Generative AI tools like ChatGPT are already transforming HR and hiring practices, with the majority of Australian employers approving of its use by job seekers.

Since launching in November last year, ChatGPT and other generative artificial intelligence platforms have been embraced by Australian companies and employees alike as a way to streamline tasks and improve efficiency.

One area these tools have been utilised is in HR, with jobseekers and hirers using ChatGPT and other platforms to make this process easier, according to specialised recruiter Robert Half.

New research has found that more than half of the Australian employers surveyed are comfortable with prospective candidates using ChatGPT to craft resumes and cover letters. Less than 30 per cent of employers surveyed said it was somewhat or completely unacceptable to do this.

In terms of specific activities, just under 60 per cent of employers think it’s acceptable to use generative AI for emails and about 55 per cent were okay with using it for writing a resume or cover letter.

Just under half of those surveyed were fine with candidates using ChatGPT for completing writing samples and more than half were happy with it being used for technical evaluations.

Robert Half APAC senior managing director David Jones said the use of ChatGPT is a continuation of how people have used various technologies to apply for jobs more effectively.

“Job seekers have been using tools such as resume and cover letter builders, and spelling and grammar checkers for some time to make the application process easier and more efficient – and leveraging generative AI is the next step for many,” Jones said.

“Employers are largely onboard with candidates using generative AI to help craft their job application materials as innovation and adaptability become a core business focus. “Employers seek employees who do not fear the emerging new technology as it hints at a forward-thinking mindset and openness to leverage new capabilities.”

The research also found that companies are using generative AI technologies internally to improve their processes. According to the survey, 39 per cent of companies are using generative AI to automate IT support services, while 29 per cent are using it to produce financial reports and dashboards.

It’s also being used on both sides of the hiring process, with just under a third of companies surveyed using tools like ChatGPT to write job descriptions and about 30 per cent planning to use it for benchmarking compensation and benefits.

“Employers understand the rapid pace of technological change and do not want to be left behind,” Jones said.

“They realise the advantages and efficiencies generative AI can bring to their employees and the business.”

But the use of these tools in the workplace does come with substantial risk. Jones said it’s important that the content produced by something like ChatGPT is used only as the starting point for a candidate, rather than the final product to be submitted.

“From there, individuals must apply their expertise to customise the content with their unique selling points relevant to the role they’re applying for,” Jones said.

“Further, professionals need to be aware of the risks of relying on generative AI. When used irresponsibly, it can produce incorrect or misleading information while also leading to misunderstandings or misinterpretations.”

These risks have already eventuated, including when a lawyer in the US used ChatGPT for research, leading him to submit a number of “bogus” cases to the court during a case.

The federal government is also aware of these risks, recently warning public servants to not use ChatGPT to make decisions, write code or prepare tenders.

But the private sector in Australia seems to be embracing generative AI, with another recent study finding that local companies are more likely than those overseas to use tools like ChatGPT, recognising that they can improve efficiency, enhance creativity and improve their appeal to younger workers.