6 in 10 of HR Employees Think AI Can Help People Find Jobs

Finding the right job is difficult, and it often takes months of searching and applying to land on something that ends up being the right fit for both the job seeker and employee. This becomes even harder when you’re looking to make a serious career jump, as you often need time to develop a skill set and take courses to learn the things necessary to do the job.

What if artificial intelligence could take some of the work out of that process and advise job seekers on their path to finding the right role for them? FutureLearn did just that in a new study, which first prompted OpenAI’s text generator GPT-3 to recommend online courses to people looking to make a change in their career. Then, HR employees from a variety of industries were surveyed to get an idea of how useful and beneficial they thought the AI’s advice truly was.

Recommended Skills

In the study, the artificial intelligence recommended a variety of soft skills for job seekers that it decided would be useful for them to have. Some of those skills included problem-solving, interpersonal communication, self-motivation, time management, leadership, resilience, communication, and organizational abilities. The most important skill that the AI felt employees could have was communication, and the majority of HR employees surveyed (62%) agreed.

Fifty-six percent of HR employees said that self-motivation was a useful soft skill, while 53% said that problem-solving was beneficial. Overall, 52% agreed with interpersonal communication as a beneficial soft skill, followed by 47% who agreed on both critical thinking and time management, 41% agreeing with interpersonal sensitivity as a useful soft skill, and just 35% who felt leadership was a skill important for employees to possess.

AI Advice in Different Industries

FutureLearn examined the success of job advice that was generated by GPT-3, taking that advice and asking HR professionals whether they felt someone could get a job interview in their industry of choice using that guidance.

Based on the feedback from respondents, the best advice the AI gave was to those looking for jobs in the retail industry, with 90% of the AI’s advice being successful according to HR professionals in that field. Eighty-two percent of the AI’s advice was deemed successful by HR managers in the medical world, while 83% was seen as useful for those seeking a career in education. Just under 80% of the advice was successful for those in the arts, according to hiring managers, and 69% of AI-generated advice was successful for those entering the political arena.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the study was the breakdown of skills that GPT-3 recommended those in retail should hone in order to land the best job. More than 9 in 10 HR managers agreed that customer service was a top skill potential employees should master, while 91% agreed that it was important to be good at working on tight deadlines and under pressure. Nine in 10 also agreed that general communication was an important skill, 89% agreed with organization as crucial, and 89% agreed with the GPT-3 assessment that sales skills were essential.

Starting a career in medicine requires serious education but also some serious skill. What skills did the AI recommend, and did hiring managers agree with the AI’s perception that they’re important? Medical terminology was something that the AI recommended people master, and overwhelmingly, 88% of HR professionals agreed. Eighty-three percent said that anatomy and physiology were also important to master, while 80% agreed with CPR and first aid as essential skills.

Tech and Finance Skills

The tech and finance industries both require perhaps more specific, nuanced skills than some other industries, like retail and entertainment, might, so the AI’s recommended skills in those industries would require a solid understanding of what those industries entail. Generally speaking, GPT-3 seemed to get it right in the tech industry especially.

Eighty-one percent of hiring managers agreed with the AI that basic algorithms were important for job seekers to have a knowledge of in order to have success in the tech field. Data structures were agreed upon as crucial by 78%, while 77% concurred that algorithms on graphs were important for people to know, 76% agreed with machine learning as an important skill, and 73% endorsed statistics and probability knowledge. On average, 77% of hiring managers in the tech industry said that the AI’s skill recommendations were on par with what they look for in candidates.

Interestingly enough, 23% of hiring managers in the tech industry didn’t agree with the AI’s recommended skills, saying instead that coding, programming languages, and communication were all of more importance.

In the finance industry, the FutureLearn study noted that the AI didn’t quite nail it when it came to certain things that hiring managers look for – namely, specific training and education that lend itself to the industry. GPT-3 overlooked that but didn’t necessarily miss the mark with every recommended skill. Seventy-seven percent of hiring managers in the finance industry agreed with the AI’s assessment that communication was an important skill to master, while 76% agreed that experience and fluency with Microsoft Excel or similar spreadsheet software was crucial.

Other AI-suggested skills that hiring managers in the finance industry agreed with included teamwork (76%), PowerPoint and similar tools (74%), advanced financial modeling and data analysis (74%), strategic thinking (73%), data visualization (73%), understanding of markets and their importance (71%), and public speaking/presenting (69%).

The Future of Virtual Job Coaching

The study certainly showed AI’s potential to advise and guide job seekers on their path toward a viable career, despite HR professionals not agreeing with every skill that GPT-3 recommended. It remains to be seen how much AI might play a role in the future of job searching or whether the technology will be integrated at all as a tool for people looking to either jump-start their career or take a leap into a new one.

It’s particularly interesting, however, that soft skills are really of the utmost importance to hiring managers, as evidenced by the AI’s accuracy with recommending many of them to job seekers. What this demonstrates is that any potential employee would benefit from honing not just niche, concentrated skills that apply to the day to day of their specific field but also skills that apply generally to being a productive worker, a successful colleague, and a valuable employee on every level.
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