Employer says he caught candidate applying with a ChatGPT cover letter

  • Mandy Tang said a candidate applied for a role with an AI-generated cover letter.
  • Tang said she is not against technology, but was shocked by the letter’s lack of personal information.
  • One recruiting expert told Insider that AI-generated letters are already becoming easier to spot.

Mandy Tang, a career coach and business owner, said she received an application for a part-time job as a resume writer about five minutes after posting the job on UpWork.

Although she hadn’t asked for a cover letter, the job seeker sent her one. At first glance they looked perfect.

“The letter was really well written, incredibly well written, and it had literally everything I wanted,” Tang told Insider. “But then I looked more closely and realized it was just a copy and paste of everything I had put in the job description.”

She noted that the letter seemed to draw on some of her own experience: “There was a part in the job description where I had said things like, ‘I’ve run a business for five years,’ and then the cover letter also said, ‘I have a business. five years now”.

Tang said she had heard of job seekers using OpenAI’s ChatGPT and suspected the letter might have been generated by AI. She asked the chatbot to write her a cover letter based on the job description, and the results were “word for word the same.”

Based on her findings, Tang believed that the candidate had posted the job description through ChatGPT. “I just thought it was wild,” he said.

Tang said she didn’t disagree with job seekers using technology in general, but was shocked that the candidate didn’t appear to edit the letter or add much personal information.

When tested by Insider, a popular AI detector concluded that the text was “likely” written by an AI. OpenAI’s artificial intelligence classifier said the text was “probably” generated by artificial intelligence.

Tang did not follow up with the candidate, citing the nature of the role, lack of personal information and language that closely mimicked the job description.

“I thought I’d answer them,” he said. “But I just went ahead and hired three really great people who were really qualified — that person was probably qualified as well, but I wouldn’t know it from the cover letter.”

Tang documented her experience in a TikTok clip, which has attracted more than 1.8 million views.

ChatGPT has proven popular with job seekers for its ability to write cover letters, with many users showing off the results on TikTok. Recruiters told Insider that while some AI-generated letters could pass for real candidates, they tended to lack personality.

However, job seekers may soon be deterred from using the technology. Robert Boersma, vice president of operations at Talent.com, said the letters are already easier to spot.

“If your cover letter uses technical words, broad statements that lack depth and personality, is structurally sound but lacks small details, it’s very likely that the recruiter will be able to tell that it’s an AI-generated cover letter,” he said. . .

As AI platforms gain popularity, there is also an increased likelihood that candidates will create letters with the same structures, Boersma said. Recruiters can easily use tools that check for the presence of artificial intelligence, and candidates who get caught risk losing their jobs for lack of effort, he added.

Candidates also risk being misrepresented if they rely too much on artificial intelligence. “Because these tools compose responses based on the information provided, it’s possible that the text generated aligns with the job description but not with your personal values ​​and beliefs,” Boersma said.

As for Tang, she encouraged candidates to use them as a starting point.

“Make sure you’ve got your personal information together,” he said. “You have to fix it and you have to use it as a base, you can’t just copy and paste it.”

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