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Are AI-Generated Resumes a Problem?

ai-generated resumes

A new study shows 42% of workers would consider using AI-generated resumes for job applications. When does that become a problem, and how can you detect it?

You may not like the idea of AI-generated resumes infiltrating your candidate submissions, but let’s examine the real problems: truthfulness and accuracy. A UK staffing agency decided to test ChatGPT-generated CVs. They were astonished that the AI made an average of 14 embellishments per CV, “with changes ranging from slight rewordings to substantial additions in skills and experiences.”

It’s an issue we’ve covered in the past. Generative AI will be the first to tell you it can’t be trusted to tell the truth (ChatGPT includes routine disclaimers in its results). The technology can suffer from AI hallucinations, outputs IBM calls nonsensical or altogether inaccurate. Well, yikes. That’s not good.

It’s an issue our recruiters have noticed as well. While most job candidates will take time to correct blatant errors, our recruiters have learned to look for more subtle inaccuracies within AI-generated resumes. Most notably, work timeframes and education dates somehow get misconstrued when being pulled from LinkedIn into a resume format.

But that doesn’t mean all AI-generated resumes should be trashed. We encourage job seekers to utilize the latest and greatest technology to help in their job search wherever it makes sense. Look at our post Using AI Tools in Your Job Search for examples of how we do this. AI can help candidates identify careers that fit their skills and interests, prepare for interviews, and even nail their resume and cover letter. But, we offer caution.

“We don’t recommend relying on AI to write your resume or cover letter entirely (we experimented with that, and the results were abysmal), but it can be a great assistant,” we write. “Programs like Grammarly can help you avoid the humiliation of spelling and grammar mistakes and give you feedback on how the sentiment in your cover letter and emails come across (smart and professional versus curt and unsure, for instance). For hitting the right notes with your resume, Jobscan includes its match-rate calculator and keyword comparison tools in its free version to review how well your resume aligns with the job you’re applying for word-for-word.”

Again, what it comes down to is truthfulness and accuracy. If a candidate overly trusts AI-generated resumes without proofreading and overlooks those two factors, you have a problem. But also remember that these issues are timeless. AI didn’t create them. We reported back in 2015 that 7 in 10 employers spend less than five minutes reviewing a resume, and more than half have caught a lie. Most lies involved fictitious skill sets (62%), more than half included embellished responsibilities, and nearly 40% included misrepresented dates of employment. Phony job titles (31%) and academic degrees (28%) rounded out the list. By 2019—still ahead of the AI boom—up to 85% of employers reported catching applicants lying on their resumes or applications.

AI can be an excellent tool for improving accuracy, speed, and presentation. But what should you do if you discover its use may have resulted in lies? You could confront the candidate or have your recruiter do so. It’s possible in this world of AI-generated resumes that a job seeker is unaware that the tools they thought were useful embellished the truth on their behalf. One of the easiest ways to spot inconsistencies is to compare the person’s resume with their LinkedIn profile.

A giant transgression—like a degree they never received or a job they never had—is, of course, a red flag. But consider the severity of “little white lies” like extending employment dates by a few months. After all, 36% of hiring managers admit to lying TO CANDIDATES during the hiring process. Ensure you’re holding yourself to the standards you set for job candidates.

AI-generated resumes aren’t the problem. The real issue is whether you can trust the information in those resumes. If the resume is filled with inaccurate information, that’s a problem, AI-generated or not.