How AI Can Help Write Job Descriptions
#evolve Magazine
November 20, 2023

Executives are generally optimistic about the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) to help employees perform various functions more effectively and efficiently, and writing job descriptions is one area within HR where the technology is taking root.

According to a LinkedIn report released in August, 44% of executives plan to increase their use of AI in the next year and 47% believe it will increase productivity. 

Since finding top talent is a pain point for many employers these days, exploring how generative AI can aid in the recruitment process seems a natural step. In fact, 80% global HR professionals believe that AI will be a tool to help them with their work over the next five years. With respect to writing job descriptions, the expectation is that the technology will be able to produce higher-quality descriptions in a shorter amount of time, making the overall process more efficient and yielding better hires.

Jason Walker, co-founder of Thrive HR Consulting, said another reason why it makes sense to delegate the task to AI is because most people dislike writing job descriptions.

So, all things considered, “It's one of those processes that is perfectly suited for AI,” he said.

But experts say it’s also important to use the technology responsibly and be aware of potential pitfalls.

Benefits of AI-Assisted Job Descriptions

Theresa Fesinstine, who works with organizations to evaluate and implement AI solutions at peoplepower.ai, said creating job descriptions from scratch can be very time-consuming. HR leaders or others putting the descriptions together often turn to Google and other search engines to find similar job descriptions.

“I think where generative AI comes in to support that effort is it just synthesizes so quickly,” she said. “Siphoning through and consolidation with AI is just a massive timesaver…At its core, it employs techniques from [natural language processing] and machine learning to analyze the language used in existing job postings and has the ability to generate new ones that are optimized for specific roles and industries.”

Kolby Goodman, career coach and candidate experience expert at The Job Huntr, added that because AI is great at streamlining data collection related to job titles, skills, keywords, salary and other relevant job information, job postings can be created with better accuracy.

“AI can also leverage natural language processing to craft engaging job posting language to help attract more qualified candidates, stand out from other similar roles, and increase the volume and quality of applicants,” Goodman added.

How the Process Works

Lehua Stonebraker, SVP of People at SmartRecruiters, said she likes to think of AI as a recruitment co-pilot. For example, it takes basic information about the job (title, level, location, specific qualifications) and collects data from sources, such as existing job descriptions, candidate profiles and company information, to identify the skills necessary for the role.

“Using all those inputs, it generates a draft job description that can be used as-is or refined to the level of specificity needed,” she said.

As a small-business owner and the main recruiter for his dietary supplements business, Balance Supplements, James Wilkinson regularly turns to AI to help him formulate job descriptions when hiring members of his team. Recently, he used the technology to write a description for a social media manager by training the AI tool to generate a tailored job description that met their criteria within minutes instead of the traditional timeline of days or even weeks.

To make the description as accurate and as inclusive as possible, Wilkinson said he inputted data such as the job title, salary range, location (remote, hybrid, in-person), skills needed (both hard and soft skills), salary ranges, contract duration, the role’s direct reports and supervisors, and experience (if required). He noted by feeding the AI tool previous successful job descriptions, as well as job descriptions from their competitors, it can learn and replicate the company’s tone, values and industry standards in its output.

Once a job description is generated by AI, Wilkinson said, making sure a human reads it over before it is posted is essential. “It ensures that the job description not only attracts suitable candidates but also represents the company in the best possible light,” he explained.

So far, Wilkinson has been pleased with the results. “By leveraging these technologies, I have been able to identify highly skilled professionals who possess the exact expertise needed for these positions,” he said. “This approach has not only saved us on recruitment expenses but also ensured that we have individuals who are well-versed in navigating the ever-changing world of digital marketing and providing exceptional customer service.”

Potential Challenges

Reynaldo Ramirez, another co-founder at Thrive HR Consulting, said that when his firm’s consultants speak with HR professionals, they stress the importance of putting a human touch on an AI-assisted job descriptions.

“Make sure that you're really testing it and not just copying and pasting and sending it out,” he said. “It has to be curated and reviewed.”

For example, the job description should also include information about the company, its culture, pay, benefits and work schedule. If not, the lack of information could cause the open role to be passed over by qualified candidates, Ramirez said.

Fesinstine said if you don't review the information and use the right queries to elicit useful and accurate responses from AI models, there may be biases that are discriminatory or perpetuate existing prejudices.

“It may be important for companies to use specific requests in their prompt to ensure that the language is unbiased,” she said. “Ensure that the language used speaks to a diverse population. They might need to use specific prompts to ensure that what comes out of that job description is more targeted from a language standpoint to a more diverse group of potential employees.”

The Future of AI and Recruitment

Matt Spencer of Suited, an AI recruiting platform for professional services, said the evolution of generative AI tools presents interesting opportunities for further enhancement of recruiting strategies.

“Significant efficiencies can be achieved using these tools, in particular for lower-value tasks such as writing job descriptions and offer letters, but also in higher-level communications with candidates,” he said. “Advanced chatbots leveraging generative AI may enable firms to efficiently perform tasks like answering candidate questions, scheduling interviews and drafting other documents required during a recruitment process.”

Another evolution could include AI listening to interviews to help evaluate candidate responses, suggesting interview questions based on those responses, and ultimately providing feedback on both a candidate’s potential and the interviewer's effectiveness and/or appropriateness.

But, he cautioned, the training data used to develop the tool and the results produced should be carefully monitored and tested for potential biases that may be present. In addition, employers will need to stay up to date on applicable laws. Last month, President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at managing the risks of using AI including in the workplace.

Despite the challenges inherent in using AI for recruitment tasks, Spencer believes there’s a tremendous upside. “AI, regardless of type, can create significant value in a recruitment process, but companies must be aware of and mitigate the potential pitfalls, with the potential for bias in the underlying data on which they are trained chief among them,” he said. “However, with careful consideration and guidance by experts, these risks can be easily overcome.”

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