Jim Stroud

7 min read



How to Source Candidates with ChatGPT


It has been a while since a new technology has fascinated me as much as ChatGPT has. I don't know about you, but I can't seem to break away from it. Some people think I might have a problem, but I disagree. I can quit anytime I want to, I just don't want to.

ChatGPT is good for a lot of things, and one of those things is developing a sourcing strategy. I discovered this in a recent conversation with the AI. I began by asking where I could find software engineers, and it gave me several suggestions. Those suggestions were suggestions that I figured it would suggest, things like a job board, social media, referrals, recruitment agencies, meetups and conferences, online communities, university career centers, all good examples and something I came to expect. I thought it all was a good start, but I wanted to know what else it would offer up so I asked it a followup question: Where else can I go online to find them? Them, of course, referring to these software engineers that I'm looking to recruit. ChatGPT, as always, answers questions in the context of the conversation that is ongoing at the time.

Where was I? Yeah, where else can I go online to find them? Is what I asked ChatGPT. And it gave me eight more suggestions that I thought were just as conventional as the first set of ideas it offered up. It mentioned GitHub, Stack Overflow, it mentioned LinkedIn, TOPTUL, which is also a network of software engineers and developers. It mentioned other job boards like Hired and Dice, and it also mentioned Upwork, which is a freelance platform. All good ideas for a novice, but the competition for talent is fierce. Can I have an amen? I said to ChatGPT, "Give me 10 unlikely places I can find them that other recruiters may overlook." And the answers became more interesting. ChatGPT mentioned things like hackathons, online forums, gaming communities, open source projects, which I thought was pretty nice, free launch platforms, GitHub, meetup groups, LinkedIn groups, non-tech events, and so on.

Now, most of these are strategies that I've tried in the past, so I was not wowed, but I did like the direction that things were heading in so I kept pushing. I asked ChatGPT, "Give me 10 more ideas, but without mentioning anything you've already suggested," and it gave me 10 more suggestions. It talked about niche job boards, online coding boot camps, which is a good one, industry associations, coding challenges, Slack groups, webinars, GitHub, job listings, sneaky there, ChatGPT. I see you. You mentioned GitHub before, but not GitHub job listings, but I see you there. It also mentioned university career centers, employee referrals from other departments and social media advertising.

I said, "Okay, you're really starting to parse the words here. Are you running out of information to give me?" I thought to myself, let me test this theory out I want. I said to it, "Give me 20 more ideas, but without mentioning anything you've already suggested." And so ChatGPT says, "Sure." Now we're doing industry specific events, LinkedIn Recruiter, not to be confused with LinkedIn or LinkedIn jobs. I still see you, ChatGPT. It is technically different. GitHub contributions, again, technically different. It also mentioned things like university hackathons, job fairs, technical blogs, community college, podcasts, Twitter hashtags, meetups, web development competitions, programming forums, and so on. I started to get the idea that this would go on for a while, that it would give me ideas to really parse those ideas out like LinkedIn, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn jobs. Okay, I got it. I got the idea that this could go on for a while.

And as I realized that, that gave me another idea, so I prompted this. Think like a recruiter who is short on time and has limited budget and resources. Bullet point, all your suggestions, rank them according to likelihood of success to least likely to be successful in recruiting candidates. There I thought I had it. But it responded, "Sure. Here are my 20 suggestions ranked in order of likelihood of success based on my experience as a recruiter." My experience as a recruiter? Going to followup on that. But what it suggested to me were job boards being number one. Of course that makes sense. There are a lot of resumes stated. If I want to hire somebody, chances are I'll be able to find somebody to hire quickly on job boards. But also, they listed referral programs and LinkedIn, university career centers, social media, technical blogs, and so on, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Okay, cool. I thought that was really good, but I wanted to followup on what I said before. I said, "Hey, you said these are ranked based on your recruiter experience. What have you recruited for in the past?" And so ChatGPT said, "Well, as an AI language model, I do not have personal experiences, but I have been trained on a large corpus of text data, including information about recruiting, hiring, and talent acquisition, therefore, my ranking of the 20 suggestions is based on the collective experience of recruiters who have shared their best practices and tips for finding software engineers," blah, blah, blah. Okay, okay, okay. I asked it, "When it comes to recruitment methods, what are you asked about the most?" And it replied, "As an AI language model, I don't have to break interactions with recruiters." Yeah, I get that. "But based on the questions that users ask me, I can tell that some of the most common topics related to recruitment methods include, number one, sourcing strategies." Ah, shout out to all the sourcers listening. Sourcing strategies, how to find and attract qualified candidates, followed by candidate screening questions and interview techniques. Those are the top three.

