ChatGPT: Shaking Up Recruitment in the Tech World

ChatGPT: Shaking Up Recruitment in the Tech World

Julien Danjou

A year and a half ago, our startup, Mergify, dove into the exciting yet challenging world of technical recruiting, specifically targeting software engineering talent. As a growing company, we were eager to find bright trainees and apprentices still in school. We believed in hiring individuals with basic algorithm knowledge who we could then mentor and pass on our expertise to. After all, internships aren't just about gaining experience; they're also about learning from seasoned professionals.

Our Old-school Technical Test: Advent of Code-Inspired

Inspired by the popular Advent of Code programming challenges, we developed a technical test that focused on computing checksums and manipulating lists of strings. Candidates were asked to complete this test at home and send it back to us. We thought this method was a decent indicator of their foundational skills, which we could then build upon.

Intro of our internship technical test.

In practice, it worked pretty well to filter quickly good candidates. Students that are advanced enough into programming and algorithmic would fail the test early on.

ChatGPT Takes the Stage: A Game Changer in Technical Recruitment

Fast forward to today, and we find ourselves in a world where AI transforms technical recruitment. ChatGPT is at the forefront of this revolution. I recently fed our technical test into ChatGPT, and to my astonishment, it aced the test on the first try. It provided a complete Python program and a thorough problem-solving process explanation.

This breakthrough means that we're entering a new era in technical recruitment. Simple technical tests might not cut it anymore, as advanced AI like ChatGPT can easily crack them. It's time for companies, including us, to rethink their hiring process and adapt to these technological advancements.

The Challenge of AI "Cheating"

The ease with which ChatGPT solved our technical test raises a concern: How can we be sure that a candidate hasn't used AI to complete their work? Companies may be tempted to add hours of interviews to ensure that the candidate is smarter than AI, but this approach is both impractical and unsustainable.

No engineers wants to talk to humans for dozens of hour before being picked.

Finding the Balance: Evolving Recruitment Strategies

The emergence of ChatGPT and similar AI-driven technologies has companies scrambling to revamp their recruitment techniques. As simple technical tests lose their effectiveness, we need to think outside the box and come up with innovative ways to assess candidates without exhausting resources. Here are some ideas:

  1. Focus on Soft Skills: Assessing candidates based on their communication, teamwork, and adaptability can help identify people who will thrive in a fast-paced work environment.
  2. Real-life Problem Solving: Ditch isolated problems and present candidates with real-world scenarios that demand creative thinking and resourcefulness. This will give you a better sense of how they tackle complex challenges.
  3. AI-Assisted Recruitment: Use AI to streamline the recruitment process, from screening candidates to scheduling interviews. AI can analyze resumes, identify skill gaps, and predict performance, leading to more informed hiring decisions.
  4. Reimagining Project-Based Hiring: While AI advancements may render some project-based hiring methods obsolete, companies can still assign tasks that require unique problem-solving approaches or collaboration with team members. This would be difficult for AI to replicate and would offer a more accurate representation of a candidate's potential.
  5. Assessing Cultural Fit: Take the time to evaluate how well a candidate aligns with your company's values, mission, and work culture. This can help ensure that new hires contribute positively to the team dynamic.

The rise of ChatGPT has undeniably changed the landscape of technical recruitment, especially in the software engineering domain. As traditional technical tests lose their effectiveness, we must adapt and develop new strategies to find and hire the best talent. By embracing innovation, leveraging AI, and reimagining the hiring process, we can ensure they bring on board the right people who will not only outsmart AI but also contribute to our organization's success.

The future of technical recruitment lies in striking a balance between the capabilities of AI like ChatGPT and human creativity, problem-solving, and adaptability. By focusing on skills that AI cannot easily replicate and fostering a culture of continuous learning and collaboration, we believe we can build strong, resilient teams that will thrive in a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

As we dive into the future of technical recruitment, we at Mergify know it's crucial to stay on our toes and keep up with AI game-changers like ChatGPT. We're all about rethinking our hiring process, coming up with fresh ideas, and making improvements to tackle this new AI challenge. By honing in on what makes humans unique—our creativity, problem-solving, and adaptability—we can keep building an awesome, resilient team ready to rock in this fast-paced tech world.

By rolling with the punches, we're setting the stage for a successful future for both our company and the industry as a whole.