.
Are you down with GPT? Yeah, you know me. Speak up if you’re using it. We’d love to compare notes.