Other things it mentioned were candidate experience, employer branding, diversity, equity, inclusion, passive candidate outreach, and so on. I thought to myself, this is interesting. Okay. Give me a list... Or rather, I asked ChatGPT, "Can you give me a list of prompts used by presumably recruiters that resulted in you receiving positive feedback?" Positive feedback meaning the thumbs up or thumbs down. Well, the thumbs up because that would be positive feedback there. That's basically essentially what I was asking. "Give me a list of prompts that, after you've answered the question, recruiters presumably gave it a thumbs up." It responded, "As an AI language model, I don't receive feedback directly," which I get, "but based on the prompts that you just have used to interact with me, I can suggest some prompts that have been effective for initiating positive interactions."

And so here's a list. I made a mental note to myself to come back and experiment with these prompts, but let me go ahead and share certain them with you now. Can you help me with specific question or task related to recruitment? What are the best practices... For fill in the blank. What are the most effective ways to source candidates, screen resumes, conduct interviews? Interesting. How can I improve some aspect of the recruitment process? And so on. And then it said, "Remember, the more specific and clear the prompt, the more likely you are to receive a helpful and relevant response," which is very, very true, which is why I said in an earlier video... well, in another video, that the more detail you can give your prompt, the better the results you'll get from ChatGPT.

With that in mind, I asked it, "What are some prompts for sourcing candidates that have been accepted by your users?" And it gave me a list of things like what are the most effective job boards for finding candidates in a particular industry? What are some niche sites or forums where I can find qualified candidates for whatever? How can I use platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter to find and engage with potential candidates? And so on. And it said a lot of things here. Number 10 caught my eye: How can I incorporate diversity and inclusion initiatives into my source strategy to attract a wider pool of candidates? Because diversity and inclusion is a hot topic in recruiting these days.

In a followup question, I just said, "Go deeper on number 10," which, of course, was the number 10 of the last response it gave me. And it replied, "Incorporating diversity and inclusion, D and I, initiatives into your sourcing strategy can help you attract a wider pool of candidates, including those who may come from underrepresented or diverse backgrounds." Yeah, I know. "Here are some prompts that can help you develop a D and I sourcing strategy. And so it gave me a list of suggestions that I thought were pretty interesting. How can I use language in my job posting that is inclusive and appealing to a diverse audience? What are some professional organizations or groups that support diversity and inclusion in whatever industry or location? What are some effective ways to showcase your organization's commitment to diversity and inclusion, such as through your website or social media?

Now, as I read through these different prompt suggestions, a couple of them stood out to me, number two in particular. I said, "Give me more detail on number two, I'm looking for software developer skilled in Python." And it responded, "Well, if you're looking for software developer skilled in Python, there are several strategies you can use." And it gave me a list of ways that I could potentially find diverse candidates who are skilled in Python. And it gave me things like look for specialized job boards, and it name job boards like Women Who Code, Black Tech Jobs, Natural Society of Black Engineers, job board. It mentioned things like attending industry events that focus on diversity and inclusion in tech such as Afro Tech or Lesbians Who Tech, which is an organization I wasn't familiar with, so that was useful. It also mentioned partner with organizations that support diversity and inclusion in tech, such as Code 2040, another organization I did not know about, or Black Girls Code; I did know about that one, but still very interesting to know.

And then mentioned this: "Use social media to promote your job opportunities and showcase your company's commitment to diversity and inclusion." And I thought that was interesting. Give me more detail on number six, which is what I asked it as you see here. It gave me more detail on number six, which was, again, use social media to promote job opportunities to diversity and inclusion. And it gave me this response: "When it comes to assessing and improving D and I of your recruitment process, there are several ways to use data to identify areas for improvement. Here are just some ways to use data." And it gave me a nice little list here. Among them, one that stood out to me, maybe... Well, a couple of them stand out to me, but one of them is track diversity metrics in your recruitment process. That's certainly interesting. Survey your candidates employees. Also good. Use technology to remove bias from your sourcing process. Consider using AI powered tools that can help remove biases from your sourcing process, and so on.

Very, very interesting. I really like this because the things I like the most about using ChatGPT for that, for developing a sourcing strategy is that it is good for brainstorming ideas. I kept asking it for ideas, give me 10, now give me 20 more ideas, now give me 30 more ideas. I like that. It really helped spark the creative juices in my mind mind. I really love ChatGPT for brainstorming.

I also like that I was able to ask it to give me a suggestion of lists based on which technique or which strategy actually would be more successful so I'm not wasting my time doing everything. It gave me a list of what would most likely be the most successful, and it ranked it from most successful to least successful, which I really liked. And then it gave me a lot of insight on D and I from the standpoint of incorporating it into my sourcing strategy, which is, as I said earlier, a hot topic.

Very cool. I like ChatGPT for this. I really like ChatGPT for the brainstorm. Can't stress that enough. I really, really like it for brainstorming, helping me get started and getting me on my way. Thanks, ChatGPT. If you were real, I would hug you. Maybe I would kiss you. Let's try that.

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