AI is widely used by job applicants, and hiring managers encourage it

January 28, 2024


A recent study by the popular design tool developers Canva and Sago, specializing in quantitative research, reveals that nearly half of job seekers use AI to enhance their resumes. 

This research, drawing on insights from 5,000 hiring managers and an equal number of job seekers across diverse global regions, including the US, UK, India, Germany, Spain, France, Mexico, and Brazil, found that 45% of applicants have utilized generative AI to craft, refine, or update their resumes. 

You might think recruiters take a dim view of such practices, but the research says otherwise. 

Acceptance of AI in the job application process is notably high, with 90% of hiring managers considering it appropriate and nearly half considering it to create content for the interview process.

Findings further illustrated a shift away from traditional text-only resumes, with 71% predicting the obsolescence of the typical CV in the next few years.

Amy Schultz, Canva’s global head of talent acquisition, emphasized the value of AI in the job-seeking process, stating to FOX Business, “We know that job seeking can be really hard, it can be really daunting, so if there’s something that can make you feel better about that experience, then I think that folks should lean into that.” 

AI is frequently called a democratizing technology because it equips millions of people with intuitive, intelligent tools for creative processes. 

The impacts are both positive and negative. Language models are excellent for non-English native speakers (or indeed anyone else) looking to improve their written communications, for example. Ensuring CVs, essays, etc., are of a high written standard encourages recruiters to focus on the applicant’s merit. 

On the other hand, you still have to pay for the best AI models like GPT-4, which can be prohibitive for some users.

In the wider recruiting landscape, there’s been a string of controversies surrounding recruiters’ use of AI, with automated resume-scanning tools being outed for bias and discrimination.

AI-enhanced resumes boost candidate success rates

Other research corroborates Canva and Sago’s findings. 

In 2023, Emma van Inwegen, an MIT Sloan Ph.D. candidate, and her colleagues found that job applicants who use AI to craft their resumes – specifically, tools enhancing spelling, grammar, and usage – stand an 8% better chance of securing employment

The investigation involved a comprehensive analysis of 480,948 newcomers to a global online labor marketplace from June to July 2021, encompassing a wide range of job categories from design and creative fields to software development. 

The study engaged a diverse group of participants from English and non-English-speaking countries. 

The experiment randomly divided applicants into two groups: one received algorithmic writing assistance, while the other proceeded without. 

Those who used AI or ‘algorithmic assistance’ – which could also include tools like Grammarly –  received 7.8% more job offers and commanded higher wages, averaging $18.62 per hour compared to $17.17.

Van Inwegen pointed out, “If you take two identical workers with the same skills and background, the one with the better-written resume is more likely to get hired.”

The research also delved into specific errors that deter employers, with spelling mistakes being a major red flag. Job seekers with nearly flawless spelling were significantly more likely to be hired than those with lower accuracy.

Interestingly, while certain writing errors were detrimental, the study found that “flowery language” was tolerated and often favored by employers.

Overall, these studies suggest AI can level the playing field for job seekers, particularly for non-native English speakers.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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