Artificial intelligence (AI ) should not be seen as a substitute for human intelligence they say. But then, it is definitely a tool to amplify human creativity and cleverness. In today’s competitive job market, technology is transforming recruitment through AI. This involves using automation and machine learning to enhance hiring processes. But if AI is clever, so are candidates who are also now using AI tools to improve their resumes, excel in interview simulations and optimise their overall success strategies. It’s an intriguing blend of human drive and AI, blurring the line between applicants and algorithms. Candidates applying for the post of data analyst, for instance, are increasingly using AI-powered analytics tools to efficiently clean and analyse data sets, thereby improving their performance on AI-based recruitment tests.
Mukul Harish Chopra, CHRO, ConveGenius, explains, “AI’s role in hiring is currently a two-way street, where companies use AI for recruitment, but candidates also employ AI to navigate AI-driven tests and assessments.”
“One of the strategies employed by candidates involves harnessing the power of AI, including platforms such as ChatGPT, to enhance their job applications. They utilise AI to craft polished resumes and construct responses to questions or assessments administered online”
Ramesh Shankar, senior HR leader and former head – HR, Siemens
Citing an example of how candidates use AI to their advantage and fool interviews, Chopra says, “During a virtual interview, a candidate may subtly request a question repetition or seek clarification, buying valuable time to access AI-driven resources for answers.”
He also explains how candidates are empowering themselves with AI to prepare thoroughly in advance. “With AI-powered tools, candidates can anticipate questions and have responses readily available. This proactive approach can give the impression of exceptional preparedness during interviews,” enunciates
Ramesh Shankar, senior HR leader and former head – HR, Siemens says, “One of the strategies employed by candidates involves harnessing the power of AI, including platforms such as ChatGPT, to enhance their job applications. They utilise AI to craft polished resumes and construct responses to questions or assessments administered online.”
Shankar shares, “When creating resumes, candidates often turn to AI-driven tools to generate content that showcases their qualifications and experiences in the most appealing manner. These AI-generated resumes often employ industry-specific keywords and formatting techniques to increase their chances of passing through automated screening processes.”
Additionally candidates have also started using AI to craft responses that not only align with the job requirements but also optimise their chances of success. “This is particularly relevant when it comes to psychometric assessments, where AI can assist candidates in formulating answers that closely match the desired psychological profile sought by employers,” observes Shankar.
Sumal Abraham Varghese, general manager- HR and operations, TVS Mobility, agrees that AI-driven recruitment definitely raises the question whether utilising AI for candidate evaluation is advantageous or detrimental.
He feels that “this emerging trend offers several potential benefits, especially from an organisational standpoint.” Varghese enumerates, “AI tools can analyse not just qualifications but also factors such as body language during interviews, adding another layer of data for assessment. This can be valuable for employers facing challenges in finding suitable candidates.”
“With AI-powered tools, candidates can anticipate questions and have responses readily available. This proactive approach can give the impression of exceptional preparedness during interviews”
Mukul Harish Chopra, CHRO, ConveGenius
Shailesh Singh, CHRO, Max Life Insurance, is of the opinion that candidates using AI to enhance their preparation for screening and interviews is understandable. On the other side of the spectrum, employers are also leveraging AI to smartly design questions that actually test the intelligence of the candidates and the application of the knowledge they possess. After all, candidates cannot prepare answers to questions that can only be answered from practical experience.
When it comes to decision-making, Singh emphasises that the essence of human judgement, leadership acumen and the ability to adapt to dynamic situations are challenging for AI to replicate in the short term. So, interviewers in the future may have to pose questions that require “a blend of human intelligence and leadership skills” to answer effectively. “A candidate who possesses these abilities can be a right choice as these abilities complemented by AI tools may be the only right way forward, according to Singh. This combination allows employers to make well-informed decisions while also maintaining the authenticity and depth of human interactions,” explains Singh.
Candidates are becoming increasingly savvy at identifying the keywords and phrases that AI systems are designed to detect. Like Shankar pointed out earlier, by integrating these keywords into their responses or résumés, candidates can increase their chances of passing the initial screening. For instance, if a job posting emphasises ‘team collaboration’, candidates may ensure their résumés and interview responses highlight their collaborative skills.
Several companies and platforms offer AI interview-practice tools that simulate real AI-based interviews. Candidates can use these tools to gain familiarity with the technology and better understand how to respond to questions. They can learn to optimise their answers for AI algorithms, improving their chances of success during actual interviews.
AI-based interviews often include emotion-recognition technology that analyses candidates’ facial expressions and body language. Some candidates have attempted to manipulate these systems by consciously controlling their facial expressions or using subtle gestures to convey desired emotions. This can make them appear more confident or enthusiastic, potentially improving their chances of success.
“A candidate who possesses these abilities can be a right choice as these abilities complemented by AI tools may be the only right way forward”
Shailesh Singh, CHRO, Max Life Insurance
Candidates have also started reverse engineering AI systems by studying their behaviour. By gaining insight into how these algorithms work, they can craft responses that align with the system’s expectations. For instance, if they discover that an AI tool favours longer answers, candidates may provide more detailed responses to increase their chances of being selected.
Ethical considerations: While candidates’ strategies to navigate AI-based interviews are innovative, they raise ethical questions. It’s essential to strike a balance between using technology to gain an advantage and maintaining honesty and transparency in the hiring process. Employers should be aware of these tactics and continuously update their AI systems to minimise manipulation.
Varghese warns, “Some candidates may try to tailor their responses to what they believe the AI is looking for, rather than providing genuine insights into their skills and abilities. This can undermine the goal of accurately assessing candidates’ problem-solving and decision-making abilities based on their responses.”
According to Chopra, “When it comes to distinguishing between candidates and assessing accuracy, AI merely automates what humans have done manually for years.”
“Some candidates may try to tailor their responses to what they believe the AI is looking for, rather than providing genuine insights into their skills and abilities”
Sumal Abraham Varghese, general manager- HR and operations, TVS Mobility
Moreover, AI may streamline initial screening, but it’s not foolproof, as candidates can still manipulate keywords and content to meet criteria. “The ultimate hiring decision still rests on human judgement. This is exemplified by past experiences, where even telephonic interviews were delegated to proxies, revealing loopholes,” opines Chopra.
Looks like it is time for recruiters and interviewers to think of techniques that will help identify genuine candidates who are suitable to fill roles — candidates who are actually knowledgeable and not trying to outwit smart AI-driving hiring processes using smarter AI tools.